Sustainability and Business Innovation

Creating Shared Value

The fast changes in the competitive and social context we’re witnessing require from us to radically rethink the corporate value creation process. Sustainability, circular economy and social innovation are key elements for business, from manufacturing to services, in large corporations as well as in start-ups.
The Executive Master in Sustainability and Business Innovation was established to develop a new strategic vision and to provide skills and operational tools to those who manage, for their organizations, sustainability, circular economy and social innovation processes. Promoting these topics today means training thought and action leaders, able to reconfigure their business models or to develop new ones, to meet the needs and opportunities in this changed competitive scenario. This journey allows organizations to invest in professionals able to understand changes underway and to better manage them, from within the different corporate functions. Attending the Master means becoming part of a community of innovating managers, able to integrate the current economic, social and environmental challenges, activating partnership and open innovation processes with the various stakeholders in the territory.

This program, the only one in Italy including topics related to sustainability and social innovation at a strategic level and then applying them to the different corporate functions, features 30 classroom days, with a residential formula (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) over a 12-month period, plus a Warm up and one day for the presentation of the Project Works. In addition to the core courses, there are distance learning modules, focus sessions to exchange views on specific subjects with industry managers and professionals, and company visits, an occasion for networking at leading companies for sustainability and partners of Bologna Business School. To start this journey, book an interview with the course Directors.



Matteo Mura

Matteo Mura

Scientific Director

" There’s no alternative to sustainability and those companies that have understood it are performing better than their competitors. This master is specifically meant to train professionals able to rethink the value creation process of their organization, consistently geared towards sustainability, circular economy and social innovation. "

Matteo Mura

Maria Luisa Parmigiani

Executive Director

" Achieving SDGs could mean accessing a global market of about 12 trillion dollars a year, for the development of key industries such as food and agriculture, cities and urban mobility, energy and materials, health and well-being. For this to happen, organizations need to start a profound rethinking of their business model, adopting a holistic, systemic and deeply innovative approach. "



Antonella Sarti

Responsabile Amministrazione Finanza e Controllo
Emba Coop (ed. 2010/11)

"I chose Emba Coop because I was looking for a Master that could make me more adequate to deal with job related problems"

Giorgio Ferrari

Direttore Generale Log-Man
Emba Coop (ed. 2011/12)

"If previously it was a option, today it is unthinkable to be a good manager without having participated in this master. With Emba Coop I acquired a portfolio of knowledge that is simply priceless"

Francesco Malaguti

Responsabile Acquisti Camst
Emba Coop (ed. 2010/11)

"I chose EMBA Coop in order to enrich my experience as well as my personal and professional culture"

Daniela Vitali e Gianluca Giglio

Responsabile Controllo di Gestione Consolidato e Responsabile sviluppo del personale e Organizzazione
Emba Coop (ed. 2012/13)

"An important investment in training in order to protect the development of the cooperative heritage and my own personal growth""


The Executive Master in Sustainability and Business Innovation is a master made of people, during which formal and informal opportunities for debates are created in order to foster the exchange of ideas among participants. Networking develops among the students of the same class, between participants and the faculty, as well as with students from other courses and with the School community.

Company visits and the accounts by the experts allow participants to exchange views with managers or entrepreneurs on a significant experience. The direct contact with managers and the protagonists of important organizations provides a wonderful learning and networking opportunity.


The Executive Master in Sustainability and Business Innovation is the ideal course to develop management skills and leadership capabilities. Starting from the main issues and topics that the companies have identified during the planning stage, in their own contexts, it was possible to focus on and understand specific needs and expectations related to this training journey.


  • Camst
  • Gruppo Hera
  • Intesa San Paolo
  • Lega coop
  • Philip Morris
  • Unipol


  • Alleanza Italiana per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile (ASviS)
  • Fondazione Sodalitas
  • Forum per la Finanza Sostenibile
  • Impronta Etica
  • PRME Principles for Responsible Management Education
  • RRBM Responsible Research for Business and Management
  • UN Global Compact

International Week


The Executive Master in Sustainability and Business Innovation is a part-time program, compatible with work. It lasts 12 months and it features 30 class-room days (Thursday, Friday and Saturday full time once a month).

