The best of all possible worlds: sustainable development and integrated thinking

September 13, 2017
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Candide, the main character in Voltaire’s novel of the same title, lived in the castle of Thunder-ten-Tronckh in Westphalia. His tutor Pangloss taught him the metaphysico-theologo-cosmoronology: “It is demonstrable,” he said, “that things cannot be otherwise than as they are; for all being created for an end, all is necessarily for the best end. Observe, that the nose has been formed to bear spectacles — thus we have spectacles. Legs are visibly designed for stockings — and we have stockings. Stones were made to be hewn, and to construct castles — therefore my lord has a magnificent castle. Pigs were made to be eaten — therefore we eat pork all the year round. Consequently they who assert that all is well have said a foolish thing, they should have said all is for the best”.

Today we no longer believe in living in the best of all possible worlds, as Pangloss thought, and on the contrary we have a growing awareness of the social, environmental and economic issues surrounding us, with the challenges we have to face. The UN has  therefore identified 17 goals for a sustainable development, defining the priorities that need to be addressed and the goals to be achieved by 2030. Many countries have already signed up to these targets, but now is the time for the business world to contribute actively to their achievement too. This is an ambitious but not impossible challenge that sees LUISS University actively involved in the shaping and the spreading of a mindset and a culture aimed at achieving sustainable development goals. Backing this commitment, LUISS University has organized a workshop coordinated by Cristiano Busco, Giovanni Fiori, Maria Federica Izzo and Fabrizio Granà  – in cooperation with the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the ENI Enrico Mattei Foundation and the University of Siena, entitled Make SDGs happen through integrated thinking. The workshop will be held at Columbia University in New York on September 20, 2017 and will be attended by Italian and foreign companies (including Abn-Amro, Astaldi, Coca-Cola, ENEL, Eni, Generali, KPMG, Pirelli, PwC, Siemens, WorldBank) along with international experts (coming from such institutions as the Harvard Business School, the Imperial College London, the New York University Stern School of Business, the University of Rochester).

The workshop intends to present some examples of good practices and offer an opportunity to discuss ways in which the business world has so far been able to rethink its management processes while adopting tools and solutions to boost growth and competitiveness, on the one hand, as well as contributing to the achievement of sustainable development goals and (more generally speaking) to the creation of a long-term added value, on the other. The starting point and the area of reflection during this event will lie in the concept of integrated thinking, understood as a method for connecting performance and targets: integrated thinking identifies, executes and supervises decisions and business strategies aimed at achieving a value in the long term, with the aim of combining competitiveness with sustainable growth in the context of inclusive paths, able to exploit the opportunities offered by the market and to meet the challenges that this is presenting.

Make SDGs happen through integrated thinking

The authors

Cristiano Busco is professor of Accounting and Integrated Reporting at LUISS Guido Carli University of Rome. Previously, Cristiano has held positions at the National University of Ireland in Galway, Babson College, Manchester Business School (U.K.), University of Southern California, and the University of Siena, Italy.

cbusco@luiss.it
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Giovanni Fiori is professor of Business Administration, Internal Audit, and Corporate Governance at LUISS. He is the academic coordinator of the Double Degree in International Management (DDIM) with Fudan School of Management (Shanghai) and a member of the Supervisory Board of UBI Bank. His areas of research include financial accounting, governance, and integrated reporting.


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