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Open Sustainability Training to Diverse Students


ESSEC Business School provides a model for increasing diversity in education. Individuals, universities, and society benefit.

This session was part of the NBS Sustainability Centres Community (SCC) Workshop 2021. The SCC connects business school sustainability centres worldwide.  

Diversity helps organizational performance and contributes to social justice. But many universities lack social diversity. In France, noted Chantal Dardelet (ESSEC Business School), a child from an underprivileged background is seven times less likely to pursue higher education than a child of a senior executive or teacher.

In a session for the NBS Sustainability Centres Community Workshop, Dardelet and her colleague Adrián Zicari drew on their institution’s experience to show a model for increasing diversity in education.

For nearly 20 years, ESSEC Business School has been supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Since 2002, ESSEC’s Equal Opportunity Center has run programs to address inequalities in access to higher education, whether economic, geographic or disability-related. Today, 80,000 young people benefit from ESSEC’s programs, which have been extended to more than 100 schools and inspired national public policy.

Session leaders asked: How can society change the way it looks at diversity to better include everyone and acknowledge the strength in differences?

Watch the Presentation

About the SCC Workshop 2021

Every two years, the NBS Sustainability Centres Community Workshop connects leaders of business school sustainability centres for learning and action. This session was a part of the most recent Workshop in July 2021: “Designing the Business School Sustainability Centre of the Future.” See the main Workshop page for an overview and to access additional sessions.

The 2021 Workshop was hosted by the Center for Sustainability Transformation and Responsibility (STaR) at the Vienna University of Economics and Business and the Institute for Business Ethics and Sustainable Strategy (IBES) at the FH Wien University of Applied Sciences for Management & Communication.

See the Sustainability Centres Community homepage for additional information and to join the group.

Banner photo is taken by Marius Brand of WU Vienna, who gave us a great sense of what our conference would have felt like in Vienna, had it not been virtual.

About the Session Leaders

Chantal Dardelet, ESSEC Business School

Chantal Dardelet is the Director of the Equal Opportunity Center at ESSEC Business School, which has been running programs since 2002 to fight against inequalities in access to higher education, whether social, territorial or disability-related, with the support of the Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship Chair. She is also the Executive Director of ESSEC’s ecological and social transition initiative, which, in addition to an eco-campus policy, has strong ambitions in terms of Diversity and Inclusion. She has led the Social Opening Group of the “Conference des Grandes Ecoles” since 2005 and is a member of the National Council of Cities, a body that reports to the Prime Minister.

Adrián Zicari, ESSEC Business School

Adrián Zicari is Professor in the Accounting and Management Control department at ESSEC Business School. He is Academic Director of the Council on Business & Society. He is also honorary representative of Buenos Aires City in Paris. His work appears in several academic journals: Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Cleaner Production, Comptabilité-Contrôle-Audit, Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, Social and Environmental Accountability Journal, BMC Health Services Research, and Harvard Business Review – Latin American Edition. He is one of the series editors for the Relational Economics and Organizational Governance book series, Springer.

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