Join us!
17th ABIS Colloquium 2018
ABIS GlobalEvents17th ABIS Colloquium 2018

17th ABIS Colloquium 2018

Sustainability as a business opportunity

Our 17th ABIS Colloquium 2018 will offer our members a platform to share and address the challenges, success stories, research findings and best practices to capitalize on sustainability as a business opportunity.

Date 9 November 2018
Host ABIS - The Academy of Business in Society
Venue Solvay Campus, Rue de Ransbeek 310, 1120 Brussels
Focus Sustainability as a business opportunity


The complex and unprecedented social, environmental, market, and technological challenges we are currently facing shed more light on the business case for sustainability.

Academic research, corporate sustainability champions and the adoption and engagement around the UN Sustainable Development Goals have led to the understanding that business, societal advancement and environmental preservation are inextricably linked. Businesses can generate economic value by identifying and addressing the areas in which the company has a material environmental or social impact. According to the Business & Sustainable Development Commission, achieving the SDGs could open up more than an estimated US$12 trillion in market opportunities.

The business case for sustainability is no longer the question, the focus is now on how to harness it: How can companies thrive and generate business value in an increasingly complex (business) environment, while also contributing long-term social and environmental goals? How to systematically approach sustainability in business practice to improve the odds of success? How to concretely develop innovative solutions that create real value for all stakeholders?

The 2018 Colloquium aims to bring together leading voices from industry, academia, youth communities, public policy and more to address three key themes - circular economy, digitalization and sustainable finance - that have a great potential to capture the business opportunities generated by sustainability and will have a huge impact in driving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development agenda forward.

We encourage participants to join practitioner-academic conversations to co-create specific questions and innovations that will facilitate the development of new business value from sustainability.

If you are a representative of an academic institution and you are interested to share your experience on any of the three key themes during the roundtables, please get more information here



Colloquium 2018 Report




(All times local)


08:00 – 09:00    Welcome Coffee and Registration 

09:00 – 09:15    Introduction: Alfons Sauquet - Chair of the Board, ABIS

09:15 – 09:45    Opening Keynote: "Sustainability is a business opportunity" 

                           Karim Hajjar - Chief Financial Officer, Solvay 

09:45 – 10:00    Introduction to the Roundtables


Circular Economy

Lead: Dominique Debecker, Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer, Solvay

This track will focus on business challenges and opportunities arising with the necessary transformation to a circular economy.



Lead: Marc Fiammante, Distinguished Engineer & Leader of the Europe Federal CTO team, IBM

This track will tackle digitalization as a strong driver for innovation in companies, organizations, and society. It will also discuss its potential and risks with regards to sustainable development.

Sustainable Finance

 Lead: Kaitlin Crouch, Senior Consultant, Global Sustainability Programmes  and Michel van den Berg, Terra Team Lead, ING

This track will explore the emerging field of sustainable finance from the perspective of a large commercial bank, a professional services firm as well as from the investors and asset managers’ side.

10:00 – 10:15


10:15 – 11:15

Complexity of circular economy in decision-making

Chair: Dominique Debecker, Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer, Solvay

Circular Economy is increasingly integral part of Solvay’s daily business. What does it mean at a practical level? How to deal with the complexity and trade-offs when applying circular economy when taking business decisions?

Digitalization and business model innovation

Chair: Marc Fiammante, Distinguished Engineer & Leader of the Europe Federal CTO team, IBM

Digitalization is becoming a strong force in the quest for new business opportunities and plays a key role in increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the way organizations are managed. How do businesses respond to the march of digitalisation? How can they create value for society using digital data and analytic tools?

Aligning financial flows with the Paris Agreement goals

Chair: Kaitlin Crouch, Senior Consultant, Global Sustainability Programmes and Michel van den Berg, Terra Team Lead, ING

ING is the first bank to begin steering its loan book of over €500 billion euros towards meeting the Paris Agreement’s two-degree goal through its Terra approach, an innovative, co-created, accurate way to measure its portfolio. In order to improve upon the methodology, ING welcomes dialogue with the academic community on the areas that could benefit from further research, namely how to best support clients in sectors where transition faces challenges such as in the cement, steel, aviation and commercial/private real estate sectors.

11:15 – 11:30

Coffee break

11:30 – 12:30

Circular models for food management and packaging

Chair: Jonathan Martens, Corporate Responsibility Manager, Sodexo

To maximize the value from circular economy models and waste streams,  businesses need to focus on food and non-food chains. What are the specific challenges companies in the hospitality and food service management sector face in order to guarantee quality food, safe packaging and storage while reducing and reusing waste materials?

Inclusiveness, diversity and digitalization

Chair: Carolina Yeo, Partner, FutureWork Forum and former Global Head of HR/Talent Management, Odebrecht

While data scientists are gathering increasing importance inside organizations, digitalization is an organizational journey. Why do we need inclusive teams for digitalisation? What are implications of digitalization in terms of talent and team management?

Sustainable success of mid-market companies

Chair: Antony Carey, Partner, Mazars

Neither small nor big and, middle market companies run the risk of being overlooked in the discussions around sustainable development. How to support the integration of sustainability considerations into their business strategies, investment in innovation, reporting, governance structures etc.? How can sustainable finance contribute to enabling mid-market business’ sustainable growth? 

12:30 – 13:30

Circular economy and material flows

Chair: Isabelle Gubelmann-Bonneau, Senior VP Circular Economy Head, Solvay

The transition to circular economic models requires a drastic shift in the consideration of material value. What are the main challenges and difficulties, specifically when it comes to material flows, supply chains and design of products and equipment?

 Digitalization and Trust Building

Chair: Thomas Osburg, Professor, Fresenius Business School and former Executive Director Corporate Affairs, Intel

Trust is an essential component to operate in business and drive brand value. However, globally, people are losing faith in technology to solve the world’s problems - and this might have a negative impact on business. How can companies build trust in a digital world and create sustainable societies with business value?

SDGs and ESG impact indicators

Chair: Isabelle Cabie, Global Head of Responsible Development, Candriam

Sustainable finance requests to identify ESG risks and opportunities related to investments and financing activities. The assessment of investee companies is related to their business and their practices. How can SDGs be a common language for investors and corporates and contribute to define ESG impact indicators?


13:30 – 14:30    Lunch

14:30 – 15:00    Roundtables - Outcomes presentation

15:00 – 15:45    Panel Discussion: Enabling Leadership for Sustainability 

Following the round tables and building on the conclusions and identified research
questions, a panel of leading and emerging, academic scholars as well as business
representatives will reflect on the implication for leadership and talent development

  • Michel Croisé – CEO, Sodexo Benelux
  • Raffaela Cagliano - Specialised Masters Director & Full Professor, Politecnico di Milano
  • Laetitia Gonin-Brun - Sustainability HR Director, Solvay
  • Dominyka Venciūtė - Director of Business Management and Analytics Programme, ISM University of Management and Economics
  • Facilitator: Ivo Matser – CEO, ABIS


15:45  16:00    Closing: Ivo Matser - CEO, ABIS

16:00 – 17:30    Reception



Logistics note

Please click here to access the logistics note. 

Hotels and transfer

Should you need accommodation for your trip, we suggest any of the hotels located in the Place Rogier area, close to the city center and best positioned to easily reach the conference venue. directly contact the three hotels below:

A bus transfer will be organized in the morning of the event in front Hilton Brussels City Hotel. Further information will be shared with interested participants. 



Avenue Louise 231
1050 Ixelles, Brussels, Belgium

Contact us
+32 (0)491 63 67 53 Privacy
Website by Brainlane
Website by Brainlane