The program features 10 courses, on 2 areas:


Every module includes courses, focus sessions, opportunities to exchange ideas and views with company managers and professionals, and a final test. The contents are structured so as to ensure the correct order of activities and allow participants to delve deeper into each specific field, one after the other.

10 courses developed in succession to delve deeper into each specific discipline. The classroom activity includes traditional lectures, case-studies and corporate accounts.

3 workshops with university professors, managers and professionals to analyze some of the key aspects of sustainability, social innovation and circular economy.

25 weeks of distance learning using the school e-learning platform. It features: studying the course materials, completing exercises, discussing company cases and exchanging views on the questions asked by the educational tutor and colleagues on the forum.

2 company visits aimed at exchanging ideas with managers and entrepreneurs, directly in the “field”.

4+ evening meetings (17.30-19.30) with company managers who illustrate their managerial experiences.


The Business Strategy course delves deeper into the company’s decision-making process, the planning approach and the search for the target competitive positioning in changing contexts. It provides logical tools for the understanding of the competitive environment and competitive dynamics, of the value generation process and the role played in this field by the internal resources and expertise and the relationships with other players. 

The course deals with topics related to the measuring and management of innovation project performance. Specifically, the following will be dealt with: techniques to pre-determine the project economic and financial opportunity (Net Present Value, Internal Rate of Return, Payback Period, etc.); techniques to inter-functionally manage project costs and margins starting from the creation stage (Target Costing, Life Cycle Costing); techniques to assess the adequacy of costs incurred versus the generated value (Data Envelopment Analysis and Value Analysis); techniques aimed at supporting the implementation of measures to spur all company areas.

Operations module will give to students the necessary skillset to understand which will be the principal evolutions of the field in the next years, so to be able to anticipate, face and benefit from those transformational changes. The course will also include a strong contamination from real world, in terms of advanced technologies (provided both from corporates and startups), new business models and real cases of innovation in the field.

An effective marketing strategy requires a deep knowledge of the mechanisms that govern the perception of value for the customer.
The topics covered are:

Market orientation: segmentation and positioning;

Analysis of the attractiveness of countries, customers and markets;

Market segmentation;

National, multilocal, global and competitive positioning targeting;

Product marketing and the process of launching new products;

The creation of the brand;

Value delivery: distribution and commercial choices;

The integrated communication process;

Online/offline advertising and media planning;

Value collection: pricing;

Tactical price management

Translated with

In this module, participants will be exposed to the principles and tools of design thinking applied to business models, will use these tools in a guided journey, with the following objectives: 

  • Understanding the meaning of “Customer Centricity” and the approach to the design of digital services and business models
  • Analyzing consumers’ needs and defining new services to satisfy them better
  • Knowing and implementing tools for the design of all the business model elements
  • Assessing the business potential of an innovative idea
  • Creating a “pitch deck” of the new business idea
  • Understanding the difficulties linked to the establishment of innovative business models (“The Innovator’s dilemma”) in the framework of a ‘traditional’ company, and strategies that proved helpful in overcoming them

The People & Leadership course delves deeper into the most relevant topics for the management of people in the company, in a perspective centered around sustainability and positive relationships. Inspired by the principles of the “Positive Organizational Psychology”, the course provides logics tools to enhance human capital, motivation and team management. Also, the most relevant leadership styles are analyzed, highlighting pros and cons in the context of different, wide-ranging daily situations.

The design (redesign) and management of these processes, measuring and controlling their sustainability and environmental impact on man and the planet, are the new challenges of modern production systems. To face this challenge, it is necessary to rethink the production chains, moving towards a logic of circularity, where waste is eliminated and the waste of a production process becomes a second raw material of a subsequent production process. The objective of the course is to introduce models and tools useful for analysing and controlling production and logistics processes with special attention to the circular economy and sustainability throughout the life cycle of a product, from the supply of raw materials to disposal. In this context, the course intends to pursue the following results: - To provide students with the key concepts of circular economy and the knowledge of the main processes characterizing sustainability in operations and in the supply chain (i.e. Green Purchasing, Green Manufacturing, Design for Sustainability, Reverse Logistics, Closed-Loop Supply Chain); - Provide students with KPIs and tools for assessing sustainability and environmental impacts along a supply chain; - Encourage the integration of sustainability tools and KPIs with those traditionally used in the planning and management of the Supply Chain and production processes.  

