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CK-Schulich Business for a Better World Case Competition

CK-Schulich Business for a Better World Case Competition

Update: Registration is how closed. Thank you to the many teams who submitted.

Presented by:

the company for clean capitalism


Schulich Scool of Business
at York University in Toronto

At a glance:




The Business for a Better World Case Competition is a partnership between Corporate Knights, the company for clean capitalism, and the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto.

This international MBA competition has a prize pool of more than $15,000 and the final three teams get a chance to present their case analysis in front of a live panel of high-profile judges at the prestigious World Economic Forum, an annual event held in Davos, Switzerland, every January.

This competition requires student teams to apply 12 of the most widely disclosed and tracked sustainability indicators to a specific case, making the contest unique among the world’s responsible business competitions. Teams will be challenged to identify priority social, environmental and governance metrics for the case company and improve its performance (relative to industry peers) on the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World, an annual benchmark ranking that has been produced by Corporate Knights since 2005.

The objective is to get students familiar with commonly accepted and emerging sustainability indicators and to build a case for what steps a company can take to become an ESG outperformer in its sector and top-ranked among peers.


Timeline and Process:


October 1 – Contest opens. Registered teams are encouraged to download CK Ranker Pro from the App Store (see; $9.99 download fee). It is a mobile tool for iPads and iPhones that students can use to learn more about the 12 sustainability KPIs and the Global 100 ranking. Teams can also use the app to run test scenarios of the case company – i.e. to find out how improvements in indicator performance can affect the case’s overall and industry-specific rankings.


October 16 – Details of case are released, officially launching Round 1 of the competition. Teams will be asked to 1) identify the sustainability KPIs that are most important to the particular case company and explain why; and 2) create a high-level proposal showing how the case company can move to the top of its industry, including explanation of how performance can be improved with KPIs identified as most important.


November 8 (5 p.m. EST) – Round 1 submissions are due. (See Format section below). Of teams that participated in Round 1, five will be selected to advance to Round 2.


November 15 – Five teams advancing to Round 2 are notified. These teams will be given 17 days to prepare a more detailed business plan, building off their Round 1 submission.


December 2 (5 p.m. EST) – Deadline to submit detailed business plan from Round 2. (See Format section below).


December 6 (by 5 p.m. EST) – Three teams from Round 2 are notified that they have advanced to present their business plan in front of a panel of judges at the World Economic Forum in Davos in late January.


Late January: Presentation Day in Davos. Each team’s presentation can be no longer than 10 minutes in length and will be followed by a brief Q&A session with judges. The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place teams will be announced the same day, along with prizes.


Note: Winning team will be featured in the spring issue of Corporate Knights magazine.



The methodology employed to establish the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations consists of assessing the sustainability performance of companies based on up to 12 core indicators categorized as follows:

Category KPI Methodology
Resource management Energy Productivity Revenue / energy use + 2 year trailing improvement
Carbon Productivity Carbon Productivity Revenue / GHG emissions + 2 year trailing improvement
Water Productivity Revenue / water use + 2 year trailing improvement
Waste Productivity Revenue / waste produced + 2 year trailing improvement
Financial management Innovation Capacity R&D expenses / revenue (trailing 3-years)
Percentage Tax Paid Cash taxes / EBITDA (trailing 5-years)
CEO-Average Employee Pay CEO compensation / average employee compensation
Pension Fund Status
  • Unfunded liabilities / market capitalization
  • Expenses towards defined contribution plans
Employee management Safety Performance
  • Number of fatalities / number of employees
  • Lost time incident rate
Employee Turnover Number of departures / average total employees
Leadership Diversity Female representation:
  • on the board of directors
  • in executive management
Clean Capitalism Pay Link Mechanisms that link senior executive pay to clean capitalism targets

A company will be assessed on all or a subset of these 12 indicators, depending on the industry in which that company is classified. The indicators that are applicable to a specific industry are called “priority indicators”.


All candidates are invited to review the Methodology in detail by connecting to the website of the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations -








  • Teams must consist of a minimum of three students and maximum of four students.
  • The majority of members of any team must be an MBA student, either part-time or full-time, at the educational institution represented.



  • An internal committee assembled and led by the research staff at Corporate Knights Capital will oversee Round 1 judging. Five teams will be selected to proceed to Round 2 from all submissions received in Round 1. Note that the names of team members and the schools represented will be removed from submissions to eliminate potential conflict of interest among judges.
  • The same internal committee, in consultation with outside experts (including at least one representative from Schulich Business School faculty and one representative from each contest sponsor), will review detailed business plans of the five teams that advanced to Round 2. Again, the names of team members and the schools represented will be removed from the submissions to eliminate potential conflict of interest among judges. Three teams will be selected to advance to the Final Round to take place in late January.
  • Final Round judging of the remaining three teams will take place at an event at the end of January at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Members of the judging panel include top business leaders attending attending the WEF, including McKinsey Managing Director Dominic Barton. After their respective presentations, teams will be asked questions by the judges.



  • The three teams that advance to the final round will be granted food and accommodations in Davos, Switzerland, during their stay (dates to come). Students/schools that advance to this round are expected to cover their own flight costs.
  • Prize for Winning Team: $10,000 (Cdn.)
  • Prize for 2nd Place Team: $4,000 (Cdn.)
  • Prize for 3rd Place team: $2,000 (Cdn.)



Any submissions that do not follow the below formats will be penalized but still considered.


First Round


  • Submissions must arrive as a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation of no more than 10 slides. The presentation can include a combination of supporting text, charts and images, but this must be included as part of 10-slide limit. (E-mail to by 5 p.m. EST on November 8)

Second Round


  • The five teams that make it to this round must submit a detailed written business plan that is no more than 25 pages in length, using 12-point font and double-line spacing. All charts, tables, and graphs must be included in this length.

Final Round


  • The three teams that make it to the final live round in Davos, Switzerland, will be required to do a presentation of up to 10-minutes in length followed by up to 5 minutes of Q&A with judges. Teams can use a PowerPoint slide show to assist with presentations.

Pledge of Non-Bias: Every effort will be made to avoid bias during the judging process, including stripping away the names of both students and schools from Round 1 and Round 2 submissions and the Final Round presentations. At no time will representatives or staff from the Schulich School of Business be in a position to influence the outcome of judging.


Note to Participants: Individual team members anticipating a trip to Davos should plan in advance to have a valid passport and, if necessary, an appropriate travel visa.


Register now via Paypal:

IMPORTANT: Once you have made a payment, you will receive a follow-up email less than 24 hours later asking you for more information, including team members, MBA program represented, and other contact information.