Driving change through education, training and academia finalists 2019

Accounting Bissim, (UK) 

Summary of entry 
Accounting Bissim is a flexible and realistic facilitated business simulation which has been developed specifically to support accounting and finance courses. Learners act as the board of directors to make key business decisions, apply accounting and finance tools and concepts, and interpret financial information with the aim of building a long-term sustainable business. Business decisions cover production, marketing, HR, finance, R&D and, importantly, sustainability initiatives. Decisions are input to a computer model that generates the financial and non-financial outcomes. This promotes a holistic approach to accounting, finance and business management where sustainability is an integral part of decision-making. 

Judges’ comments 
Accounting Bissim engages learners in an interactive and fun activity to increase sustainable decision-making in business. The way in which sustainability is a standard parameter embedded within R&D, marketing, HR, production and finance decisions encourages learners to build long-term sustainable businesses. 

Climate Change & Finance at Imperial College Business School, (UK) 

Summary of entry 
The work on Climate Change & Finance at Imperial College Business School addresses the financial challenges brought about by climate change. It drives change within the financial industry through its research and further education activities. Research aims to fill the knowledge gap about the business case for a global zero-carbon transition. Research is relevant, timely and accessible, specifically targeted to a financial audience, defining and quantifying investment risks and opportunities. Its mission is to make an impactful contribution by increasing investment in climate change-mitigating solutions by educating financial stakeholders and the next generation of financial professionals. 

Judges’ comments 
The multi-disciplinary approach taken, combined with the clear focus on finance, builds a compelling and distinct offering in the climate education of finance professionals. Its focus on mainstreaming and accessibility across the business school, and to professionals outside the education space, demonstrates a dynamic approach to an urgent issue.

Centre for Social and Environmental Accounting Research (CSEAR), (UK) 

Summary of entry 
CSEAR is a membership-based organisation that collectively explores the implications of, and the possibilities for, social, environmental and sustainability accounting and reporting. CSEAR’s largely academic members, often from professional accounting backgrounds, promote deliberation, research and engagement on social and environmental accounting through a wide range of activities. These include an annual UK international conference, regional conferences and workshops around the world, early career workshops and mentoring programmes, practitioner forums, a member newsletter, and an official CSEAR journal – the Social and Environmental Accountability Journal. 

Judges’ comments 
CSEAR has delivered significant change in academia in its lifetime to date. It is difficult to imagine what social and environmental accounting would look like had CSEAR not existed. The judging panel was particularly impressed with the passion of individuals involved and their determination to create a space for the evolution of accounting practice. 

Harvard Business School: Business and Environment Initiative (BEI) and Social Enterprise Initiative (SEI), (US) 

Summary of entry 
These two Harvard Business School initiatives focus on societal challenges too complex for any one discipline or industry to solve alone. Through their networks of leading thinkers and practitioners, they develop, test, and refine intellectual ideas and frameworks that challenge existing paradigms, examine innovative financial tools, and explore complexities within impact measurement. By embedding these research innovations within their Executive Education and MBA curricula and disseminating their publications to educational institutions worldwide through Harvard Business Publishing, they prepare today’s and tomorrow’s business leaders for a world in which the tools of finance drive social value. 

Judges’ comments 
The scope of Harvard Business School’s circle of influence with business leaders is significant – using this to raise the profile of sustainability issues is commendable. The introduction of sustainability into core business school syllabuses, and the role the school plays in originating data, builds legitimacy in the academic sphere on issues such as climate change.

The Thinking Ahead Institute, (UK) 

Summary of entry 
The Thinking Ahead Institute is an influential membership group of institutional investors (with stewardship responsibility for over US$12 trillion of assets under management). It was set up to drive change in the investment industry globally for the benefit of the end saver. A key element of its initiative is to drive the integration of sustainability in investment through thought leadership, collaborative research papers and the development of new tools. Integral to this is showing leadership in integrated thinking to inspire a shift to a more sustainable investment model by, among other things, promoting the benefits of integrated reporting for value creation activities. 

Judges’ comments 
The co-creative approach used by The Thinking Ahead Institute is refreshing and distinctive. Ideas are built with the investment industry rather than for the industry, which gives a level of authenticity to its work. The Institute shows commitment to transparency and trust – particularly in openly publishing feedback from its members. The sustainability beliefs assessment encourages self-reflection and cultural change within its membership, focusing on embedding sustainability in investment decisions.