Sponsoring the SDG Tent at the 2019 World Economic Forum

Published by Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society on 17 Jan 2019

The Hoffmann Institute is a partner of the SDG Tent – a place to put the Davos conversation into the context of our on-the-ground reality.

At this year’s World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, leaders will gather to discuss Globalization 4.0. This is the term they are ascribing to the confluence of social, economic, technological and environmental pressures felt across the world right now.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, agreed in 2015 are increasingly in focus as we understand better the common challenges we face as a global community and the opportunity available if we move to a new, more inclusive and more sustainable model of growth. By some accounts, action towards achieving the SDGs can open more than $12 trillion dollars in economic opportunity in key sectors such as energy, food and agriculture, and urban development.

However, the path to seizing this opportunity is not always clear. Businesses need to internalize the SDGs and integrate them into their business models in ways that make sense for them – and are suitable to shareholders and clients. This makes the discussion in Davos this year incredibly important. As a business school with a mission to develop responsible leaders who deliver value to business and society, the Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society convenes academia, chief executives and experts to advance this conversation – and advance action towards the SDGs.

In Davos, we are partnering to sponsor the SDG Tent. Our events – as part of a line-up that includes discussions on many important topics hosted by our partners – put the Davos conversation into the context day-to-day reality faced by leaders of business and society. The tent is a space for open discussion around the role of business in helping to achieve more sustainable and inclusive development.

In the SDG Tent, the Hoffmann Institute – under the guidance of our patron André Hoffmann – will hold panel discussions and workshops. Academics and school leaders will discuss how to transform business education in line with societal needs and technological progress. An INSEAD professor who has long studied sustainability and humanitarian operations will host a working lunch on growing opportunity in Africa. A third panel will further the discussion on how leaders can be more effective in today’s dynamic socioeconomic landscape. We invite you to check out the full line-up of events.

Our presence at the SDG Tent is not just an opportunity to provide a platform for constructive conversation towards meeting our collective challenges and achieving the SDGs. It is also an opportunity for the Institute to listen to those who are in Davos – policymakers, leading voices in civil society, investors, entrepreneurs and CEOs. It is an opportunity for us to refine our approach and align our work more closely with the SDGs. We will take what we hear and use it in our effort to transform business education at INSEAD.

It is a transformation that is already underway. The Hoffmann Institute is working to support more research into our priority areas, all aligned with the SDGs. We are funding a Business and Society Practicum for our Master Strategist Day. During the practicum, MBA students will travel to South Africa to help scale up an organization delivering affordable, high-quality health care to rural communities. And for the first time ever, INSEAD is offering an SDG Bootcamp elective to MBA students.

The SDG Bootcamp is a two-day, hands-on learning experience to equip future business leaders with tools to address some of the world’s most pressing problems. Working together in small teams in an intense environment, students will learn by defining and solving societal challenges with the guidance by professors. They will consider realistic, actionable challenges that address the 17 UN SDGs. After the Bootcamp, we look forward to sharing our student solutions that hold potential to positively impact people, planet, and prosperity.

The SDG Bootcamp is an excellent step forward, but it cannot be the only step. There is much more we must do. At our recent Force for Good Conference, keynote speaker and Hoffmann Institute Advisory Board member Paul Polman said that the SDGs are “the biggest business plan that we're sitting on from any perspective.”

The Hoffmann Institute is committed to help the business leaders of today – and tomorrow’s business leaders –integrate that plan into their own business strategies. In doing so, we can overcome the collective challenges we face and get on track to more inclusive and sustainable prosperity. 

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