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Press release - Lara Obst wins fourth Philippe de Woot Award for best Master thesis on Corporate Social Responsibility

Thursday, March 3, 2016

March 1, 2016


Lara Obst wins fourth Philippe de Woot Award for best Master thesis on Corporate Social Responsibility

Lara Obst, who graduated from the University of Twente (NL) and the Technical University of Berlin (GER), won the fourth edition of the Philippe de Woot Award yesterday, February 19, 2016. She was awarded the prize for her Master thesis on Utilising the Business Model Canvas to Enable Sustainability Measurement on the Business Model Level: An Indicator Framework Supplementing the Business Model Canvas. According to the jury, she delivered, in comparison to the other three finalists, the most relevant and innovative contribution to a better awareness of sustainable business. The winner will receive a 3,000-euro cash prize, 1,500 euros of which should be invested in an ecological or social project of her own choice. Lara will invest this in Ecosia.

This year, the awards ceremony was organised by the Antwerp Management School, on behalf of an association of Belgian universities and business schools including the University of Antwerp, Solvay Brussels School, ICHEC Brussels Management School, Université Saint Louis Bruxelles, Université de Namur, HEC-Ulg, Louvain School of Management (UCL) and Vlerick Business School. The organisation is also supported by the BASF Deloitte Elia Chair on Sustainability.

With their biannual inter-university Philippe de Woot Award, Belgium’s major management schools aim to boost corporate awareness of the increasing importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the current social and economic context. The organisers also want their initiative to stimulate young people to start thinking differently about sustainability in business. Indeed, the students of today are the managers and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

This edition boasted participation of a record number of theses, which, moreover, had been submitted from all over the world. This increase was possible by the successful cooperation with CEMS (The Global Alliance in Management Education) PRME (Principles for Responsible Management Education), CSR Europe, EFMD and Fondation Louvain, all organisations that do special efforts to create greater awareness of the growing importance of CSR in management education.

Professor Luc Van Liedekerke, Chair holder of the BASF Deloitte Elia Chair on Sustainability, an academic collaboration between the University of Antwerp and Antwerp Management School, sheds some light on the importance of this award:

"In the context of the huge social and environmental challenges facing global economies today, companies and academic institutions should strive for innovation, entrepreneurship, excellence and quality in all aspects of management. The master theses submitted for the Philippe de Woot Award, help us get a clearer picture of the road already travelled and the one still lying ahead of us. We need to identify best practices and potential room for improvement, in order to transform these challenges into opportunities. The concept of educating responsible managers is gaining currency in the world of higher education as well. At the Antwerp Management School, we believe that universities and business schools should increasingly pay attention to the way in which concepts such as sustainability, ethics, sustainable leadership and corporate responsibility are integrated into our classes and research activities. It is our duty to do so; at the end of the day, we are educating our current and future executives."

"The Philippe de Woot Award is awarded to a student who has done research within this domain. Although awarded to a single student, the award is a recognition for everyone who has invested time and energy in searching for better and more responsible ways to behave and work. That knowledge will grow even more important if we are to bridge the gap between the challenges within our current system of doing business and the needs of a growing world population. This award also pays tribute to a new way of thinking and to the innovation and creativity that will be needed to support that change. Consequently, it makes us very proud to have been able to organize this Award with all of our partners", says Prof. Dr. Paul Matthyssens, Dean of Antwerp Management School. The large number of registrations for this event, which hosted 700 participants from the business and student community, illustrates the fact that there is indeed a big interest for the subject.

Summary of the thesis

The thesis investigates how startups, investors and other stakeholders can easily identify, measure and evaluate the sustainability performance of companies on a comprehensive business model level. 

Theoretical and empiric exploration has led to the discovery of a set of 15 so-called key Sustainability Performance Indicators (SPI). With the help of some 20 sustainability experts these have been mapped into an SPI Framework which supplements Osterwalder’s business model canvas and turns it into a handy management tool for the three mentioned target group users.   

Winner’s quote

"I am very happy that by winning the Philippe de Woot Award my master thesis can have a positive impact!  First by donating to Ecosia's tree planting program, the first German B-corp, and second by giving people access to my developed sustainability indicator framework, which might help them with identification, measuring and evaluation, thus increasing their social and environmental performance", says a happy Lara Obst.


For more information about Philippe de Woot Award: 

Prof. dr. Luc Van Liedekerke:  +32 476 788 674– 

Press contact

Anja Tys, Corporate Marketing Communication Manager, Antwerp Management School , Tel: +323 265 47 33 or +32 486 494 387

About Antwerp Management School

Antwerp Management School is an autonomous future-oriented international business school. The uniqueness of Antwerp Management School is reflected in our dedication to organize programs that create lasting value for, and by, the manager, based on three pillars: Self-knowledge and self-awareness leading to collaboration; Globalization: the manager as world citizen, the way to visionary leadership; and social awareness leading to sustainability.

About BASF Deloitte Elia Chair on Sustainability

Belgium boasts a number of well-developed networks on sustainable business like The Shift and UNGlobal Compact Belgium. In addition, there are also numerous research centers on sustainability. The networks, however, hardly do any research and the research centers focus mainly on environmental issues or issues concerning sustainable development with, unfortunately, little to no regard for the business perspective on the matter.

This created a clear need for a center of expertise on sustainable business. In response, BASF, Deloitte, Elia, the University of Antwerp and Antwerp Management School founded the BASF Deloitte Elia Chair on Sustainability in 2012, electing Prof. Luc Van Liedekerke as Chairholder.

The Chair’s activities:

  • Fundamental and applied research on corporate sustainability. This research is performed in collaboration with other academic partners and in collaboration with (sector) organizations and companies.
  • Formation (curricula development, study materials, education) of students and entrepreneurs in the field of sustainable enterprise. These training initiatives are constantly on the lookout for corporate input.
  • Improving social awareness on sustainable business through media testimonials, business and academic meetings as well as the organization of its own sustainability events.
  • Expand and strengthen collaborative ties with other organizations in the CSR landscape. Assume the role of catalyst.