As members of the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano, we are aware that profound interlinkages exist between business enterprises, society and the environment. A lasting improvement in the economic performances of firms and countries can be achieved only if people and their dignity are protected, social welfare is enhanced, natural resources are managed efficiently and the global environment is defended, business ethics is promoted.

At the same time, we know that corporations may be a positive agent of change. Firms, alone or in partnerships with other private or public players, are at the origin of many of the technological, organizational, institutional innovations that maximize economic growth, social cohesion and environment conservation in a balanced way, and create a truly sustainable value.
It is for this reason that concepts such as responsible business, social innovation, sustainable business models, industrial sustainability, resources efficiency and circularity, and the associated analytical and operational instruments, have an increasing weight in the School’s programs, and in our research and knowledge transfer activity.

As a School that operates at the intersection between engineering, management and economics, we dive into solutions for sustainability at all levels of management. In addition to the implications for policy and strategy making, we investigate and teach how sustainability change corporate processes, supply chains, operations and technologies across different industries.


Universities have a special role in fostering sustainability, and the School of Management has activated the Sustainable SoM program to this aim. The program encompasses the School’s actions that aim at integrating more effectively sustainability and responsibility contents into our research and teaching activities, at linking traditional academic activities with new service-to-the-community initiatives, at making our work environment more sustainable.

All our initiatives are set up and managed within the overarching framework of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

The School is part of PRME – Principles for Responsible Management Education and ABIS – The Academy of Business in Society, two prestigious international networks that aim at closing the gap between education and research in the domains of management, economics and industrial engineering, and social responsibility, sustainability and business ethics.

Finally, we cooperate with other centers, departments and offices of Politecnico di Milano that are engaged with Sustainability. In particular, we exchange best practices, approaches and contacts with Polisocial, Campus Sostenibile e il Servizio Sostenibilità di Ateneo, Guarantee act committee.

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Sustainable SoM means changing how we do things. We are experimenting a few good practices that make us aware of the impacts of our everyday life on society and the environment, and help us behaving more responsibly.

SoM for food waste reduction

More than 100 members of the SoM community are happy to reduce waste and share food. How? They are part of a policy for recovering good and safe food leftovers. Subscribers are entitled to take away unserved food from the SoM coffee breaks and lunches. They are equipped with a set of biodegradable takeaway containers and receive weekly updates on the ongoing coffee breaks and lunches. Let’s share food and cut waste!

More water, less bottles

Drinking water is a key ingredient for our working days. However, we want to reduce the consumption of bottled water and the production of plastic waste. To this aim we installed a few water fountains around the School and have endowed all the School members with a refillable “Sustainable SoM” bottle.

Spurring separate waste collection

Following a survey of bins around the School, we found out a few wrong practices in waste separation.
As a remedy we worked with the Sustainability office of the University and put new laminated signs with clear images and directions on the different bins. The action proved to be quite effective in steering the School members toward a correct separation and recycling behaviour.

Bottle caps

The School’s staff, members, students separate caps from bottles, and collect them in special containers. Caps are made of valuable plastics, and are periodically taken away by a non-profit organization supporting health research.


Teaching and doing research is our core work. When we lecture and do research we put sustainability at the center stage.

Three tracks of the Master of Science in Management Engineering focus on sustainability contents and more than 20 Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, GSOM Graduate School of Business or PhD courses prioritize sustainability topics in the syllabus.

Tracks of the Master of Science in Management Engineering
  • Energy Management
  • Circular Economy
  • Sustainability and Social Impact
Programs, Tracks and Courses at POLIMI GSoM

The theme of sustainability is also addressed in a transversal way in other courses and programmes, in particular:


If we look at our research outputs we find out that about 25% of SoM’s peer-reviewed papers tackle sustainability issues. Many of them concentrate on SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production, SDG 3 – Good Health and Wellbeing, SDG 9 – Industry Innovation and Infrastructure, but other Goals are addressed as well.

The School’s research teams investigate sustainability issues both from their disciplinary perspectives, and in multi-disciplinary partnerships, as the presentation of the research lines reveals. Our research projects address the challenges of making business enterprises more responsible, enhancing society inclusiveness, and managing natural resources in a sustainable way, in many cases leaning on cooperation between business players, governmental actors, and non-profit organizations for sustainable development.

