In the Managing Climate Solutions (MaCS-HSG) certificate, master students develop entrepreneurial solutions to one of the most pressing societal challenges of our time: climate change.
Students complement their core Master`s programme with dedicated courses enabling them to understand the magnitude of the challenge, to explore the range of possible solutions, to craft behaviorally informed strategies, and to shape a positive future in a carbon-constrained world.
CEMS Model UNFCCC
Climate Change Course and Simulation
Climate change is one of the most pressing issues, affecting all of today’s business related processes. The impact of climate change will change the international business environment dramatically. However, the business relevance of climate change is insufficiently understood by future decision makers in international management and society.
The Climate Change Course and its ʺModel UNFCCCʺ is an innovative educational approach to close this knowledge gap. Its goal is to broaden studentsʹ understanding of climate change and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its impact on the future of business. The course is held simultaneously at 10 leading CEMS universities and ends with a tow-day simulation of global climate negotiations in which around 150 students from all participating schools come together.
At our institute we supervise master and bachelor theses related to the research focus of the chairs. The official regulations of the University of St.Gallen for Bachelor and Master theses apply. More information on the official application process, formal criteria, plagiarism and quotations, as well as the grading guidelines can be found on the HSG intranet: Bachelor- & Masterthesis
We are happy to consider applications from students who are passionate about corporate environmental sustainability and have demonstrated excellent academic performance.
Thesis topics may be in the area of sustainability management at corporate level such as: the role and behaviour of boards of directors, CEOs and managers; governance structures and mechanisms; skills and capabilities companies develop; external institutional pressure and activism (including shareholder activism); stakeholder management; supplier relations; circular economy; business models for sustainability.
Our team has a special interest in sustainability within the fashion-, mining-, and agri-commodities industries, as well as corporate brand value and identity, and corporate reporting.
You may also propose a topic of your own choice as long as it is related to corporate sustainability strategy.
Environmental Sustainability in Boards of Directors of SMEs
According to the World Bank, 90% of businesses are small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and are an essential part of supply chains. SMEs are therefore central to achieving green transformation on topics such as carbon neutrality, circular business models, and biodiversity loss. At the same time, SMEs face many challenges including financial survival in the context of COVID-19. Leaders of such organizations can be overwhelmed with the question of how to embed sustainability into the company’s strategy, setting suitable short and long-term targets, and how to monitor and assess the company’s sustainability activities.
This Masters research thesis aims to investigate the question: How can boards directors of Swiss SMEs become savvy on environmental sustainability? The role of board directors is supervisory by definition, and for many board directors, sustainability or ESG is a new topic. Even among large companies, only 6% of board directors have experience on environmental topics and 20% on social topics.
We are seeking a Master’s student to study this topic, which was designed in collaboration with industry partners in Switzerland. Questions that the student will explore include understanding how Swiss SME board directors acquire the necessary knowledge on environmental sustainability, how they monitor the SME’s sustainability activities, and the reporting measures, tools, and methods used. The study will likely adopt a qualitative approach via interviews with board directors of Swiss SMEs. The aim is to identify challenges and best practices that provide pragmatic insights.
At the Chair of Management of Renewable Energies, we are currently experiencing high levels of student interest in writing Master or Bachelor theses. While we are excited about the interest on these important topics, our capacity prevents us from satisfying every request for supervision. We will selectively consider new requests if they have a close link to our team’s research focus, and if the candidate can demonstrate dedication and commitment to investigating a novel topic related to managing renewable energy and climate solutions. All else being equal, students who have already familiarized themselves with the topic in one of our courses will be given priority in the application process.
Do you think you have what we are looking for? Then please take a moment to check the website of the eligible supervisors in our team:
Once you have identified the lecturer who is the best match with your research interest, contact her/him with a short CV, motivation letter, grade transcript and short description of 1-2 proposed thesis topic(s).
Prof. Dr. Judith Walls and Prof. Dr. Rolf Wüstenhagen are Ph.D. advisors at the Institute for Economy and the Environment. They are hosting a limited number of Ph.D. students as part of the PMA and DIA Ph.D. programmes. The research topic of Ph.D. candidates is tightly connected to the research areas of the chairs. For detailed information see Ph.D. candidates’ profiles and our research pages.
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University of St. Gallen (HSG) Institute for Economy and the Environment Müller-Friedberg-Strasse 6/8
9000 St. Gallen
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