Swedish State Secretary for Energy, Enterprise and Communications presents Ashridge Sustainable Innovation Award

3 12 2009

The winners of the 2009 Ashridge Sustainable Innovation award have just been announced. The award is an essay competition run in association with the European Academy of Business in Society (EABIS), Hewlett-Packard (HP) and WWF.  Jonathan Alexander, a Masters student from the University of Bath, was awarded first place, with Luc Petit from Ashridge Business School placing second and Srikanth Madani from the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland coming third.

The award seeks the best ideas from MBA and other post-graduate students on sustainable innovation and creating value from the shift to a low carbon economy. Jonathan received the top prize for his entry: €7,000, a six-month mentorship with HP and career advice from Spencer Stuart. Luc and Srikanth also receive career advice from Spencer Stuart as well as €5000 and €3000 respectively. All three winners were presented with their awards by Jöran Hägglund, Swedish State Secretary for Enterprise, Energy and Communications, on behalf of the Swedish Presidency of the European Union at the EU Presidency conference ‘Eco-efficient Economy – Towards Innovative and Sustainable Competitiveness’ held in Linköping, Sweden on 2 November 2009.

Presenting the prizes, Mr Hägglund said “To successfully transition to a low carbon economy, we need to harness and focus the creative and entrepreneurial energies of today’s and tomorrow’s leaders. The focus is frequently on the importance of technological innovation, but a necessary precondition for this innovation to occur is that we change the way we think, and see not problems but opportunities, and focus our creative energies in this direction. Europe’s business schools have a crucial role to play in making this happen. This is why the European Union is supporting organisations like EABIS and why I’m delighted to present this award on behalf of the Swedish Presidency of the European Union.”

Matthew Gitsham, Director of Ashridge’s Centre for Business and Sustainability, added “As we’ve celebrated our 50th anniversary at Ashridge this year and look to the future, we believe the role of a business school in the 21st Century is to be an incubator of creativity and innovation, and to be focusing the entrepreneurial energies of today’s and tomorrow’s leaders on the challenges and opportunities of sustainable development. We are therefore delighted to have been able to work in a unique partnership with HP, WWF and EABIS to create the Ashridge Sustainable Innovation Award.

“HP is delighted to support the Ashridge Sustainable Innovation Award,” said Gabriele Zedlmayer, Vice President, HP Global Citizenship and Social Innovation, speaking to coincide with the ceremony. “We believe it is very important for students not just to think about the sustainability challenges that await them when they enter their professions, but also to recognise the opportunities that they have to actively contribute to a low carbon economy.”

The winners were chosen by an independent panel of judges including Sir Paul Judge, Benefactor of Judge Business School, Viscount Etienne Davignon, Vice-Chair, Suez-Tractebel, Eric Cornuel, Director General, EFMD, Jeanette Purcell, Chief Executive, Association of MBAs, Della Bradshaw, Executive Education Editor, Financial Times, Kai Peters, Chief Executive, Ashridge, Dennis Pamlin, Policy Advisor, WWF, Tom Dodd, Policy Advisor, European Commission, Gabriele Zedlmayer, Vice President, HP Global Citizenship and Social Innovation, Anthony J Vardy, Spencer Stuart, and Rachel Jackson, ACCA.

As part of this award WWF visited key partner universities of HP and EABIS in the Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom in winter 2008 and in 2009  to engage tomorrow’s leaders in discussions about innovation for a sustainable future. Around 500 students participated in the workshops that have taken place to date.

The winning and shortlisted entries have been published by ACCA, and can be downloaded from www.ashridge.org.uk/SustainableInnovation

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