The Philippe de Woot Award Ceremony 2014


© picture by ULB

The third edition of the Philippe de Woot Inter-University Award took place on February 18, 2014, at the Solvay Brussels School.

The award, which rewards Master theses linked to the field of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), went to Sylvia Feilhauer, from the Erasmus University of Rotterdam (The Netherlands). Her Master thesis on “The product carbon footprint: Advantages of the supply chain and Conditions necessary for sharing information”, was unanimously selected by the international jury, meeting the criteria of the double filter of the academic jury for the first selection, and then the stakeholders jury , made up civil society and company leaders.

Sylvia Feilhauer, 27, currently Senior Business Analyst with A.T. Kearney in Zurich, was chosen among 25 other candidates- including students who received their Master degree from the CEMS international network of management schools. For the first time in the history of the Inter-University Philippe de Woot Award, the Master theses submitted originated from every continent. The theses were evaluated according to criteria such as originality, quality of research, scientific rigour and significance at a practical level. The academic jury first selected a short list of four Master theses. These Master theses were then presented by the candidates to the stakeholders jury , which selected the best work produced.

She was awarded a prize to the value of the equivalent of €3,000, €1,500 of which will go to an environmental or social project. She has selected to contribute to the construction of a school project in India.

The guest of honour for this ceremony was Bertrand Piccard, chairman and founder of the Solar Impulse project. He was accompanied by other Belgian notables and key foreign figures, including: Philippe de Woot, writer and professor emeritus of the Université catholique de Louvain; Bruno Van Pottelsberghe, Chairman of the Solvay Brussels School; and a large number of managers of SMEs and multinational companies.

Keynote speakers

About Bertrand Piccard (on the right picture)

Bertrand Piccard, born in 1958 in Lausanne, is a Swiss psychiatrist and aeronaut, who successfully completed the first round-the-world balloon flight (March 1 to 21, 1999) in the Breitling Orbiter 3 balloon. He is the son of the oceanographer Jacques Piccard and the grandson of the physicist Auguste Piccard. In 2003, Bertrand Piccard joined forces with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne and the pilot André Borschberg to develop a solar airplane project. In 2004, his project of circumnavigation in a solar glider: Solar Impulse, becomes reality. Solar Impulse successfully completed its first international flight, from Payerne (Switzerland) to Brussels, 630 kilometers, in 13 hours of flight, at an average speed of 50 km/h and at an altitude of about 6,000 feet on May 13, 2011. Bertrand Piccard is doctor honoris causa 2008 (Catholic University of Louvain).

© picture by ULB


© picture by ULB

Philippe de Woot (on the left picture), professor emeritus at UCLouvain, comments:

« The laureate’s dissertation must make an original contribution in the field of responsible business. The great interest of an inter-university approach is to encourage business schools in Belgium and elsewhere to cooperate on these themes, to develop research and training of students in societal responsibilities as well as dialogue with the business world. The underlying vision of the Prize is that economic and social actors can mobilize a great capacity for innovation and entrepreneurial dynamism to better orient our global economic model towards a more sustainable development. This implies a transformation of the corporate culture itself, well beyond the adoption of simple « good practices »...

Organization and nominees

Applications have been examined in two steps:

First by the academic jury
  • Annick CASTIAUX – Université de Namur, Belgium
  • Nathalie CRUTZEN – HEC-Liège, Belgium
  • Brigitte HUDLOT – ICHEC, Belgium
  • Kevin JACKSON – SBS-EM, ULB, Belgium
  • Luc VAN LIEDEKERKE – Antwerp Management School, Belgium
  • Rudy MARTENS – Antwerp Management School, Belgium
  • Katerina NICOLOPOULOU – Strathclyde Business School, Scotland
  • Eleanor O’HIGGINS – University College Dublin, Ireland
  • Valérie SWAEN – Louvain School of Management, Belgium
  • Laszlo ZSOLNAI – Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary
Second by a the stakeholder jury
  • Sarah DEKKICH – CSR Europe
  • Sabine DENIS – Business & Society Belgium
  • German GRANDA – Foretica
  • Michel GENET – Greenpeace
  • Laura GUTIERREZ – World Savings & Retail Banking Institute
  • Christophe KONINCKX – CSR Expert & Communication
  • Jean-Luc DE WILDE – Mobility Expert & Social Entrepreneur
  • Jan NOTERDAEME – TEC & CSR Europe
  • François TASMOWSKI – Mc Cain Foods
  • Ann VANDENHENDE – Spadel
  • Roger VERCAMMEN – Former CSR Manager Sony
  • Volodymyr VOROBEY – CSR Ukraine Community
  • Gefei YIN – WTO China

