Social Impact and Sustainability as a Driver of Success. Why are SDGs relevant for my organization/company and me?

Authors: Joaquín Garralda, IE Dean of Academic Affairs, and Concepción Galdón, IE Social Innovation and Sustainability Director/Academic Lead.

The exponential technological development we are experiencing has transformed operations and business models in obvious ways. More deeply, it has changed our culture, our expectations, and how we relate to each other and organizations. As you have undoubtedly heard, we are not witnessing an era of change but rather a change to a new era. Immediate access to information has put us right in front of a social and environmental reality we cannot ignore. A growing number of people and, especially, the generations who have grown with all the information in their hand cannot and do not want to be oblivious to it.

IE’s community, infused with innovation, technology, and passionate for the humanities feels strongly about embracing this culture of responsibility towards others and the environment.  This is the community you belong to as an alumn. Are you involved professionally/semi-professionally in activities that promote social impact/sustainability? We want to learn about your work. Please, answer this survey, and we will get in touch with you.

The 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide us a framework to connect our efforts at a global scale. In a globalized world, pressing issues have no borders, and resources available are not even close to enough to tackle them. In this context, national governments cannot unilaterally confront the challenges. In response to this situation, the United Nations launched in 2015 the 2030 Agenda, signed by 193 countries, structured around 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These are a step forward from the Millennium Development Goals, signed in 2000.

SDGs were designed including input from companies from around the world, as well as education and financial institutions, aggregated in the Global Compact, PRME, and PRI respectively. Besides, it considered answers to a worldwide survey about the world we would in which we would like to live. More than ten million people participated in the survey. Through the SDGs, the UN recognizes the capacity of governments is insufficient to meet the goals and calls for the private sector for support. IE, as a long-standing member of PRME and a founding member of the Global Compact’s Spanish Network, is ready to take the pledge.

On July 15th and 16th 2019,  IE’s Center for Social Innovation and Sustainability hosted two workshops to raise awareness about SDGs across IE schools and departments and foster collaboration in promoting them. IE Alumni Nadim Chocair led these workshops. As a result of the workshops, we learned the SDGs our community feels more strongly about at a personal level coincide with those on which they believe IE should focus. These are Quality Education, Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth and Climate Action in addition to Partnerships, which is also critical. Interestingly, these SDGs coincide with the SDGs they believe their departments are involved in and affect their work the most in turn.

Fortunately, at IE there are countless champions for the 2030 Agenda. In addition to the activities run by IE’s Center for Social Innovation and Sustainability, the lead of IE’s SDG Initiative, other centers, departments, faculty, students and alumni are promoting various opportunities to advance the SDGs. Some examples are the Africa Social Innovation Retreat, run by IE’s Africa Center in Collaboration with the IE Center for Social Innovation and Sustainability, or the Gender Tension Gap Program, led by Professor Celia de Anca from IE’s Center for Diversity. IE’s School of Public and Global Affairs recently launched the Master in International Development in partnership with the United Nations System Staff College.

Among our faculty, Professor Rachida Justo, who teaches Social Entrepreneurship, was selected as part of the Expert Group of the European Commission on Social Entrepreneurship (GECES). Martina Pasquini was granted a Marie Curie scholarship for her work on shared value creation. Professor Gayle Allard, who teaches The Last Development Frontier, travels to Ethiopia every year with a group of students to promote female education and access to clean water. María López Escorial, who teaches Business at the Bottom of the Pyramid, coaches social impact graduation projects every year.

Our students participate in other field projects such as pro bono consulting for South African Social Ventures as part of IMBA’s Social Impact Lab or institutional strengthening of microfinance institutions in Ghana thanks to the collaboration with IE founded NGO Financieros sin Fronteras.

IE Alumni are also actively transforming the world around us. Join us at Medellín Alumni Weekend to learn how!

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