Europe has only 13 years left to meet the sustainable development goals (SDGs) set for 2030. How can the European Commission meet this deadline to eradicate poverty, hunger, and achieve sustainable development? ESADE has just been appointed as the only business school in the newly created high-level multi-stakeholder platform that will provide strategic advice to the European Commission (EC) on its commitment to 2030. Members of this advisory platform include top executives from European firms such as Unilever and Enel, NGOs such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Transparency International, and BirdLife, as well as other organizations and key stakeholders in sustainable development. ESADE's Eva Jané Llopis, Director of Health, SDGs, and Social Innovation Program and former Director of Health Programs at the World Economic Forum, talks about ESADE's involvement in this platform and the challenges for Europe to achieve sustainable development by 2030. ESADE Knowledge: What is the ultimate goal of this EC platform? Eva Jané: The European Commission launched this high-level platform to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the EU. The agenda is ambitious, 17 global SDG goals plus 169 additional targets, including challenging ones such as eradicating extreme poverty, or ending hunger, and major epidemics such as AIDS. Who wouldn't want to contribute to this? We can only achieve these goals by 2030 by adopting a long-term perspective. In this platform, the EC has asked us to advise them on what can be done to support the implementation and advancement of the 2030 Agenda in Europe. We already have a lot of evidence on what can be done to meet these goals, so now we must find ways to scale up this evidence and ensure that policies and actions will reach all Europeans. For instance, if a solution for a specific SDG works in a given city or context, we must understand how and why it works so that we can find ways to replicate that success in other European countries. EK: Why has the European Commission included a business school in its advisory group? EJ: To meet the 17 SDGs, the European Commission recognizes the need for the private and public sectors and civil society to work together. ESADE is an academic institution, yet it is positioned at the intersection between academia, business and society. A business school plays a key role in bringing evidence of what works, but also in raising awareness among new generations of business leaders as to how to change business models to build a better world. To effectively implement the SDG agenda, we need to adopt a long-term approach and embed the principles of the agenda in research and education. We are thrilled to be able to contribute to this remit with our expertise, social commitment and research tradition. EK: How will ESADE contribute to this platform? EJ: One of our roles as a business school is to generate new evidence, incorporating our understanding of the scaling-up process and developing tools for measuring and monitoring progress. For example, the observatory to monitor private-sector practice in relation to the SDGs provides excellent indicators and a sound methodology that could be transferred for use elsewhere. At ESADE, we walk the talk. Our social responsibility master plan, for example, has reduced the amount of paper we use by half, and our Executive Education programmes present business leaders with examples of leadership for sustainability. Our school's comprehensive approach to CSR might serve as an inspiration to others. Our research units are also committed to raising awareness and building capacity through social debates - such as the Institute for Social Innovation's Annual Conference, which this year focuses on scaling up social innovation for SDGs. Secondly, as a business school, we are developing the leaders of the future. We are uniquely positioned to shape the agenda, provide a platform for new ideas, and stimulate creative thinking towards these value-driven mindset shifts. Some of these shifts have started to happen at executive levels in public and private sectors. For example, through our Executive Education programs, we present business leaders with examples of leadership for sustainability, support a broader perspective on what business opportunities SDGs can generate, and which business model innovations can become win-wins while achieving goals that improve the world. A third area where ESADE can contribute is in the public-private interface. The EC recognizes that all players are crucial for achieving the SDGs. ESADE is spearheading research into public-private interaction (highlighting the win-wins in developing joint collaborations), as well as examining the facilitating factors and bottlenecks in multi-stakeholder work. We are providing the tools for everyone to thrive in a more collaborative future. Much of this relates to SDG 17 - resourcing and partnering - which is important as it will facilitate many other SDGs. We are starting in this area, but more research efforts are needed to change the game. EK: What are the major challenges when it comes to achieving the 2030 Agenda? EJ: Given the ambitiousness of this agenda, there are many challenges. For example, our understanding of replicability and scaling is still limited, and there is an urgent need to reach populations across the board. Another major challenge is financing. When the SDGs were launched, the 193 countries that welcomed and adopted this challenge did so in spite of not having extra resources to implement the changes. Therefore, in order to achieve these goals by 2030, it is essential to identify new financing models, define the contributory role of various stakeholders in the public and private sectors and society at large, and decide how to leverage their core competencies. This brings us to Goal 17, strengthening the means of implementation and revitalising global partnerships. This is a difficult area because stakeholders are suspicious about the true interests of each player, especially in the private sector. SDG 17 establishes a common ground where everybody jointly finds solutions and shared interests. Each player has a crucial role, and working together results in more than the sum of the parts. Transparent and purposeful collaborations create the necessary trust for the public sector, private sector and civil society to work together and support the mobilisation of new resources. This will be key to helping future generations make a better world. Despite these big challenges, we can achieve great social impact if we work together. We are delighted to contribute our little bit, as the world is clearly in the SDGs for the long haul.

