Driving Global Goals Online with SDG Week 2020

Published by Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society on 18 Nov 2020

The Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society continued driving conversations and highlighting efforts to promote the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2020, with its second (but first virtual!) SDG Week. All sessions are now available for viewing.

After the inaugural event in 2019, SDG Week was brought back in 2020 to continue the conversation around the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Co-organised by the Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society, and INSEAD Student Clubs, and in partnership with Accenture Strategy, SDG Week 2020 connected experts and leaders with the INSEAD community over a three-day virtual event, which saw a record 2,500 registrants from 70 countries.

The event kicked off with Dean Ilian Mihov's opening address, as he highlighted how such discussions equip INSEAD students, “to bring sustainability at the heart of their organisations." This was followed by an insightful session with Global Steering Group for Impact Investment’s Chairman Sir Ronald Cohen, HGIBS Executive Director Katell Le Goulven and President of INSEAD’s INDEVOR club Aubrey Keller (20D), as they discussed impact investment based on Cohen’s newly released book: Impact. Sharing his early observations on inequality, and other challenges captured in the SDGs, he mentioned, "We couldn't look to companies or governments to tackle this, unless we brought investment into the picture."

INSEAD then launched its first student Impact Investing Club, in partnership with Loyal VC’s Kamal Hassan, and INSEAD MBA 20D co-founders Chris Holcroft, Borja Menéndez Lozano and Charles Cochin de Billy to empower students with first-hand experience of VC investing.

The second day witnessed a thought-provoking session on diversity, inclusion and how best to address, incorporate and support such conversations and initiatives at the workplace. "The conversation has to come from the perspective of the people who experience what the challenges are," Morgan Stanley’s Managing Director, Lucy Quist reminded us alongside an impressive panel of Marlon Bowman (FNB South Africa’s Head of Customer Experience), Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz (Mirvac’s CEO & Managing Director), Felicia Henderson (Henderson Advising’s Founder), and INSEAD Professor Zoe Kinias.

Discussing how to navigate careers in sustainability and climate action with INSEAD Professor Lucie Tepla, Senior Specialist at SDGs Principles for Responsible Investment, Kaori Shigiya, highlighted that, “SDGs have changed the perspective of how we view investments. If investors want to contribute to SDGs they need to know the outcomes they will have on the real world.” For students keen on careers in sustainability, Shigiya and Accenture Strategy’s Senior Managing Director, Bruno Berthon recommended joining international organisations or volunteering to gather required experience.

The third and last day of SDG Week began with the school’s home-grown Shine On Initiative with INSEAD’s Assistant Director, Fergus Kennedy, and MBA students Daniel Layug (17D), Lucien Ong (17D), Shruti Tandon (19J) and Marjorie Dodson (20D). Students, alumni and staff supported a school in rural Philippines through solar energy and scholarships for children living in poverty in its initial efforts in 2019, and are looking to continue engaging the INSEAD community to create social impact in Asia.

The day continued with a conversation on NaTakallam moderated by INSEAD Professor Jasjit Singh, as CEO & Co-founder, Aline Sara spoke of its empowering mission to "salvage the human capital that is at risk of being lost.“ She was joined by Language Instructor, Ghaith Hallak who shared his story, and moved the audience when expressing,"NaTakallam was a turning point for me, because I started depending on myself to live. I wasn’t waiting for anyone to send me aid every month, I was working! And this is exactly what I wanted, this dignity."

We closed our 2020 SDG Week with a fireside chat with SDG 2020 Young Leader, Ralf Toenjes, as he shared the story of his organisations, Renovatio and VerBem, which are on a mission to democratise access to eye care. Joined by INSEAD LATAM Club’s Co-president, Viviane Lazard Sobral (MBA 20D), and MIM Ambassador, Olivia Ozino Caligaris (MIM 21), Toenjes said, “I want to live in a society where children don’t have to leave school because they can’t see anymore.”

In spite of the pandemic situation, the Hoffmann Institute in collaboration with INSEAD student clubs, faculty, staff and Accenture Strategy, continues the conversation on being #SDGSMART to promote a vision of businesses that deliver prosperity and positive social and environmental impact. To explore the knowledge and inspiring conversations from SDG Week, check out the recordings of all the sessions here.

Category:  Walk the Talk

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