CIFAL Flanders welcomed 40 participants to its Action Learning Platform at the premises of Het Facilitair Bedrijf in Brussels. During this educational day, attendees reflected and brainstormed around the concept of “spheres of influence” and were introduced to new and transformative sustainable business models. At the core of the programme for the day was the following question: “how can we organise ourselves in such a way, that we are ready for the challenges and changes we will be facing in the coming years?”
08:30 Welcoming reception with coffee and tea
09:00 CIFAL Flanders’ SDG Training Manual
Mr. Peter Wollaert, Managing Director, CIFAL Flanders
10:00 Presentation of best practise and case: Het Facilitair Bedrijf
Mr. Johan Van Damme, Policy Coordinator, Het Facilitair Bedrijf
10:50 Exercises with CIFAL Flanders’ SDG Training Manual
13:00 Introduction: Business case SDGs
Ms. Céline Van Hecke, Project Manager, CIFAL Flanders
13:45 Sustainable Business Models
Mr. Koen Miseur, Policy Officer Green Economy, Department Environment,
15:00 The Flourishing Business Canvas
Professor Antony Upward, Sustainability Business Architect and Principal
The morning programme started with a welcome word by Peter Wollaert, Managing Director of CIFAL Flanders. He reminded the participants of the importance of the year 2020: not only is it the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, but one third of the timeframe allotted for the realisation of Agenda 2030 is already behind us. Mr. Wollaert then introduced the first conceptualisation of CIFAL Flanders’ new Training Manual, a tool designed to support organisations throughout the long process of facing the global challenges of the coming decade.
CIFAL Flanders’ Project Manager Céline Van Hecke introduced the concept of “spheres of influence”, noting that the influence of an organisation goes beyond its structural boundaries. In her presentation, she delved further into the different ways in which an organisation can leverage its influence in order to reduce harmful behavior and encourage positive action.
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Johan Van Damme, Policy Coordinator at Het Facilitair Bedrijf, discussed the actions undertaken by his organisation for the Sustainable Development Goals. He focused on one particular branch of their SDG policy: sustainable catering. Mr. Van Damme presented the actions undertaken by Het Facilitair Bedrijf for each of the five layers of the organisation’s sphere of influence: internal workings, products and services, local community, partners (including clients and suppliers), and international cooperation. The action plan presented by Johan Van Damme was extensive and ambitious and is sure to motivate others.
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Peter Wollaert conducted an interview with Koen Miseur, Policy Officer Green Economy for the Department Environment of the Flemish Government. They discussed the results of a recent study on Green Business models, as well as the application of the so-called Flourishing Business Canvas. In the ‘Flourishing’ model, a business is designed with attention to the context of ecology, society and economy that surrounds it. The main motor of a ‘Flourishing’ business is no longer profit, but purpose: why are you selling a particular product or service?
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The day was concluded with a Skype interview with Antony Upward, Sustainable Business Architect and designer of the Flourishing Business Canvas. He talked about the process of designing the Flourishing Business Canvas, and explained the choice for the term “Flourishing”. “Sustaining”, professor Upward argued “means keeping things as they are. Instead, we need to strive to sustain the possibility that human and other life will flourish on this planet forever.”
Professor Upward indicated that in order to be truly transformative, this new way of thinking would have to reach 200 to 400 million entrepreneurs and business leaders. As there are only 10 years left to accomplish this, it is vital that everybody becomes engaged. In a discussion with the participants, Antony Upward further acknowledged the immense diversity that the Canvas needs to address. He indicated that a continuous engagement with this diversity is crucial to testing and fine-tuning the capacities of the Flourishing Business Canvas.
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