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ABIS Annual Colloquium 2014
ABIS GlobalEventsABIS Annual Colloquium 2014

ABIS Annual Colloquium 2014

Transforming Tomorrow: Leadership for a Sustainable Future

The ABIS Annual Colloquium is a thought leadership forum in which business meets academia and society to explore core dimensions of the future contribution of business to sustainable globalisation.

Date 10-11
Host The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, Cambridge, UK
Venue Churchill College, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
Focus New concepts & models for sustainability-driven leadership development and capability

Thematic Focus

Over the past few decades, sustainability issues have become progressively more prominent on business and political agendas, shifting from a focus on compliance and reputation management to longer-term risk management and competitive advantage. New business models are emerging in response to the perceived potential for a ‘perfect storm’ of global events - the challenge over the next 20 years of producing 50% more food and energy and 30% more fresh water, whilst simultaneously mitigating and adapting to climate change and a forecast population rise to over 9 billion by 2050.

A number of agencies, such as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the European Commission, and the OECD have formulated long-term frameworks and scenarios within which sustainable development at the planetary level may be achieved. Themes such as circular economy, inclusive capitalism, the future of financial markets, the digital revolution, and resilience & adaptation are likely to dominate the international sustainability discourse in the coming years. These themes point to two key recurring ideas: the need for systemic transformation, and the urgency for collective short-term action based on long-term vision and commitment.

The pace and scale at which companies are responding to this agenda varies widely, but awareness of the strategic importance to the long-term sustainability of an enterprise is steadily on the increase.

The Challenge of Transformation

Among executives who were taking part in sustainability leadership Programmees, 72% believed that sustainability was strongly or quite strongly embedded in the awareness of their organisations’ senior leaders. However, only 42% agreed it was embedded into existing strategies, plans and processes to any meaningful extent (The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership).

Ultimately, though, progress may well depend on the emergence of political, economic and intellectual leadership far beyond what is currently in evidence. The leadership of sustainability-driven transformation will require vision and courage at the systems level, within organisations, and from individuals. The central questions are therefore:

  • What needs to change in the current environment for these leaders to develop and emerge?
  • And how can collective transformational leadership be facilitated and strengthened, across industries and between the private, public and civic sectors, in pursuit of long-term change?

These and many other questions will be raised and discussed with senior leaders of businesses, academic institutions and civil society at the ABIS Annual Colloquium 2014. 

Download ABIS Colloquium 2014 Brochure

Download the final programme here

ABIS Members

The General Assembly of ABIS will be convened at the end of the Annual Colloquium. All ABIS members are invited to attend the full Colloquium and General Assembly. ABIS members will each receive one free place at the Colloquium. Full details of the agenda of the General Assembly will be shared via email.

Discover how to become an ABIS member and avail of this opportunity now. 

Our Hosts





Watch Polly Courtice's Welcome Address




(All times local)


Tuesday, 9 December – Doctoral Workshop

If you are a Doctoral student seeking to pursue a research career in 'Business in Society' fields, the 2014 ABIS Doctoral Workshop offers you an excellent opportunity to understand the potential pathways that lie ahead.

You will meet doctoral candidates from across Europe and beyond as well as distinguished international senior scholars and practitioners in the field. In alignment with ABIS core values, the event will aim at strengthening the dialogue between senior academics, practitioners and young researchers.

This year, we will focus the discussion primarily on the key success factors for engaging business in research, and how to transform scientific outputs into valuable insights for practitioner audiences.

Participants will hear insights on the challenges of global research. Additionally, we will devote one session to perspective advice on how to get published. We will close the day with a forward looking sight on career development opportunities after your PhD.

  • Get a deeper understanding on business – academia collaboration
  • Set the agenda for transdisciplinary research work
  • Explore research methodologies appropriate to the field of business in society
  • Understand the challenges of global research and European Union funding opportunities
  • Build research collaborations that could last a lifetime
  • Network with peers globally

 Download the agenda here

Time Topic
13:00 Registration opens - Møller Centre
14:00 Welcome and Introductory Remarks
Joris Lenssen, ABIS Managing Director

Session 1 – Connecting Research, Practice & Policy For Impact Enhancement
How might Doctoral research in 'business in society' fields impact policy and practice?

  • Nigel Roome, Chair of the ABIS Academic Board
  • Chris Pinney, High Meadows Institute President
  • Thomas Dodd, Policy Officer for the EU Bioeconomy Strategy, European Commission
Moderator - Joris Lenssen, ABIS Managing Director
15:30 Coffee break and networking

Session 2 – How to Get Published? Insights from Editors and Publishers
Gain practical advice and interact with representatives of academic institutions and publishers.

