Luisa Ana Langer and Moritz Fleischmann at the ENGAGE.EU Think Tank in Bergen

Around 30 researchers from all nine ENGAGE.EU partner universities came together at the third Think Tank at the NHH in Bergen. The topic of “sustainable value creation” offered numerous opportunities for interdisciplinary exchange and new research collaborations. Both Langer and Fleischmann, two of the four participants from the University of Mannheim, shared their experiences during the Think Tank.

Interdisciplinary dialog such as that fostered by the Think Tank is indispensable, especially in the field of sustainability management. Moritz Fleischmann works in the field of sustainable supply chains. He says that the supply chain plays a central role in approaches to sustainable management in order to reduce emissions in transport and production processes. “The exchange with the other researchers from different disciplines and their different perspectives gave me a variety of perspectives on my own research,” says Fleischmann. The unbiased dialog across disciplines was the greatest benefit for him.

“We are currently seeing a rather fragmented approach in both research and practice, with each discipline pursuing its own path,” explains Fleischmann. However, an overall view is essential, especially in the area of sustainability: “It's about the entirety of the processes. Adjusting just one aspect won't get us anywhere. Ultimately, it's the whole that counts.” Formats such as the Think Tank are an ideal forum for gaining a holistic view through the different perspectives of the participants.

Luisa Ana Langer also emphasized the discursive aspect of the Think Tank. In her studies, she examines how companies approach climate and sustainability related disclosures in the financial statements and to examine the impact of the disclosed information on financial reporting quality. “Specifically, the aim is to measure whether companies adjust the value of their long-term assets considering the impact of climate change and other risks on their operations and future cashflows”, explains Langer.

The Think Tank had a thematic focus on sustainability reporting. “This gave me the opportunity to connect with other outstanding researchers from the ENGAGE.EU community and discuss possible avenues for future research collaboration.” She found it particularly helpful to be able to share her research ideas with others and receive feedback from the other researchers, which provided her with valuable inspiration for her future work.

Both participants also pointed out that the Think Tank created an inspiring atmosphere in which intensive exchange could take place, resulting in opportunities for future research collaborations. Furthermore, they praised the organization and commitment of the NHH team. The varied program, the speakers and the supporting program including a city tour were particularly highlighted.