ESSEC Business School, L’Oréal, EssilorLuxottica and Bouygues jointly launched the first international chair devoted to the circular economy, the ‘Global Circular Economy Chair’. Dedicated to students of ESSEC’s Master in Management program, the chair’s first class is set to graduate in September 2022.
Making the circular economy a priority in value chains
With increasing pressure on raw materials, tightening of industry regulations and changing consumer behavior, companies are looking to rethink their business models in a radical way. The circular economy provides a clear and sustainable solution that can reduce global CO2 emissions by 45%.
The Chair aims to train future Chief Circular Economy Officers, to lead organizations towards a circular economy. Apart from leading and creating global strategies for circular transformation, students will learn how to work in various sectors and organizations, as well as have a positive impact on the entire value chains. The Chair will contribute to the emergence of an open and international ecosystem of companies, start-ups, think tanks, academic institutions and government bodies that will contribute to the public debate for the introduction of future regulations in Europe and worldwide.
Raising awareness about circular economy, creating concrete case studies while developing fundamental research
The works of the Chair will focus on launching circular economy experimental projects in close collaboration with its partners; creating innovative awareness raising tools (MOOCs, e-books); and producing fundamental research to accelerate the transition from a linear to a circular economy. This will include the definition of new business models, the creation of an observatory of circular economy skills and a reflection on possible links between available data and the circular economy.
A team of circular economy experts, supported by three international companies with strong sustainability ambitions
The project was initiated and launched by Pierre-Emmanuel Saint-Esprit, Executive Director of the Chair, President of the ESSEC Alumni Entrepreneurs Club and co-founder of ZACK, a start-up specializing in the circular economy, which has been named the expert partner for the chair. Pierre-Emmanuel Saint-Esprit has been deeply encouraged and supported by Stanislas de Quercize, former CEO of Cartier and circular economy advocate, who was a key stakeholder in the Chair birth. He explained: “The circular economy could play a vital role in reducing up to 45% of our global CO2 emissions, as demonstrated by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. However, we are in dire need of adequately trained individuals who have a keen grasp of circular economy principles and are able to make it a tangible reality. This is precisely the goal of this academic project, which is set to be implemented across the three ESSEC campuses in Cergy, Singapore and Rabat.”
The Chair is co-led by Wilfried Sand, Professor of Economics, and Thierry Sibieude, a pioneer in social entrepreneurship for over 20 years. This duo oversees the academic coordination of the Chair, as well as some of its key courses.
With a long-standing commitment to sustainability, L’Oréal Group launched its second sustainability programme, L’Oréal for the Future, in June 2020. The Group is actively continuing its internal transformation with a series of quantifiable objectives for 2025 and 2030 designed to limit its impact on climate, water, biodiversity, and natural resources. The Group is committed to a circular economy approach throughout its value chain, with a single objective: to ensure that its activities are compatible with the limited resources of the planet.
Nicolas Hieronimus, CEO of the L’Oréal Group explains that: “At L’Oréal, we are convinced that the circular economy requires collective intelligence and cooperation with our partners (suppliers, distributors, public authorities, consumers, etc.). This partnership with the ESSEC Global Circular Economy Chair, of which I am very proud both as a L’Oréal executive and as an ESSEC alumnus, is fully in line with this collaborative movement that is essential in order to meet environmental challenges.”
EssilorLuxottica has announced an ambitious approach to sustainable development last July, called Eyes on the Planet. It features a dedicated “Eyes on Circularity” pillar which illustrates the Company’s strong commitment to transform its business.
“At EssilorLuxottica, we firmly believe in the power of collaboration. This is why we are honored to be partnering with highly-esteemed organizations such as Essec Business School, L’Oréal and Bouygues. Through EssilorLuxottica’s global sustainability program - ‘Eyes on the Planet’- we hope to address the world’s evolving vision needs and the demand of a growing industry in a responsible and sustainable way. This partnership will help us advance on ways to research, reduce, reuse and recycle,” said Francesco Milleri and Paul du Saillant, respectively CEO and Deputy CEO of EssilorLuxottica.
The Bouygues Group has unveiled its ambitious Climate 2030 strategy, which places the circular economy at the heart of its ecological transition, particularly in its construction business division. Olivier Roussat, CEO of the Bouygues Group, said: “We are proud to partner with a leading academic institution such as ESSEC Business School to work on the important topic of the circular economy, which is a source of environmental and economic benefits and a key lever for reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.”
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 Ellen MacArthur Foundation