The purpose of this course is to initiate a debate around the role and functioning of modern corporations as sustainability challenges, opportunities and solutions emerge. In particular, the objective is to detail and disentangle the links between corporate strategy, sustainability, and performance measurement systems as a means to translate sustainable strategies into effective outcomes and, at the same time, to provide investors and external stakeholders with a set of metrics that appropriately identify a company’s sustainable value and competitiveness.

Within this perspective, four major learning outcomes are expected:

  • To allow students to gain a solid and robust understanding of: (i) what a corporate performance measurement system is; (ii) how it can be developed and used; (iii) how it supports the formulation and implementation of a sustainable business strategy;
  • To allow students to understand key approaches and frameworks for measuring, assessing and reporting sustainability and corporate social responsibility;
  • To equip students with the necessary tools and techniques to evaluate green investments from both a financial and non-financial perspective;
  • To allow students to understand the key drivers behind the consistent and continuous growth of renewable energy as an industrial sector globally, and how policy, technology and capital interact together creating its backbone.

Learning method

The Master study method includes learning periods in the classroom and distance learning on the School e-learning platform, that is constantly monitored by the related instructors.

The distance learning study activity features a weekly work plan on the School e-learning platform, which is a section of individual work of further analysis, supervised by the reference tutor. The platform includes a Forum for the real-time sharing of reflections and additional study among faculty and participants.

Each course starts with a residential and it usually covers 1.5 of the 4 days, in addition to the hours necessary to interact on the platform in the following weeks. Thus the learning activity follows a linear path, constantly monitored by the course tutor who is always available to provide clarifications and additional information. The Master takes place in two distinct places: a physical location, i.e. Villa Guastavillani, the headquarters of Bologna Business School in Bologna, and a virtual one, that is the e-learning platform. Participants should prepare for about 8 hours of study per week. At the end of each module (3 modules) participants take a final test aimed at assessing the level of learning they’ve achieved.








The Master enrollment fee:
• 13,800€ (+IT VAT) individual enrollment
• 16,200 € (+IT VAT) corporate enrollment
Reduced fees are available for the companies that joined the School Business Network and for early enrollment.
The fee includes: the attendance to the Master, all the study material available on the online platform and the access to the AIDA database on corporate balance sheets, a helpful tool for study and for the project works. The fee also includes access to the Bologna Business School services, to name but a few: personal wi-fi account, use of the PCs in the Computer Lab, use of the study areas, access to the in-house gym, reduced prices for the School restaurant.
In addition, it offers the opportunity to take part in the events organized by the School to support the educational activities, such as the master lectures (invitation only).
A large free parking is available in the School park.


Study loan on preferential terms:
- Subsidized rate
- Payable in 10 years
- Possibility to postpone the payment of the first installment up to 36 months
For information write to


Preferential terms are available from your reference Inter-professional Fund:

• Fonditalia:
• Fondimpresa – for managers / middle management:
• Fondo Dirigenti PMI – for executives of industrial SMEs:
• Fondirigenti – for executives:
• Fon.Coop – for cooperatives:
Fondimpresa funds training activities to support product and/or process technological innovation for SMEs in the manufacturing industry. For further information click here.


The Master is meant for managers and professionals working at for-profit and not-for-profit companies, cooperatives, representation bodies and public authorities, interested in acquiring tools, methodologies and multi-disciplinary skills to manage and implement, within their own organizations, company strategies and operational processes related to sustainability, circular economy and social innovation.


The selection process is carried out by vetting the Curriculum Vitae and holding an individual interview, aimed at identifying the candidate professional profile and their consistency with the participation to the master. Candidates are then contacted to plan the selection interview with the Master Directors. No auditors are allowed. Attendance to individual courses is not allowed.


The majority of participants have degrees. A quota of applicants who do not hold a three year degree and with a minimum 5 years of professional experience can be admitted
The selection interview is necessary but not binding. If necessary, a second meeting can be held to provide further clarification.
It is possible to meet one or more current or past students by contacting the director of the Master. The program manager provides the contact details.
The program manager can provide attendance certificates at the end of each lesson to those who require it.


Elisa Lorenzi
Elisa LorenziHead of Executive Masters

Phone: +39 051 2090129


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