To view the program of the 2014 Philippe de Woot award ceremony

Among the 25 submitted master’s thesis, the academic jury selected the 4 following dissertations:

Project 1

© picture by ULB

Product Carbon Footprinting: Supply Chain Benefits and Necessary Conditions for Information Sharing

Sylvia FEILHAUER (Erasmus University of Rotterdam – The Netherlands)

The newly emerged concept of product carbon footprinting requires a company to audit its supply chainin order to determine and possibly reduce itscarbon footprint. Yet, gatheringrelevantdata can be a costly and time consuming task and companies often face resistance from supply chain partners that do not share the required information. This study demonstrates that product carbon audits are a means to create value in supply chainsand formulates concrete guidelines on how companies can facilitate information sharing in thissetting.

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Project 2

© picture by ULB

An analysis of 3 credibility factors of green advertising and their cultural variations

Céline SAMBON  (Louvain School of Management, UCLouvain – Belgium)

This master thesis  focuses  on  the  difficulties  faced  by  companies  to  communicate their  CSR  activities. More specially, it investigates  which  advertising elements positively influence the credibility of green advertising regarding consumer’s culture . The results confirm that companies  can  evaluate  the  effectiveness  of  their green communication  through  attitudes  and  purchasing  intentions. They also show that formulating objectives to be reached allows the company to achieve a stronger credibility in a long-term oriented country. For instance, showing  balanced information (i.e. its  also weaknesses  or  mistakes ) might  be  beneficial  when  the  company  combines  this type  of  speech  with  quantitative  and  progressive  objectives. Moreover, as it seems that culture matters, multinationals should not be satisfied  with a  unique  multi-country  communication.

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Project 3

© picture by ULB

How can pharmaceutical companies and institutions increase access to essential medicines in low-income countries with a global response?

Robin DIERCKX(Louvain School of Management, UCLouvain – Belgium)

This paper aims to give a complete overview of the access to medicines (ATM) landscape, and aims to give tools to companies, institutions and policy-makers to further improve ATM in low-income countries.  More especially, this  paper  presents practices  in two  leading  companies  actively  using  tiered  pricing  schemes  (Janssen  and  GSK). The analysis  strongly suggests  that manufacturers can overcome  the  typical  problems  associated  to DP  and  tap  its  potential  in terms  of  growth  opportunities.  However,  doing  so  requires  (1)  an  initial  investment,  (2)managerial willingness  to  overcome  the  associated  problems,  and(3)  the  development  of  expertise  on  low-income countries.  In a second time, this paper shows that acting to lower the prices is also a valid strategy to overcome ATM issues. This can be done with the help from policy makers by designing  policies with  two  types  of  objectives:  (1) increasing the positive impact of generics by augmenting their market share; or (2) increasing the positive impact of originators by stimulating differential pricing, which was further investigated in this paper.

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Project 4

Corporate responses to climate change and financial performance: the impact of environmental strategy and innovation

Alessandro CAMPO ( Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi – Italy)

This paper analyses the relationship between  firm’s  environmental  performance  and  market  value. More especially it  investigates  the  relationships  between  carbon  intensity  and  financial  performance, with  a  specific  focus  on  the  role  of  strategy  and  innovation on a sample of companies operating across 28 countries and 10 sectors. Results show that investors  and  financial  markets  are  still  cautious  about  considering corporate responses to climate change as positive signals for their financial valuations. Moreover,  firms engaging in more structured and comprehensive environmental strategies do not translate their efforts into an effective reduction of carbon emissions. Paybacks of climate change related strategy typically produce their effects  over  the  years  and  may  not  manifest  themselves  in  the  5-year  time  horizon  considered  in  this study. On the other hand, innovations  are  tangibly  transferred  to  carbon  emitting  processes,  and  they constitute a key driver for environmental performance. It also appears that companies  that  are  more  exposed  to carbon  risks  are  more  likely  to  implement  strategies  to  control  and  lower  greenhouse  gas  emissions and engage in efficiency related measures which are not necessarily linked with green innovation.

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A few memories of the event

(c) pictures by ULB

2014 Partners

Academic partners

Corporate partners & contributors

Are you interested in the Philippe de Woot Award?

The next edition will be organized on February/March 2024

Any graduate student from a university or business school with a Master’s degree whose dissertation deals
with CSR or sustainable development defended during the academic years 2021-2022 & 2022-2023 can apply for this award.