  • Erik Hansen, Visiting Professor of Energy Transition Management, Leuphana University of Lüneburg
  • Mollie Painter, College of Business Law & Social Sciences, Nottingham Business School
  • John Peters, Director, GSE/Greenleaf
Moderator - Nigel Roome, Chair of the ABIS Academic Board
17:00 Coffee break and networking

Session 3 – Life Beyond Doctoral Studies
Career development: Students will meet senior research fellows and PhD recruiters and discuss challenges of planning and succeeding in a research career.

  • Frank Tietze, Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing
  • Lutz Preuss, Royal Holloway University of London
  • Katie Wheat, Project Manager - VITAE
Moderator – Fabien Martinez, Project Manager & Postdoctoral Research Fellow, ABIS
18:30 Closing remarks
Joris Lenssen, ABIS Managing Director
19:00 Welcome reception: All Colloquium and Doctoral Workshop participants welcome


Elena Urizar -

Wednesday, 10 December (Day One)




Registration opens.

Møller Centre, Milling Area


Initial welcome to the 2014 Annual Colloquium
Joris Lenssen, Managing Director, The Academy of Business in Society (ABIS)

Møller Centre, SC4



Research and Knowledge Sessions (I)

Parallel sessions by theme to showcase latest papers, research insights and in-depth exploration of leading edge corporate case studies and leadership frameworks. Download agenda here

Møller Centre, Study Centre




Capacity Building Workshops

1.New Models of Communication to Support Sustainability Leadership

Mallen Baker, Managing Director of DaisywheelInteractive

2. Sustainability-Driven Stakeholder Engagement in Emerging and Developing Markets

Tobias Webb, Founder & Managing Director of Innovation Forum

3. True Value methodology - an approach which allows for an overarching integrated assessment of a company’s performance.

Brent Hire, Strategic Innovation Consultant, KPMG 

Barend van Bergen (KPMG Partner, lead author on A New Vision of Value (True Value) and Global Head of Sustainability Advisory)

Pier Mario Gribaudi (Global Lead SD Vision 2030, Holcim Cement LTD)

Møller Centre, Study Centre



Churchill College, Dining Hall


Official Welcome to the Colloquium

Gilbert Lenssen, President, The Academy of Business in Society (ABIS)

Polly Courtice, Director, Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

Churchill College, Dining Hall


Opening Keynotes: Two Keynote Speaker perspectives on Transformative Leadership for Sustainability

Having recently interviewed 100s of leaders to write the ‘The Breakthrough Challenge’, John will explain why change–as–usual strategies are not enough to move business from Breakdown to Breakthrough. Peter Lacy will then showcase the insights around transformative leadership qualities for systematic change identified in Accenture's 2013 Global CEO study, also in the broader context of a shift towards a Circular Economy.

  • John Elkington, Executive Chairman, Volans and founding advisor to The B Team
  • Peter Lacy, Managing Director, Strategy and Sustainability Practice Asia Pacific, Accenture

Moderator: Polly Courtice, Director, CISL

Churchill College, Wolfson Hall


Panel Session: Transformative Leadership for a Sustainable Future – the challenge for business


  • Richard Batley, HR and CSR Director Saint Gobain UK, Ireland and Southern Africa
  • Doug Baillie, Chief HR Officer, Unilever
  • Trevor Davis, Distinguished Engineer & Consumer Products Expert, IBM

Moderator: Michael Skapinker, Assistant Editor, Financial Times

Churchill College, Wolfson Hall



Churchill College, Wolfson Hall


The Challenges of Leading Systemic Transformation
Focus: To explore in depth, where and how systemic change is required, and the major challenges and opportunities facing business in taking leadership within these systems. 

Delegates will have the choice to attend two out of four parallel sessions:

1. National and International Policy Frameworks

  • Jack Frost, Director, Johnson Matthey
  • Tom Dodd, Policy Officer, EU Bioeconomy Strategy, DG Research and Innovation, European Commision

Moderator: Joris Lenssen, Managing Director, ABIS 

Churchill College, Wolfson Hall

2. Supply chains (Land, food and water)

  • Martin Roberts, Director, University of Cambridge Natural Capital Leaders Platform, CISL
  • Justin DeKoszmovszky, Head of Sustainability, Ovo Energy

Moderator: Theo Hacking, Director of Graduate Programmes, CISL

Churchill College, Bevin Room

3. Finance and Accounting

  • Rodney Irwin, WBCSD
  • Richard Burrett, Partner Earth Capital Partners LLP
  • Barend van Bergen (KPMG Partner, lead author on A New Vision of Value (True Value) and Global Head of Sustainability Advisory) 

Møller Centre, SC1

4. Emerging and Developing Economies

  • Frank Welvaert, CSR Director EMEA, Johnson & Johnson
  • Luk Van Wassenhove, The Henry Ford Chaired Professor of Manufacturing, INSEAD

Moderator: Mollie Painter Morland, ABIS and Nottingham Trent University

Møller Centre, SC3


Break/ Transition back to Wolfson Hall


Bridging the panels 
In this session the chairs of the four panels on systematic change will come together to share the key insights from their sessions.

