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ABIS GlobalProjectsThought Leadership Roundtables

Thought Leadership Roundtables

In 2013, ABIS launched a series of high level debates on cross-sectoral strategic issues, supported by C-suite speakers and international academic experts.  These events are not limited to the CSR officers and Public Affairs Directors only.

In order to expand synergies, ABIS invites all interested business members to bring one to two additional people from their own company or out of their value chain relations with interest in the topic. ABIS academic members, other experts in the field, are also invited to participate and to contribute to the debate.

Past Roundtables

Sustainable Portfolio Management

16 June 2014

 ABIS supported the Solvay Group to host a session on its Sustainable Portfolio Management Methodolgy (SPM), a standard for the Group's sustainability assessments of its business portfolio. The SPM tool is aimed at visualising the risks and opportunities associated with the sustainability megatrends so that appropriate strategic decisions can be taken to balance the portfolio on the sustainable perspective, this being along two main axes:

  • The financial risks and opportunities linked to the environmental footprint of its manufacturing activities;
  • The opportunities and risks from a market perspective, by materialising the extent to which customers and/or consumers acknowledge that a given product is eventually part of the solution they are seeking in order to address their own environmental concerns.

Over 30 business representatives from chemical, innovation, steel industries joined civil society representatives and academics to exchange, comment and share their perspective on Solvay’s Sustainable Portfolio Management methodology. Following this thought leadership round table, a future platform to continue wide discussions on SPM tools is being designed by ABIS to help businesses improve their own tools. 

Photos from the event are available here

Management Tools For Sustainable Assessment

27 May 2014

A seminar was hosted by ABIS and Candriam Investors Group (formerly known as Dexia Asset Management) in Brussels for CSR officers and senior experts to discover a new sustainability assessment methodology offering rankings for companies within ten industry sectors. A sustainability assessment methodology has been developed over several years by CANDRIUM in on-going dialogue with an independent Advisory Board including representatives of Vlerick Business School, University of Geneva and ABIS – The Academy of Business in Society. The results deliver deep insight, an embedded approach and the possibility to change towards better performance of business in society. 

At the round table, the participants learnt about the sustainability of the sector in which they operate (Macroanalysis) and the positioning of the sector in the megatrends. The participants discovered the sector’s best practices in terms of stakeholder management (Microanalysis). The participants offered their feedback on CANDRIAM's methodology and some have planned to apply the criteria of the methodology in their own work.

Leadership And Technology

7 March 2014

ABIS and Tata Communications hosted a unique round table spread across 8 cities worldwide using telepresence rooms to discuss the impact of technology on leadership and sustainability. 

Technological advancements within global organisations have created the possibility to manage international teams, utilize global supply chains, and reach international markets. The new opportunities that this global environment presents can only be meaningfully utilised if business leaders are skilled in various forms of stakeholder engagement, facilitated via diverse communication platforms. Leaders also have to understand the sustainability-related challenges that their organisations face. To interact with the various parts of their increasingly complex organisations and stakeholder networks, business leaders have come to employ a vast range of new communication technologies, including email, teleconferencing, telepresence rooms, websites, social media, blogs and other discussion forums.

Over 60 participants including leading academics and business leaders raised key discussion points, including:

  • Leadership capacities for creating sustainable and ethical global organisations
  • Aligning leadership’s messages between internal and external stakeholders
  • Dealing with the challenges of space and time: speed, time-zones etc.
  • Technology as key asset in managing leadership challenges in global organizations


Government Relations For The 21st Century: Beyond Lobbying

21 November 2013

The ‘Beyond Lobbying’ report, based on interviews with public officials and corporate executives involved in the activity of lobbying, served as a starting point for the debate, supported by an analysis of EU-wide corporate/government relations developed with Profs. Nada Kakabadse and Andrew Kakabadse, together with Dr. Stefan Schepers (EPPA) and ABIS.

The business/government interface is shifting.The purpose of the study was to identify how to realise a greater level of governance innovation in corporate/government relations through partnering, transparency of practice and accountability, thus the title ‘Beyond Lobbying’. The Lisbon treaty and the current global economic crisis have led to more dramatic shifts in management than ever before. Radical new thinking, new methodologies and collaborative governance are needed. A paradigm shift is required in order to align corporate strategy with the needs of the various stakeholders.

The format of the event, which was sponsored by EPPA (a corporate member of ABIS), was a combination of short keynote addresses and a moderated discussion involving all participants.

Output: At the end of the proceedings, the “Beyond Lobbying” report was distributed at the meeting to all participants.  A summary of the issues raised and the suggestions made will be produced by ABIS.

Sustainability & Social Innovation

9 December 2013

Social Innovation can be understood as a new cross-sectorial collaboration achieving business and societal benefits by using resources typically from the private sector, governments and NGO's to create innovations that solve societal issues within and outside the company. Social in this sense is understood as a focused direction of innovation, usually implying a normative approach that creates something positive for society, in terms of social, environmental and/or economic impacts.

In order to achieve this, Social Innovation needs to be integrated into the innovation processes of the firm. Social Innovation is not CSR. While innovation has always been in the DNA of firms, it has not been an integral part of CSR. Ultimately, the responsibility of the company (for employees, environment, community, etc.) will stay and Social Innovation will add a new dimension in truly creating shared value - for society and the company alike.

Social intrapreneurs - individuals within large corporations who take direct initiative for innovations which address social or environmental challenges profitably, often out-with their day-jobs, are one of the exciting ways that companies can foster more social innovation.

The format of the event, which was sponsored by Intel (a corporate member of ABIS), was a combination of short keynote addresses and a moderated discussion involving all participants. In advance of the meeting, ABIS distributed a pre-reading summary of relevant articles to all attendees.

Output: At the end of the proceedings, a copy of the book, “Social Innovation” edited by Thomas Osburg and René Schmidpetter, was given to all attendees. A summary of the issues raised and the suggestions made will be produced by ABIS.


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