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ABIS Knowledge Into Action Forum 2018
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ABIS Knowledge Into Action Forum 2018

Business Model Innovation in the SDG Era

The 2018 Knowledge Into Action Forum was an answer to the call from the business community to academia to facilitate and provide best practices through research and knowledge development on business models for driving sustainability.

Date 28 March 2018
Host ABIS - The Academy of Business in Society
Venue ING Belgium, Rue du Trône 1, B-1000 Bruxelles
Focus Business Model Innovation in the SDG Era


Building on the 16th ABIS Colloquium, the 2018 Knowledge Into Action Forum was an answer to the call from the business community to academia to help develop competitive and innovative business models for the UN SDGs through research and knowledge development.

We therefore aimed to answer how businesses can integrate the SDGs into their corporate strategy, how to define KPIs and how to measure progress. If these questions are not answered, new business models cannot be developed and there is a risk of undermining the implementation and achievement of the goals.

The Knowledge Into Action Forum gave the opportunity for interactive discussions around creating innovative business models for the SDG era. In addition, it gave space for our participants to disseminate research results, case studies and initiatives, as well as the opportunity to start new and innovative research projects.

Within the SDG framework, the ABIS Knowledge Into Action Forum was designed to:

  • Understand emerging trends and state of the art research for business model innovation
  • Offer a space to our network to disseminate knowledge, research and results
  • Enable partnerships between business and academia
  • Raise awareness of funding opportunities for international research consortia


Download the Official Programme











(All times local)


09:00 – 09:30    Welcome Coffee

09:30 – 09:45    Introduction: Rudi Plettinx - CEO, ABIS

09:45 – 10:00    Opening Keynote: Emmanuel Verhoosel - Head of Wholesale Banking, ING Belgium

10:00 – 10:15    Keynote: Wayne Visser - Chair in Sustainable Transformation and Professor of Integrated Value, Antwerp Management School

10:15 - 10:30     KeynoteRudi Plettinx - CEO, ABIS

10:30 – 11:00    Coffee Break

11:00 – 12:00    Roundtables: SDGs beyond the rhetoric - The need for innovative business models

Lending Portfolio and Impact Measurement for Climate Change Circular Economy: Optimise Operations and meet Market Needs SDGs and Business Performance: The Role of Professional Services Firms Plastics in the Circular Economy – The role of chemical recycling to close the loop
Chair: Nynke Haardt-Bloys van Treslong - Director, Wholesale Banking - Capital Structuring & Advisory, ING Chair: Dominique Debecker - Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer, Solvay Chair: Anthony Carey - Partner, Mazars Chair: Patricia Vangheluwe - Director Consumer & Environmental Affairs, PlasticsEurope
Concerns about climate change are rapidly altering the way companies and investors consider risk and opportunity. Investors have thus far limited their analysis of climate-related issues to sectors and activities with a direct connection to fossil fuels and carbon emissions, such as Energy and Utilities. But Banks are tied to every market sector through their lending practices, making them uniquely vulnerable to climate-related risk. This makes the topic crucial and transversal to all sectors. Hence the need to develop innovative sound impact measurement methodologies to measure business performance and align lending portfolio with the 2 degree goals. By taking a circular approach to design, manufacturing and reuse, circular business models keep resources in play for as long as possible and recover and reuse spent materials and products. Circular Economy is the main focus of SDG 12, but with ramification to SDG 6, 9 and impact on SDG 13, 14 and 15. Circular economy is key for Chemical Industry, however Chemical MNCs cannot move forward alone and need to include all actors of the sector and beyond. The roundtable wants to focus on Business Model Innovation all along the Chemical Industry Supply Chain, as well as the limits and gaps that are hindering the implementation of the SDGs. According to the Better Business Better World report by the Business & Sustainable Development Commission, achieving the Global Goals is estimated to open up more than US$12 trillion in market opportunities. This leads to strategic considerations on how professional services firms can apply the SDGs internally as well as in the support they provide to their clients to seek these opportunities. In particular, a deeper understanding of how the SDGs could be best integrated in how they manage the firm and in their service offerings is needed. Professional services firms can in fact have a significant contribution towards the SDGs by improving the performance of a wide range of clients and maximizing their positive impacts in a way which benefits stakeholders and wider society. A circular economy (SDG 12) aims to maintain the value of products, materials and resources for as long as possible while minimizing waste generation. Plastics have a unique role to play in this context. Society enjoys an enhanced quality of life as a result of highly innovative products which rely on plastics. Products produced with plastics contribute significantly to resource savings and greenhouse gas reductions over their full life cycle. At the end of its useful life, 27% of post-consumer plastic waste are however still landfilled in Europe, 42% is energy recovered and only 31% is recycled. The roundtable wants to focus on how to stimulate plastics recycling (mechanical and chemical) at micro and macro level and its subsequent barriers & opportunities in terms of business model.


12:00 – 13:00    Lunch

13:00 – 13:45    Panel: Driving business model innovation: The role of knowledge & research


  • Nancy Bocken -  Professor at Lund University, IIIEE in Sustainable Business Management and Practice and Associate Professor at TU Delft
  • Florian Lüdeke-Freund - Professor, ESCP Europe and Research Fellow, Copenhagen Business School and Leuphana University of Lüneburg
  • Patrick Hull - Global Learning Director, Unilever
  • Léon Wijnands - Global Head of Sustainability, ING

13:45 – 14:15    Coffee Break

14:15 – 15:45    Project Marketplace

15:45 – 16:15    Closing Keynote: Nancy Bocken -  Professor at Lund University, IIIEE in Sustainable Business Management and Practice and Associate Professor at TU Delft

16:15 – 16:30    Closing Remarks: Rudi Plettinx - CEO, ABIS

16:30 – 17:30    Cocktail





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