A socially responsible academic institution

ESADE is committed to social responsibility, a concept that includes the dimensions of social responsibility (management model, whose strategic focus is made up of social and environmental responsibility), ethics (values) and sustainability (results and impacts). We believe that these three dimensions should be incorporated and integrated into our school, in an interdisciplinary manner, aligned with our mission, identity and daily activities.

Social responsibility is one of the mainstays that support our academic and research work, and it is also one of our strategic priorities, because we believe that our role as a business and law school involves something more than simply the imparting of knowledge and skills to our students and, as active agents of social change, we aim to address and find solutions to social problems. This responsibility implies taking on the role of leader in the creation of a culture of social responsibility in society through our own example and action, and we are committed to defending the ideals, responsibilities and objectives of a socially responsible academic institution.

In conclusion, ESADE’s belief in social responsibility materialises itself when it carries out its mission – training, research and social debate – and, also in its culture and institutional practice, in everything related to the academic community, in its various social and cooperative actions and initiatives, in the rational and sustainable use of resources and, ultimately, in its governance practice, transparency and accountability.

The SR-ESADE Master Plan

When she began her mandate, the Director General expressed her wish to “continue to progress in order to create an increasingly socially responsible academic institution”.

So as to integrate social responsibility into the Institutional Strategic Plan, in September 2011 the Director General convened a task force made up of experienced ESADE managers and professors, to reflect on this issue and draw up a Social Responsibility Master Plan (SR-ESADE) for 2011-2014.

Within the context of the 2014-2018 Institutional Strategic Plan, ESADE has defined a new Social Responsibility Master Plan (SR-ESADE). The new plan, in addition to setting out, integrating and highlighting the various projects and initiatives carried out in the SR-ESADE Model’s eight areas of action (Training, Research, Social Debate, ESADE Community, Institutional Policies, Environmental Responsibility, Social Action, and Transparency and Accountability), will focus on meeting the defined objectives.

The basic aim of ESADE’s SR-ESADE Master Plan is to help achieve the objectives set by ESADE for 2020: to be a globally recognised academic institution, which inspires and prepares individuals and organisations for developing innovative, socially responsible leadership in order to build a better future.

Aware that achieving these objectives requires a process of continuous improvement, the aspiration of the Master Plan is to ensure that ESADE becomes an increasingly socially responsible and sustainable academic institution across all of its activities.

In order to develop the Master Plan, the task force used one of its own models (Losada, Martell & Lozano, 2011), which in a systematic and interdisciplinary manner studied the questions and actions to be developed in the various strategic lines and subsystems.

ESADE has widened the scope of its SR, to cover all lines of action: for example, when it introduces ethical dilemmas or cases of SR in training, when it studies in depth social responsibility issues, or in the innovation-sustainability pairing as part of its research; when it publishes the Libro Blanco de la Iniciativa Emprendedora en España (White Paper on Entrepreneurship in Spain) and when it supports best practices in diversity and conciliation policies, or when it supports a grants policy that attracts people who are talented but lack economic resources; when it favours analysis and debate on the economic situation, unemployment and social challenges; when its collaborates with NGOs in its social action and promotes socially-oriented initiatives; when it makes a significant reduction in its consumption of paper, and when its promotes international cooperation through the University Development Service’s programmes.

The SR-ESADE Master Plan

The task force carried out an integral diagnosis and completed a process of reflection and analysis for each stage. Next, it drew up a draft SR-ESADE Master Plan with specific objectives both as part of its strategic mission goals – training, research and social debate – and in its organisational culture and institutional policies. The Executive Committee approved the initial plan in December 2011.

Next, the spheres of activity, action plans and projects were defined, managers were assigned and a calendar for the implementation of the planned activity was drawn up. Finally, in December 2012 the 2011-2014 SR-ESADE Master Plan was approved by the Executive Committee and, more recently, the strategic indicators and monitoring operations were also approved.

With regard to the roll-out of the SR-E Master Plan, the 2012-2013 academic year was dedicated to socialisation, communication and awareness-raising among ESADE’s internal community, as well as the implementation of initial projects. Starting this year, the faculty members and executives who made up the SR-E Master Plan task force will re-group as an advisory committee, which will provide analysis and feedback to help the institution in this continuous-improvement process.

The 50+ projects and initiatives defined in the SR-ESADE Model’s different areas of action were carried out over the 2013/14 and 2014/15 academic years.

