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, Comitato unico di Garanzia.

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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.

Monitoring our consumption of resources

Do you know how much electricity, gas, bottled water and paper you use every year? At SoM we keep an eye on our consumption of resources. We monitor them and hang summary posters with graphs on consumption trends, consumption per capita and tips all around the School.

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.

Other initiatives

We are building new initiatives for making the School of Management more and more sustainable, such as Cutting single-use plastics and participating in the New Plastics Economy initiative led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Stay tuned!

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Teaching and doing research is our core work. When we lecture and do research we put sustainability at the center stage.
Two tracks of the Master of Science in Management Engineering focus on sustainability contents and more than 20 Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, MIP Graduate School of Business or PhD courses prioritize sustainability topics in the syllabus.

Tracks of the Master of Science in Management Engineering
  • Energy & Environmental Management Track;
  • Sustainable Operations and Social Innovation Track
Master of Science courses (Management Engineering & other programs)
  • Advanced and sustainable manufacturing;
  • Corporate Social Responsibility;
  • Development economics;
  • Energy management Lab;
  • Energy modelling and scenarios;
  • Etica digitale;
  • Health care management;
  • Industrial eco-efficiency;
  • International Markets and European Institutions;
  • Leadership & Innovation Project works;
  • Management of energy and sustainability;
  • Product Lifecycle Management;
  • Safety engineering & management;
  • Social and sustainability challenges Lab;
  • Social innovation;
  • Supply chain management
Bachelor Courses
  • Economia ambientale;
  • Etica professionale
Programs, Tracks and Courses at MIP
  • Master in Energy Management;
  • Sustainability & Ethics in Business bootcamp;
  • Sustainability Management & Green Business
MOOCs of POK (Polimi Open Knowledge):
  • Entrepreneurship without borders (with UNDCTAD);
  • Share food, cut waste (with Banco Alimentare)


The School of Management awards students whose final works have a sizeable impact on Society and Sustainable Development. In 2018, 2 Master of Science dissertations and 2 MBA final works have obtained the “SoM for SDGs” prize.


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 SoM faculty members and students have been cooperating with non-profit organizations and social enterprises since long. More recently we have brought collaboration with the Third Sector organizations at the forefront of opportunities offered to all the School’s students, professors and staff through the SoM for Non Profits initiative.

Starting with a workshop in October 2017, we have met and visited a number of organizations, gathering information on their interests and needs. After a first year of the program, over 200 students tried themselves and coped with the knowledge and managerial challenges raised by 24 non-profit organizations and social enterprises, undertaking 40 project works for their courses and 12 theses for their Master of Science degrees, with the guidance of 20 professors and researchers.

Social organizations are increasingly recognized by the School’s students and professors as a central subject, and we go on in cooperative initiatives through project works and theses. Internships for Master of Science and MIP students, and graduates are another way to exchange knowledge.

Projects on a larger scale have been launched with several organizations. We aim at strengthening our relationships through the design of joint proposals and the realisation of new demonstration, capacity building and research projects.

Finally, we work to answer the learning needs of social organizations, their managers and workforce, through an enrichment of our open programs (e.g. MBA), and the design of ad-hoc custom courses and longer programs.

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  • Irene Bengo, Assistant Professor, Social Innovation
  • Alessandro Brun, Associate Professor, Quality Management
  • Raffaella Cagliano, Professor, People Management & Organization
  • Mirja Calgaro, Unit Communication
  • Maria Chiara Falsaperla, Head of Management Academy and Custom Education, MIP
  • Simone Franzò, Junior Assistant Professor, Energy Management 
  • Paola Garrone, Professor, Business and Industrial Economics
  • Yulia Lapko, Junior Assistant Professor, Industrial Eco-Efficiency and Energy Management 
  • Sara Perotti, Assistant Professor, Logistics