Gruppo Mastrotto’s CEO advised by IÉSEG students from Sustainability Management course

At a time when young people and consumers attach more and more importance to societal and environmental issues, companies have every interest in adopting a sustainable approach. It has thus became a key element of any business model, of any marketing and communication strategies. But how can a company manage and communicate about its sustainability actions without being accused of greenwashing?

This is the purpose of the elective program taught by Simone DE COLLE, a long-time IÉSEG professor in Strategy and Sustainability. In line with its Vision to empower changemakers for a better society, IÉSEG indeed proposes its Master students a Sustainability Management & Reporting course, whose objective is to help students better understand what sustainability is and, most importantly, how companies manage and report about sustainability. How do they integrate sustainability into their strategies? What sustainability actions really shift a business model? How to identify greenwashing?

Coming from all parts of the world (Italy, Switzerland, the United States, India…), 4 groups of students chose a company (Accor, WeBuild, Lindt and Gruppo Mastrotto) from different countries and different industries and were given specific tools to analyze how companies manage and communicate about sustainability, and mainly the key issue of materiality in sustainability. And how it can influence shareholders, investors, clients, and even employees. They thoroughly analyzed the companies’ sustainability strategy and Sustainable reports to determine the quality of the communication and the credibility of their sustainability actions.

During the last session of this course, IÉSEG welcomed Chiara MASTROTTO, the President and CEO of Gruppo Mastrotto, who came with Guido Zilli, the Group’s CSR manager, to listen to the students’ analysis and recommendations to improve the Group’s sustainability communication.

Gruppo Mastrotto is a family-owned company funded in 1958 by the Mastrotto family and which became the world reference in the processing of bovine hides for the furniture, footwear, leather goods, automotive, marine and aviation industry. Being an international player in the tanning industry involves great responsibilities towards all stakeholders (customers, staff…) and the environment in general. Over the years, Gruppo Mastrotto has made increasing investments to adopt solutions aimed at minimising the impact that hides treatment has on the environment and have promoted tangible initiatives with their partners and all their staff.

Simone DE COLLE explains: “Presenting the results of their group work to a CEO is always challenging for students. As Gruppo Mastrotto published last year their first Sustainability Report, its CEO was very interested in having an external analysis and comment on every element of their sustainability strategy, and especially indications of how to improve it. I must say I was, as Chiara Mastrotto and Guido Zilli, really impressed by the quality of the students’ work. They really appreciated the students’ analysis and found their advice for further improving their company’s sustainability report very useful. We look forward to see how these insights will be implemented in the next sustainability report.

Chiara MASTROTTO concludes: ”It was a pleasure to have accepted the invitation of Professor DE COLLE and IÉSEG to come and discuss with the students, because I’m convinced that an open dialogue with the new generations is necessary, and above all with those who will be the managers of tomorrow, on these themes that are now fundamental for everyone, even more so for those who do business. The fact that our sustainability report has become the object of study and ideas for improvement by international students of such a prestigious school can only be a reason for satisfaction and stimulus for us to follow our Sustainability roadmap with determination, and I look forward to exchanging again with those students in a couple of years to see how we improved our CSR communication and strategy taking into account their positive and enlightened recommendations.