The School teams also join their forces with other University departments and address complex sustainability challenges through multidisciplinary research. For example, the School members participate in the University’s transdisciplinary units that cope with gender equality, food sustainability and infrastructure management.


Many members of the School of Management have long worked in various ways with non-profit organisations and social enterprises. More recently we have decided to take our collaboration with organisations in the service sector to the front lines, with opportunities for students, instructors, and personnel at the School through initiatives such as:

SOM for non-profits

Social organisations are viewed by increasing numbers of students and instructors in the School as central players in society and the economy, and the service sector is a growing field of application for Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, with scientific interest as well. This is why one of the School’s priorities is to develop relationships with non-profit organisations and social enterprises. This is also why SOM for non-profits was established. A space for collaboration and reciprocal interaction between the non-profit world and the School of Management, it aims to facilitate contact between organisations and students, instructors, and staff at the School to provide competencies and develop joint projects.
After careful preparation starting in 2017, we have met with and visited many organisations, collecting information about their interests and needs. With reference to theses and project work of the M Sc in Management Engineering and GSOM courses carried out with non-profit organizations and other third sector subjects, in 2021 the number of students and teachers involved were respectively equal to 220 and 40, while the organizations reached 49.
The programme also includes internships for students and graduates of the Laurea Magistrale in Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering and the GSOM Graduate School of Business.
In addition to teaching, research projects have been conducted with various organisations, and we are working to address the educational needs of non-profits and social enterprises.

SOM for SDGs: prize for theses and project works with impacts for the Sustainable Development Goals

With regard to the development of theses, the School has created the degree award ‘SOM for SDGs’, which awards final theses and project works with impacts for the Sustainable Development Goals. Candidate theses or papers that contribute to solving the social challenges of our time and identify models of sustainable development on the environmental, economic, and social plane may be presented.

Give them a chance

Among its contributions to managing the COVID-19 crisis, the School has launched a project to recover used PCs for donation to families in need so that children and teenagers can participate in distance learning organised by the schools.
The project was developed in collaboration with Pelligra Srl, which collects, reconditions, and distributes PCs for those in need.

For more information:


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  • Federica Acerbi, Junior Assistant Professor
  • Enrico Bellazzecca, Junior Assistant Professor
  • Irene BengoAssociate Professor
  • Jacopo Bonan, Junior Assistant Professor
  • Leonardo Boni, Junior Assistant Professor
  • Alessandro Brun, Professor
  • Raffaella Cagliano, Professor
  • Elodie Cardonnet, POLIMI Graduate School of Management
  • Laura Catellani, Department Manager
  • Veronica Chiodo, Junior Assistant Professor
  • Simone Franzò, Senior Assistant Professor
  • Paola GarroneProfessor
  • Yulia Lapko, Junior Assistant Professor
  • Emanuele Lettieri, Professor
  • Alessandra Neri, Senior Assistant Professor
  • Diletta Pegoraro, Junior Assistant Professor
  • Alessandro Perego, Professor
  • Ernst Johannes Prosman, Junior Assistant Professor
  • Paolo Trucco, Professor


A few awards and challenges centered on sustainability may be of interest to the School of Management community. They address students or faculty.


Award: Youth in Action for Sustainable Development Goals
Organization: Fondazione Accenture, Fondazione Allianz Umanamente
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Award: The International Green Gown Awards
Organization: The Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education
Registration closed

Award: The International Sustainable Campus Excellence Awards
Organization: International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN)
Registration closed

Award: INNOVA Challenge
Organization: GSOM PoliMi, EDHEC, ESMT Berlin
Registration closed

Award: Wege Prize Competition
Organization: Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD)
Registration closed

Award: Responsible Business Education Awards
Organization: Financial Times
Registration closed

Award: The Social Logistics Challenge
Organization: GBSN
Registration closed

Award: Save the Duck *
Organization: School of Management – Politecnico di Milano & Save the Duck
Registration closed

Award: #Act4SDGs – Call for Italy e Global call for ideas
Organization: SDG ACTION AWARDS – Campagna di azione della UN SDG Action Campaign (Onu)
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Award: PRME Innovation Challenge
Organization: Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME)
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Award: Premio Innovazione Amica dell’Ambiente
Organization: Legambiente
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Award: B Corp School & B Corp Challenge
Organization: InVento Innovation Lab
Registration closed

Award: RMEIM Student Prize
Organization: Réseau Mediterranéen des Écoles d’Ingénieurs et de Management (RMEIM)
Registration closed