Moderator: Polly Courtice

Churchill College, Wolfson Hall


ABIS Annual General Assembly

Churchill College, Wolfson Hall


Free time


Gala Dinner
Guest speaker: David Pencheon, Director - Sustainable Development Unit (SDU) - NHS England and Public Health England

Churchill College, Dining Hall


Thursday, 11 December (Day Two)




Research and Knowledge Sessions (II) continued from Day One

Showcase the latest papers and research insights and exploration of leading corporate case studies and leadership frameworks. Download agenda here

Møller Centre, Study Centre


Reflections on Responsible Leadership: Managing Context, Complexity and Responsibility

Interview with Sir Mark Moody Stuart, Board (Vice Chairman), United Nations Global Compact and Jane Griffiths, Company Group Chairman, Janssen Europe, Middle East and Africa

Moderator: Simon Pickard, Director General, ABIS

Churchill College, Wolfson Hall



Churchill College


Leadership and Organisations: How Do We Enable Transformation for a Sustainable Future?

Focus: to explore different models of innovation and approaches that businesses have taken to demonstrate leadership and transform from ‘business as usual’ to ‘sustainable business’ and the implications of this for leadership education.

Session A - Four parallel workshops.

Delegates will have the opportunity to attend two out of the four. 

1. Circular Economy: 

  • Ian Ellison, Sustainability Manager, Jaguar Landrover
  • Jules Hayward , Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Moderator: Malcolm McIntosh, Founding Director and Professor, Asia Pacific Centre for Sustainable Enterprise, Griffith University

Churchill College, Wolfson Hall

2. Disruptive Innovation:

  • Nancy Bocken, Lead Researcher Sustainable Business Development, Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge
  • Jeremy Basset, Global Marketing Strategy Director, Unilever

Møller Centre, SC3

3. Embedding Sustainability into Strategy and Decisions: 

  • Carmel McQuaid, Head of Sustainable Business, Marks & Spencer
  • Abby Ghobadian, Henley Business School

Moderator: Mike Peirce, Deputy Director, CISL

Møller Centre, SC1

4. Purpose-driven, Values-based Leadership: 

  • Geoff McDonald, Director, Bridge Partnership 
  • David Grayson, CBE, Director of Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility, Cranfield School of Management

Moderator: Polly Courtice, Director, CISL

Møller Centre, SC4



Churchill College, Dining Hall


Leadership and Organisations: How Do We Enable Transformation for a Sustainable Future?
Session B – Continuation of workshops




Transforming Today for a More Sustainable Tomorrow
Business school perspectives and the implications for global leadership development.

  • Alfons Sauquet, Global Dean, ESADE Business School, Spain
  • CB Bhattacharya, Dean of International Relations, ESMT Berlin, Germany
  • Xiang Bing, Dean, Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business, China
  • George Njenga, Dean, Strathmore Business School, Kenya

Moderator: Della Bradshaw, Business Education Editor, Financial Times

Churchill College, Wolfson Hall


Closing Keynote: Responsible Leadership for a Sustainable Future 
Speaker: Polly Courtice, Director, CISL

Churchill College, Wolfson Hall


Final remarks 

Churchill College, Wolfson Hall


Conference close




Registration Fees

  • Download the final programme here 
  • For travel and accomodation-related queries, read the logistics note here
  • Find your way - Map of Churchill College and Møller Centre available here
  • For live updates, follow us on Twitter @abisglobal  #transformtmrw


Discover 30 presentations of a range of academic papers, practitioner articles and case examples during the Research and Knowledge sessions. 

  • Download the Research and Knowledge sessions agenda here
  • Details of the call are available here



ABIS reserves the right to use any photograph/video taken at its events, without the expressed permission of those included in the photograph/video. ABIS may use the photograph/video in publications or other media material produced, used or contracted by ABIS. The endeavor is to use the photograph/video in the context in which it was taken and only for the purposes of informing its audiences and promoting its own work. 




R. Edward Freeman, Senior Distinguished Fellow, ABISSimon Pickard, Director General, ABISProfessor Francisco Szekely, IMD


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