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ABIS General Assembly: Highlights 2017
ABIS GlobalEventsABIS General Assembly: Highlights 2017

ABIS General Assembly: Highlights 2017

Date 27 March 2018
Host ABIS - The Academy of Business in Society
Venue ING Belgium, Rue du Trône 1, B-1000 Bruxelles
Focus ABIS Highlights 2017

ABIS Knowledge Into Action Forum 2017

On 11 May 2017, ABIS hosted its Knowledge Into Action Forum in Brussels, Belgium.

The Knowledge Into Action Forum served as the main physical meeting point for the ABIS network to come together and discuss new ideas for collaboration at different stages of development. In 2017, the Forum was designed to help the ABIS network to:

  1. Contribute to the EU’s research and innovation agenda as a business-academic network;
  2. Gain insights on knowledge transfer between academia and business
  3. Create possibilities to start international projects with other members of the network.


Following this event, a total of 7 EU project proposals were submitted throughout 2017.

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ABIS Annual Colloquium 2017

With a great majority of businesses already adopting and engaging with the SDGs, there is the potential to unlock US$12tn in business savings and revenues by 2030 (Business and Sustainable Development Commission, 2017).

On 15-16 November, over 150 representatives from over 60 different institutions joined us to discuss and explore on identifying the right tools to do so, whether that directly relates to business strategy and innovation, leadership practices and talent management as well as measuring impact towards the SDGs. The ABIS network strongly believes that companies can tap into the academic knowledge and capabilities and - together with universities as their strategic partners - develop leadership and new business strategies to ensure long-term value creation.

The event featured dialogues and interactive sessions on:

  • Integrating the SDGs into corporate strategies
  • The benefits for businesses of partnering up with academia
  • Leadership skills, mindsets and capabilities to achieve the SDGs
  • Building capacities for sustainable business innovation
  • Harnessing science and technology collaboration to implement the SDGs
  • Leveraging new approaches to business education to develop the necessary skills and competencies
  • Measuring progress and impact on the SDGs

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ABIS Sustainability Award 2017

For the first time, the 2017 ABIS Colloquium featured the ABIS Sustainability Award which honours initiatives and projects aiming to contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

The ABIS Sustainability Award 2017 was won by Strathmore Business School for their project “Sustainability Strategy Agenda - End poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all”.

Strathmore Business School sees it as its responsibility to support the government and business community to realise the Sustainable Development Goals through research, innovation, and co-creation by creating a convergence between the academia, financial institutions, private sector, policymakers, media and researchers.




Within the Erasmus+ programme and under the name Harmonization and Implementation of EU CSR Directives – Hi4CSR, ABIS is a project partner and participates in the first EU project oriented at the examination of the success of the EU Directives in the area of corporate social responsibility (CSR). 

This strategic partnership aims to produce a CSR guide for enterprises, adults and decision makers with systematised know-how on CSR harmonisation and implementation in order to increase adult education and to develop new knowledge and skills on CSR topics. The guide will show the current status and best practices in the harmonisation of the EU legal framework among the project partner countries and will be the first comparative analysis study in the EU with examples of harmonization and good practice of CSR implementation in national frameworks.



Talent Futures Report

This report draws on three high-level dialogues convened by ABIS between December 2015 and October 2016, with invaluable support from founding partners Unilever and IBM. Through in-depth critical debate and reflection with senior HR, Leadership and Talent executives, we have sought to better understand the challenges facing business in trying to anticipate the various skills, qualities, mindsets and values that they believe will underpin both a sustainable, profitable business model and a long-term licence to operate in an unprecedentedly VUCA world.








Building Leaders for Long-Term Business Performance

This report examines how multinational companies are equipping employees with the skills, knowledge and values to grow businesses for the long term. It deepens our understanding of how companies are defining and developing their leadership and talent pipelines in order to thrive in an increasingly complex business environment, while simultaneously contributing to long-term social, environmental and economic goals.

The report, produced with the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), identifies that organisations are recognising that their employees need different forms of education in order for the business to achieve better sustainability outcomes.






The Future Board

As corporate organizations respond to strategic challenge and uncertainty, boards must adapt to successfully steer business toward long-term sustainable success.

Mazars and the ABIS have identified the key challenges facing boards and their future needs in “The Future Board – Stewardship for sustainable success.”

Resulting from roundtable discussions with the business and academic communities, the publication identifies some of the key challenges that NEDs must address for future success, such as: being agile enough to handle risk, attracting top talent, adapting to technological change and providing a ‘moral compass’ in an age of increased transparency and risk to corporate reputation. 







Managing the Responsible Business Challenge in Africa

Since 2014, ABIS has been partnering with various business schools in Africa to facilitate greater collaboration between Africa’s Higher Education Institutions and business. ABIS with the lead of Africa Director, Mollie Painter-Morland, and its corporate partners set themselves the goal to develop a cross-sectoral leadership development programme towards values-driven leadership for Africa.

First values-driven leadership workshop in association with Strathmore Business School and the University of Stellenbosch Business School, which were extended to The American University in Cairo and Lagos Business School in 2017.

For the upcoming years, the project has received renewed commitment from ABIS corporate partners IBM and GSK to continue and extend the original objectives of the project to share current best practice models for leadership and management development in ethics and sustainability.


It will furthermore continue to deliver new innovations in management at business schools as part of executive education offerings and through in-company workshops as well as help develop faculty to support the delivery of responsible management education and leadership education for sustainability.








New ABIS Members



All ABIS Members



Acknowledgement of Joris-Johann Lenssen

As many of you will already be aware, we would like to announce that Joris-Johann Lenssen at the end of last year has moved on from his position as ABIS’ Managing Director to pursue the next phase in his career.

Since 2009, Joris has played a critical role in the development and success of the organisation, leading and participating to various flagship initiatives that have strengthened the ABIS’ network and significantly shaped the field of sustainability. In subsequent years, Joris was involved in major EU projects, including the “IMPACT”, “EU-InnovatE” and “I4S” projects.

Joris has also worked extensively with various corporate partners and members to advance the corporate sustainability agenda and notably coordinated the “Managing the Responsible Business Challenge” initiative in Africa. Most recently he collaborated with the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership on the “Building Leaders for Long-Term Business Performance” initiative that investigated how multinational companies are defining and developing their leadership and talent pipelines, while simultaneously contributing to long-term social, environmental and economic goals.

We want to thank him for the eight years of dedicated service towards ABIS’ mission and while we will miss him and his leadership, we wish him the best of luck in his new endeavors.

Thank you Joris, we have greatly enjoyed working with you all and hope that our paths will cross again in the future!


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