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embaX: when impact goes business

How might we close the gap between "business" and "impact", which are traditionally perceived as opposing paradigms of thinking, priorities and action? The answer is surprisingly simple: By bringing together business executives and NGOs and sending them off to solve a challenge of interest to both. Soil health being an excellent case in this respect, Terrabiom was excited to be invited to the inaugural Social Impact Program (SIP) by the newly established embaX - Europe's new, most relevant executive MBA.


 

When pioneers join forces: For Q1-2 2022, we were invited to provide a case study from our integrated regeneration work for the inaugural Social Impact Programme (SIP) of the newly launched embaX - Europe’s most relevant executive MBA. Committed to develop socially responsibly leaders this joint programme between ETH Zürich and University of St. Gallen aims to enable their participants to reconcile societal and business objectives. In a bold first-of-its-kind move, the inaugural SIP brought together the traditionally distant worlds of NGOs and business to work on an impact challenge from the first day of classes.


NGOs with an systemic, ecological mission tend to be underrepresented in this program. We're very happy that Terrabiom accepted our invitation to join the inaugural SIP in 2022. Emily Elsner (Adams), program manager, embaX SIP

Building bridges between unlikely allies is at the core of our work to regenerate soils, communities and ecosystems, so it was no question we would join in. Over 5 intense months, we found ourselves working on our business case for soil health with a motivated group of executive leaders. Our joint backgrounds ranged across diverse fields including ecology, social sciences, data & analytics, sustainable finance, the construction industry, FnB, Life Sciences, and business development.



Beyond the initial objective of elaborating our business case, we embraced a structured process which allowed for emergence. We particularly appreciated the establishment of trust & a common understanding in this diverse group, the curiosity for challenges & methodologies beyond our respective bubbles and comfort zones from everyone involved, and the dedication which was kept high by all throughout the program.


Just because the journey is long and difficult doesn’t mean that we should delay the start - on the contrary. Before starting to work with Terrabiom, I never lost one thought about soils. Now I know that soils are the base for our food, our health, our lives. It’s time to start caring for them, today. Awa, CEO, re:connected with soil

The continuous constructive challenging by our team of business executives brought learnings and insights for everyone involved. By the end of the SIP, we had jointly identified a whole new workstream and impact opportunity of translating ecological literacy to executive leaders.

Following the conclusion of the program with a closing presentation of our team in summer 2022, we judge this experience as a great opportunity for our young organisation and can highly recommend it to other NGOs looking to strengthen their entrepreneurial strategies. We're looking forward to apply our newly acquired business expertise and relationships to bring soil health and regeneration to Switzerland and beyond.



Thank you

  • A heartfelt thank you to our Tree2Forest dream team: Awa F. Diagne, Ramon Schalch, Marc Brülhart, and Cyprian Bumann. It was a pleasure to work with you, and we’re still excited about the TerraPalmTree you’ve gifted us 🌴

  • We’re also grateful to the visionaries who designed and made possible this much-needed Social Impact Program (SIP), Emily Elsner (Adams) and Stefan Brusoni from ETH D-MTEC

 

Programmes which allow to break out of established silos like this one are an important part of our mission to reconnect humans with the value of nature, starting from the #soil up. Curious how this might fit into your world? Please reach out to explore how Terrabiom could support you in putting soil health on your organization and people’s radar. We love to get creative.

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