Third edition of the ChangeNOW - Les Echos START ranking ranking of the schools most committed to the ecological and social transition.

ChangeNOW and Les Echos START, in partnership with Deloitte France, have unveiled the third edition of their ranking of the schools most committed to the ecological and social transition.

Alongside the ranking of schools, a barometer open to universities and higher education establishments has been set up to help them measure their state of ecological and social transition.

A new academic excellence

In a context marked by multiple crises and increasing uncertainty, with historical statistical models now outdated, there is a pressing need to prepare future professionals to adapt, innovate and meet the challenges they face. It is against this backdrop that ChangeNOW and Les Echos Start thought up and renewed the ranking for a third edition, positioning it as a benchmark for students looking for clearer information and as a guide for institutions.

"With this unique ranking, we want to make visible a new academic excellence, in a context of ecological urgency. The aim of this tool is to restore young people's confidence, guide them in an uncertain world and give them the keys to transform it,"

Santiago Lefebvre, President and founder of ChangeNOW


For this 2023 edition, the ranking brought together a total of 61 higher education establishments, including 26 business schools and 35 engineering schools. The assessments cover all areas of training, and are not confined to courses specialising in sustainable development.

"When it comes to the ecological and social transition, measurement and monitoring are key to enabling the younger generation to make an active contribution to meeting the greatest challenge of our time. That's why the Echos START editorial team is proud to highlight this ranking of schools produced with ChangeNOW, which after three editions is proving to be a powerful tool for informing students and transforming higher education establishments"

Julia Lemarchand, editor-in-chief of Echos START.

Based on a questionnaire sent to schools and universities, the 61 respondents were independently audited on six families of criteria by Deloitte France’s Sustainability teams.

  1. The integration of impact issues into the programme.
  2. The strength of the Alumni network in the impact sector.
  3. Governance training and the institution’s CSR strategy.
  4. Diversity and equal opportunities.
  5. Involvement of student associations in impact issues.
  6. Employability and academic excellence.


The ranking methodology (available on request prior to release) has been optimised in consultation with student organisations such as the Pour un Réveil Ecologique collective, to ensure that the criteria are more concrete, verifiable and meaningful. The new factors taken into account include:

  • The existence of a skills reference framework integrating the ecological and social transition.
  • The use of indicators to assess former students who enter high-impact professions.
  • Carrying out a carbon audit, assessing the extent of its scope.
  • Training teachers and administrative staff in the challenges of ecological transition.

"Deloitte is delighted to support this ranking of schools for the third year running. Every day, we measure the growing importance of these issues, both for our clients and for our employees, and we are delighted to see more and more schools joining this ranking." 

Catherine Saire, Sustainability Partner, Deloitte


The podium by category was as follows:

  • Business schools: 1st – ESSEC Business School; 2nd – ESCP Business School; 3rd – IESEG
    The 2023 ranking of business schools has a few surprises in store. ESSEC Business School remains in first place for the second year running. However, ESCP Business School has made a strong comeback, moving into second place, followed by IESEG in third. The top ten places reflect strong competition, with significant movement among the schools.

  • Engineering schools: 1st – Centrale Nantes; 2nd – Ecole Centrale de Lyon; 3rd – MINES NANCY
    The rankings for engineering schools show some notable changes. Centrale Nantes moves into first place, closely followed by Ecole Centrale de Lyon and MINES NANCY. Several schools have also entered the top 10, illustrating the evolution of the sector.

The transition is everyone's business: ChangeNOW and Les Echos START are launching a pilot barometer for all universities and higher education establishments to measure their state of ecological and social transition.

Like a nutri-score for higher education, the barometer is designed to enable all schools outside the ranking category to measure their level of ecological and social transition. Four schools took part. They include Institut Supérieur de l’Environnement, BESIGN The Sustainable Design School, Université Paris Dauphine and Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3.

The average score for the barometer is 55/100, reflecting a momentum towards transformation in higher education institutions that needs to be consolidated.