Sustainability? A challenging job that requires passion and vocation. The Journey of Elisa Flamini

12 March 2024

After a significant professional path in trade marketing for major multinational corporations, Elisa Flamini embarked on a personal and professional transformation journey at Bologna Business School. Her commitment to the Global MBA in Green Energy and Sustainable Businesses marked a turning point, steering her career toward sustainability. Now, as the head of the Sustainability department at Green Media Lab, Elisa shares her experiences, the challenges she has faced, and her visions for the future in a rapidly evolving sector.

How has the Global MBA in Green Energy and Sustainable Businesses influenced your career, and which skills acquired during the course have proven most valuable?

The Global MBA, first and foremost, allowed me to open my mind and see the “big picture”. Coming from highly structured multinational experiences where I had become a specialist and then a department manager, there is generally a tendency to focus on one’s own work and day-by-day, missing, in a sense, a more ecosystemic and strategic vision, with an eye on innovation (as well as, obviously, sustainability). In addition, it allowed me to weave a network of great value with professionals with very different backgrounds from mine, which greatly enriched my vision.

Were there any specific projects or collaborations during your Global MBA that enriched your understanding of the green energy and sustainability sector?

The subjects were well balanced between more vertical courses and those more cross-sectional/generalist. Indeed, years later, the courses will be even more technical, given also the evolution of sustainability and the ESG world. The activities I find most useful are projects and group work.

What are the primary challenges and emerging opportunities in your field today?

The main challenge today as a sustainability professional is to keep up with European and international regulations, which are moving at an impressive speed, and with the innovative solutions currently available on ESG topics. The second challenge/opportunity is to share valuable best practices among professionals and avoid falling into the mere corporate show-off of one’s own practices. The latter is a tangible risk and a phenomenon I often notice in industry events. Another risk I see is losing concreteness in supporting companies in their sustainability journey and turning sustainability into something elitist and “fancy”. I believe a practical, concrete, and scientific approach will make a difference today and tomorrow.

What direction do you see the commitment to sustainability heading in the coming years, and what advice would you give to future students of the Global MBA at BBS?

Sustainability is a huge necessity and opportunity, but it requires a transformation. As always with megatrends, we have witnessed a poorly regulated and unclear boom of ESG practices and indicators and vague and misleading sustainability performance communication by companies (witness the phenomenon of greenwashing). What we have seen in recent times is greater clarity and regulation on certifications, KPIs, and messages. Today’s and tomorrow’s ESG professionals must continuously study and update themselves and have a broad and concrete vision. It will be demanding, and it can only be performed best with a real passion and vocation for the subject.


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