Friday afternoon – parallel sessions

you are free to choose between these five interactive parallel sessions

1. Isabella Lenarduzzi

An interactive workshop deepening the concepts offered in her keynote

2. Payam Zamani

An interactive workshop deepening the concepts offered in his keynote

3. The role of business in the transformation to a post-growth, post-consumer society
(Gary Reusche)

Based on concepts from ELEVEN by Paul Hanley, business can be seen as both an active and passive participant in a world at risk due to consumerism and its consequences, and economic planning based on an ethos of never-ending growth. In his book ELEVEN, Paul Hanley uses multiple sources to present a clear and logical description of the genesis of the current paradigm and where it is inexorably leading. Science informs us that the current economic order is unsustainable. With the world population projected to rise another 50% to 11 billion by 2100, current economic and environmental issues will deepen and turn catastrophic. As the notion that there is a spiritual aspect to reality fades into anachronism, the sustainability crisis deepens.

The core proposal of the book and the learnshop is that the solution to the seemingly insurmountable and catastrophic issues facing the world today can be found through a comprehensive public education approach that leads to profound ethical-social-ecological transformation. Such a program can be spearheaded by responsible business and their activities in the community —for example, supporting neighbourhood grass roots initiatives. Business can play play an enabling role in this process. It can reorient advertisements that suggest how consumer goods should not define us and symbolise who we are, and instead promote environmental and moral values that result in a sustainable future. Instead of a focus on profits only, business can support communities to transform, and demonstrate by example that “avarice and self-interest (need not) prevail at the expense of the common good.” Ultimately, in order to realistically address world issues, businesses will need to live a new morality, contribute to a reduction in excessive consumption, and renounce the paradigm of continuous economic growth. A sustainable, values-based reality needs to be made visible through education, particularly moral education, starting with children and youth.

What new insights or learning do you hope your learnshop will provoke?

To investigate the present environmental and economic issues so that our awareness is improved, and that we can clearly explain why a change in paradigm is essential. The learnshop will seek to gain insight and understanding about the issues facing the world and the role of business. Through discussion and sharing of ideas we hope brainstorm what could and should be done to address these issues – both the possible and the desirable. Which values/virtues are present and absent in the current paradigm? How to select a plan of action in the face of confusing messages and “false news.” Which virtues or values, if implemented, have the greatest potential for affecting constructive change? Finally what are the barriers to change that need to be overcome. What are the main themes that can be effectively addressed by the business community and what methods and materials are needed to address them?

4. Diversity of Data: what signals can we, consumers, employees, business owners, and citizens, provide in a big-data-driven society to improve corporate responsibility?
(Nava Emilia Anvari)

Diversity of Data. As we look at the new SDGs, the development community is fast realizing that there is no way we can achieve these goals through aid alone. At the same time, corporations are making decisions every day that indicate their corporate social responsibility – and this goes far beyond their philanthropic donations on the side. At Dalberg we are seeing more innovative models where large companies partner with multilateral agencies to improve their core business outcomes (e.g., I recently worked with Ferrero who partnered with USAID to empower thousands of farmers in hazelnut value chains in Georgia – as a sustainable, long-term solution to their hazelnut sourcing challenges). We as consumers and members of a broader society are in a unique position to signal to companies just how their actions affect our decisions. We present a diverse, but increasingly aware and morally-conscious society, and our every-day purchase decisions send messages daily. This session will highlight some interesting case studies from the field and provide exciting updates on “Big data analytics”. Based on this information, the teams will explore our unique role as consumers to provide the right signal to corporates, as well as our respective opportunities as corporates, employees, business owners, and citizens to leverage this trend and bring about a more inclusive, united, and sustainable economy. The learnshop will be conducted through a human-centred design approach – engaging all participants in a rapid-prototyping, collective solution-building, multiple-sticky-note using process.

5. True Diversity what does it mean… ?
(Gijs van de fliert)

Much of our diversity indicators in our workplaces are defined by physical attributes of human beings, such as the color of our skin, our gender, nationality, or other physical attributes society is wont to impose on us. However, these are attributes of beauty that do not define us. True diversity and distinction is a spiritual one, as a unique human being each of us has its own temperament and talents, each of us has its own unique spiritual distinctions.

What new insights or learning do you hope your learnshop will provoke?
Stimulate the insight that a spiritual perspective is required in addressing the issues of diversity and more importantly inclusiveness. Diversity cannot be measured solely by physical indicators.

What key questions / conversation topics would your learnshop cover?
What wider loyalties and aspirations do we want to instill into our corporations?
If not the physical attributes of diversity what indicators would demonstrate a vibrant, diverse and unified organization, in which all have a decisive role to play?”