Businesses and the SDGs, two inextricable concepts

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The Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences recently held a seminar that analysed the challenge faced by businesses within the new context set by the Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals

Businesses and the SDGs, two inextricable concepts

The Agenda 2030 is a call to society at large. Government, businesses, social organisations, universities and citizens are the main agents who will sooner or later have to integrate the Sustainable Development Goals (SGD) into their road map. The change will affect the paradigm on every level as it aims to rethink the current model that maximises profit and replace it with one that seeks to achieve a more responsible social and natural environment. For this reason, the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences has held a seminar analysing the challenges faced by different economic and social actors within this new framework. The event is part of the support framework for Aracoop, a project that promotes the social economy and cooperativism at UIC Barcelona.

The business perspective was provided by the dairy cooperative La Fageda and the consultancy company that specialises in increasing corporate social responsibility, Vector 5, two organisations that have incorporated the essence of the SDGs as an essential aspect of their business. In fact, La Fageda’s head of Communication, Albert Riera, believes that their project is “closely linked to the application of the SDGs” and that this has been its raison d’être “since the beginning”. Head of Communication for Vector 5, Albert Huerta, has noticed a growing trend in the market where many organisations have worked together “to do things differently, more responsibly”.

The role of universities is key

In order to change the model from the top down, you have to start at the bottom. As such, the seminar also underlined the importance of the role universities play in this process, which will be key in preparing future generations for this new context. Josep Maria Vilalta, director of the Global University Network for Innovation (GUNi), the international network of universities promoted by UNESCO, the United Nations University (UNU) and the ACUP, has confirmed that the biggest challenge is “educating a generation of students in an SDG mindset”. The vice president for Competitiveness and Employability at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Àngels Fitó, has called upon the university community to “make alliances to tackle the global challenge that lies ahead”. He also highlighted that universities “need to be aware of what’s happening in the labour market in order to provide an appropriate response”, with respect to new profiles that might emerge as a result of Agenda 2030. The director of the Sustainability Office at UIC Barcelona, Sílvia Albareda, also described all the work that has been carried out in our institution in the name of sustainability over the past few years.

The seminar also presented different examples that helped demonstrate the impact applying competitive strategies has on different types of companies.