GSB collaboration a ‘champion of change’

04 July 2019 | Story Supplied. Photo Supplied. Read time 3 min.
The Embedding Project team and participants at the South African peer-to-peer network meeting in May 2019.

The University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Graduate School of Business (GSB), through its involvement in the Embedding Project, has been recognised in the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International’s (AACSB) annual 2019 Innovations That Inspire challenge.

The public-benefit research project is among 21 business school collaborations around the world that were honoured as “champions of change” for inspiring new approaches to thought leadership and increasing impact, via the co-creation of knowledge in the business education arena.

It is a global sustainability initiative, which the GSB co-hosts with the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University in Canada, that helps companies integrate social and environmental factors into their decision-making.

The academic researchers involved hail from the two host institutions and four others from around the globe, namely Cambridge University’s Judge Business School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Sloan School of Management, Rotterdam Business School and HEC Montréal.

Professor Ralph Hamann, director of research at the GSB and co-founder of the Embedding Project South Africa, said they were particularly pleased to receive the acknowledgement because it recognises the GSB’s efforts to “collaborate with managers to co-create both theoretically and practically relevant knowledge, which is useful to managers and also in our classrooms”.

Contributing to society

Stephanie Bertels, the Embedding Project’s founder and lead researcher, suggested that there is a general recognition that schools need to be engaging in research that is meaningful and relevant, and making contributions to society.


“It’s exciting to see the AACSB shining a light on different initiatives and we are delighted to be included among those they chose to highlight.”

“It’s exciting to see the AACSB shining a light on different initiatives and we are delighted to be included among those they chose to highlight,” she said.

The Embedding Project has partnered with a variety of global companies, including South African sustainability leaders such as Nedbank, Santam and Woolworths, as well as civil society initiatives including WWF South Africa and the National Business Initiative (NBI). It uses these peer-to-peer networks, where companies engage in structured peer coaching, to co-create sustainability knowledge and develop best practice.

Other acknowledgments for the project to date have included the Academy of Management’s inaugural 2018 International Impactful Collaboration Award for its practical and scholarly impact in embedding sustainability into the operations and decision-making of global companies.

It has also been recognised with two Clean50 Top Project awards (2016 and 2018), which annually highlight leading Canadian projects with an impact on sustainability.

All the challenge entrants are members of the AACSB’s Business Education Alliance, the world’s largest business education network that accredits more than 800 business schools worldwide.

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