In March 2021 Montpellier Business School (MBS) launched the “Communication and Organizing for Sustainability Transformations” (COAST) Chair held by Dr. Helen Etchanchu and Dr. Domenico Dentoni. The COAST Chair explores the various drivers of societal change and transition mechanisms to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). It combines two fundamental and inseparable pillars to achieve sustainable transformation: “Communication” explores belief and meaning systems, and “Organizing” explores socio-economic practices and structures that can hinder or promote sustainable transformation.
The Chair stands out by its transdisciplinary approach which brings together hard science expertise to assess the challenges and objectives, and social science expertise to promote sustainable transformation and stakeholder buy-in. COAST makes a point of leading by example and is committed to changing its own practices in research, teaching and consulting in order to “practice what it preaches”. It is supported by and works closely with key actors in the field such as the “Fresque du Climat” association, the “Campus de la Transition” institute, and the “Impact(s)” media. In the weeks following its creation the COAST Chair organized the SDG Challenge which trained over 600 students from MBS’ Bachelor and Master programmes to the challenges of economic, ecological and societal transition and led them to conceive and present their solutions to problems faced by the “Occitanie” region they live in.