The new projects and initiatives defined under the 2014-2018 SR-ESADE Master Plan will be implemented in the 2015/16 academic year.


2014-2018 SR-ESADE Objectives

1. Collaborate on various institutional policies and action lines, promoting the SR-ESADE model and approach.

2. Collaborate with the community to encourage the adoption of more socially and environmentally responsible behaviour and habits.

3. Collaborate on and coordinate initiatives and projects with key stakeholders and national and international institutions in this field.

4. Promote communication, transparency, and accountability by ESADE, as a socially responsible institution, through its main projects and initiatives.

5. Carry out the institutional social action programme and coordinate solidarity and cooperation initiatives, involving the ESADE community.

A little history

ESADE’s social responsibility consists fundamentally of fulfilling its raison d’être, its institutional mission. This is a task that has involved all the people who have formed part of ESADE’s community for over 55 years now. It should not be considered a new dimension, but rather a part of the institution’s DNA, which has existed since ESADE was founded.

ESADE’s trajectory in terms of social responsibility (SR), as well as the commitments it has taken on within the framework of various international organisations, spans many years, as can be seen in the following timeline detailing some of the most significant events of the last decade.

In 2009, a report was drawn up, which, without aiming to be exhaustive or definitive, attempted to compile all the actions and initiatives carried out within the field of SR at ESADE, in order to describe them, make them visible and thus provide a diagnostic tool with which to work and create an initial SR action plan. To achieve this end, various individuals, services and departments worked together.

The general objective consisted of formalising and institutionalising an internal SR policy, which would allow the organisation to explore the culture of social responsibility in greater depth and help fulfil the institution’s raison d’être and mission.

In order to draw up this report, the GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) indicators, the RScat model for SMEs developed by the Institute for Social Innovation and the SGE-21 (Ethical and Socially Responsible Management System) were used. With the help of these sources, a text was prepared, which was then developed and extended using information collected from over 30 interviews with the managers of ESADE’s various units and services.

After the SR diagnostic report had been drawn up, a de SR-ESADE committee was formed, made up of eight people from the institution, who were not only capable of contributing expert knowledge and a wealth of experience to the project, but also, more importantly, able to put fresh impetus into the report.

Three inspirational principles of SR were established:

- Environmental awareness and healthy austerity.

- Co-responsibility and social commitment.

- Transparency and accountability.

And an initial plan was drawn up consisting of five lines of action:

1. Raising awareness and promoting the adoption of habits and behaviour by students, faculty, and administrative and services staff, in line with a more sustainable vision of the organisation.

2. An improvement in the operation of services, equipment and facilities in order to achieve a more rational use of the available resources.

3. Linking ESADE’s SR policy and its suppliers’ policy, bearing in mind socially responsible criteria for their selection and standardisation.

4. Develop an institutional social action programme aimed at a benchmark foundation or NGO, which allows us to link and involved different groups in our community and offer different means of collaboration, including: voluntary work, participation in events, socially-oriented consultancy and visibility.

5. The promotion and improvement of transparency and accountability within the organisation. Highlighting the implementation of ESADE’s mission and values.

Raising awareness and promoting more sustainable behaviour and habits

  • Between October 2009 and February 2010, an initial round of presentations by ESADE’s various teams and committees took place in order to inform people of their commitment to progress in this area (around 170 people attended). This allowed members of the community to become aware of and get involved in SR initiatives.
  • ESADE’s Green Rules campaign (started in 2010). Raising the community’s awareness of aspects related to environmental improvement: two sets of rules published, screen savers, internal communication, 2010 calendar, screens, roll-ups, and a survey of best practices in order to obtain feedback.
  • Meetings with students from various programmes and clubs (Net Impact, Oykos and Business and Society) to channel SR initiatives and actions, which revealed the students’ interest and the institution’s desire to improve in this area.

Improvement in resources, services, equipment and facilities

  • Measurement of water, paper and electricity consumption, begun in academic year 2008-2009, the whole community being informed of the results.
  • Improvement in recycling operations: installation of containers for separating and collecting paper, plastics, glass, electronic waste, batteries, ink/toner cartridges, etc.
  • Improvement in ICT: definition of criteria in the processes for acquiring IT equipment and printers, virtualisation of equipment, optimisation of energy use, removal-recycling, and participation in the World Community Grid project.
  • Participation in and support for campaigns organised by MBA students, including: Green Day and ESADE’s Got Talent.
  • Improvement in the quality of water fountains in order to promote their use and thus reduce the consumption of plastic bottles.