ESADE

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ESADE joins EC advisory platform to help Europe meet sustainable development goals

11/2017

Europe has only 13 years left to meet the sustainable development goals (SDGs) set for 2030. How can the European Commission meet this deadline to eradicate poverty, hunger, and achieve sustainable development?


ESADE has just been appointed as the only business school in the newly created high-level multi-stakeholder platform that will provide strategic advice to the European Commission (EC) on its commitment to 2030. Members of this advisory platform include top executives from European firms such as Unilever and Enel, NGOs such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Transparency International, and BirdLife, as well as other organizations and key stakeholders in sustainable development.


ESADE's Eva Jané Llopis, Director of Health, SDGs, and Social Innovation Program and former Director of Health Programs at the World Economic Forum, talks about ESADE's involvement in this platform and the challenges for Europe to achieve sustainable development by 2030.


ESADE Knowledge: What is the ultimate goal of this EC platform?


Eva Jané: The European Commission launched this high-level platform to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the EU. The agenda is ambitious, 17 global SDG goals plus 169 additional targets, including challenging ones such as eradicating extreme poverty, or ending hunger, and major epidemics such as AIDS. Who wouldn't want to contribute to this? We can only achieve these goals by 2030 by adopting a long-term perspective. In this platform, the EC has asked us to advise them on what can be done to support the implementation and advancement of the 2030 Agenda in Europe. We already have a lot of evidence on what can be done to meet these goals, so now we must find ways to scale up this evidence and ensure that policies and actions will reach all Europeans. For instance, if a solution for a specific SDG works in a given city or context, we must understand how and why it works so that we can find ways to replicate that success in other European countries.



EK: Why has the European Commission included a business school in its advisory group?


EJ: To meet the 17 SDGs, the European Commission recognizes the need for the private and public sectors and civil society to work together. ESADE is an academic institution, yet it is positioned at the intersection between academia, business and society.


A business school plays a key role in bringing evidence of what works, but also in raising awareness among new generations of business leaders as to how to change business models to build a better world. To effectively implement the SDG agenda, we need to adopt a long-term approach and embed the principles of the agenda in research and education. We are thrilled to be able to contribute to this remit with our expertise, social commitment and research tradition.


EK: How will ESADE contribute to this platform?


EJ: One of our roles as a business school is to generate new evidence, incorporating our understanding of the scaling-up process and developing tools for measuring and monitoring progress. For example, the observatory to monitor private-sector practice in relation to the SDGs provides excellent indicators and a sound methodology that could be transferred for use elsewhere. At ESADE, we walk the talk. Our social responsibility master plan, for example, has reduced the amount of paper we use by half, and our Executive Education programmes present business leaders with examples of leadership for sustainability. Our school's comprehensive approach to CSR might serve as an inspiration to others. Our research units are also committed to raising awareness and building capacity through social debates - such as the Institute for Social Innovation's Annual Conference, which this year focuses on scaling up social innovation for SDGs.


Secondly, as a business school, we are developing the leaders of the future. We are uniquely positioned to shape the agenda, provide a platform for new ideas, and stimulate creative thinking towards these value-driven mindset shifts. Some of these shifts have started to happen at executive levels in public and private sectors. For example, through our Executive Education programs, we present business leaders with examples of leadership for sustainability, support a broader perspective on what business opportunities SDGs can generate, and which business model innovations can become win-wins while achieving goals that improve the world.


A third area where ESADE can contribute is in the public-private interface. The EC recognizes that all players are crucial for achieving the SDGs. ESADE is spearheading research into public-private interaction (highlighting the win-wins in developing joint collaborations), as well as examining the facilitating factors and bottlenecks in multi-stakeholder work. We are providing the tools for everyone to thrive in a more collaborative future. Much of this relates to SDG 17 - resourcing and partnering - which is important as it will facilitate many other SDGs. We are starting in this area, but more research efforts are needed to change the game.


EK: What are the major challenges when it comes to achieving the 2030 Agenda?


EJ:
Given the ambitiousness of this agenda, there are many challenges. For example, our understanding of replicability and scaling is still limited, and there is an urgent need to reach populations across the board. Another major challenge is financing. When the SDGs were launched, the 193 countries that welcomed and adopted this challenge did so in spite of not having extra resources to implement the changes. Therefore, in order to achieve these goals by 2030, it is essential to identify new financing models, define the contributory role of various stakeholders in the public and private sectors and society at large, and decide how to leverage their core competencies. This brings us to Goal 17, strengthening the means of implementation and revitalising global partnerships. This is a difficult area because stakeholders are suspicious about the true interests of each player, especially in the private sector. SDG 17 establishes a common ground where everybody jointly finds solutions and shared interests. Each player has a crucial role, and working together results in more than the sum of the parts. Transparent and purposeful collaborations create the necessary trust for the public sector, private sector and civil society to work together and support the mobilisation of new resources. This will be key to helping future generations make a better world.


Despite these big challenges, we can achieve great social impact if we work together. We are delighted to contribute our little bit, as the world is clearly in the SDGs for the long haul.

Back to home