ESCP Business School has made the ecological transition an increasingly important part of its strategy and educational activities. The School has integrated sustainability into the curriculum of the flagship generalist programmes (Bachelor, Pre‐Master, Master in Management, and MBA programmes), so that students can be exposed to these issues. There are also two programmes that specifically focus on ecological transition: MSc. in International Sustainability Management and MSc. in Sustainability Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

We asked Léo Police, President of student society oikos Berlin and MSc in International Sustainability Management, to share his experience of an interactive workshop on climate change, the “Climate Fresk”.

As an undergraduate student, I studied management and new technologies, but over time I became specifically interested in energy and climate topics. My school hosted events that allowed me to hear various experts discuss climate change, and in my second year, I had the chance to take part in a ‘Climate Fresk, which was a workshop in which you collaborate with 6-8 participants to understand the science behind climate change. I appreciated it because it was a smart and engaging way for me and many others to make connections between the different human activities, their impact on the natural systems, and finally, the tangible effects on our societies.

So when I came to ESCP to study for a Master’s, I knew that I wanted to help raise awareness of the environmental crises we are facing, and to help students (as well as staff!) contribute to the answers of these challenges. The more I got involved with these topics, the more I realised that there is a significant gap between scientific climate knowledge and what the general public knows. As a business school, ESCP already takes action to integrate sustainability, and I wanted to help push the efforts further. For this reason, I joined oikos Berlin, and as its current President, one thing I wanted to do is to help expand climate education with the Climate Fresks, of which I became a certified facilitator during the COP26 in Glasgow.

Not only do these workshops impart critical knowledge, but they also help build a community. When I first started becoming aware of the climate emergency, I actually found myself feeling very alone because neither my family nor my friends were (at the time) tuned into the ongoing conversations about it. Organizing these workshops is therefore particularly useful in building a  community of people who are armed with knowledge and the desire to take action to make the world work better for us and future generations.

What are Climate Fresks and why are they important?

The Climate Fresk is a collaborative and engaging way to learn more about the climate system and the consequences of its disruption. The workshop ideally takes place with 4-8 participants and lasts about three hours. It is divided in two parts, and during the first part, the group will have 42 cards that represent different components of climate change (such as human activities or rising water levels, etc.) based on the IPCC report, and together they must link the cause and effect relationships.

The final product is a collage of these connections, and teams decorate them and then engage in the second part, which is a meaningful discussion on the key learnings of the collage and on individual and collective solutions to mitigate climate change.

The scientific data on the cards, which is gathered from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, makes the activity particularly suitable for the ESCP community as a way to improve their scientific knowledge on the subject and to develop a systemic view of the issues while meeting and bonding with new people in a fun environment! The Climate Fresk can also be enjoyed by both beginners and experts, and anyone in between.

A Climate Fresk workshop at the ESCP Paris campus, January 2022

Who can participate in the Fresks?

In the ESCP community, anyone can participate in the Fresks, and the diversity of thought and backgrounds is highly encouraged. The group interaction and collaboration is really what makes it a great experience, especially since there is so much to learn from your groupmates, and you build strong connections with each other as well. In particular, ESCP students from any programme can get involved, not just those studying sustainability. In fact, the climate fresk is one of the key segments of the Designing Tomorrow: Business and Sustainability seminar that is part of the curriculum of the Master in Management premaster year.

Every workshop has a certified facilitator. The role of the facilitator is to make sure that the correct links are represented, and to give additional context. During the discussion, the facilitator also allows everyone to express themselves and can provide additional information (orders of magnitude, examples, etc.) to help the group determine which actions are the most effective in the short and long term for them.

My personal experience is that the learning part, with the cards, is very complete and educational, but I prefer the second part, because the participants feel the magnitude and urgency of climate change, and experience it as a collective moment that can catalyse people towards action.

What are our goals regarding the Fresks?

As the President of oikos Berlin, the sustainability student association on the ESCP Berlin and Paris campuses, our goal is to raise awareness of climate change and ecological issues, and to help students contribute to the answers to these challenges.

With the Climate Fresk tool, we want to raise awareness of sustainability challenges for the new 1,000 students of the Berlin campus in the upcoming fall semester, no matter what programme they are studying. To do so, we are training a community of Climate Fresk facilitators within ESCP, with the help of the ESCP Transition Network and other stakeholders.

Léo Police
President of oikos Berlin
MSc International Sustainability Management
ESCP Business School