With the ambition of promoting the Sustainable Development Agenda, the CRB organized the SDG Week, a five-day event with different sessions to engage students and the academic community around the sustainable development goals. 

The event started on the 21st with an Opening Ceremony featuring Filipe Santos (Dean of CATÓLICA-LISBON), Selwin Hart (Special Advisor and Assistant-Secretary-General for Climate Action at the United Nations), Mette Morsing (Head of PRME), and Pia Cook (Senior Advisor IKEA). Most of the challenges were highlighted and can be synthesized in some of the statements:

  • “Countries cannot do it alone. It will be businesses and individuals that will be at the forefront of providing solutions to the climate crisis”.
  • “We are way off track of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement. Both were finalized in 2015, and 6 years later Government didn’t live up to its commitments. Governments agree they failed to live up to their promises. We need action from all countries, especially the G20, that account for 80% of Global Emissions, to set the example."
  • "We have the multilateral instruments to make it happen. Governments and all stakeholders just need to do what they promised to. We also need your voice (students voice) to advocate for action”.
  • "How can we create the emotional, social, creative, physical skills set to solve the wicked problems we have today. These are the skills we further need to develop when creating the Universities syllabus for the future”.


The biosphere workshop discussed the most important SDGs in the biosphere context, namely SDG 6, 13, and 14. The audience saw why they are important, what the goals are, what they can do to address them, and some good examples from well-known companies. BP presented their case regarding SDG #13 (Climate Action), Águas do Tejo e Atlântico, showed practical examples about SDG #6 (Clean water & sanitation), and Jerónimo Martins addressed SDG #14 (Life Below Water) about their Sustainable Fishing Strategy.

Although these are great examples, we, as a Planet, are not in a good position right now. In the past 200 years, climate changes have been more extreme because of human activity. We are all part of the global ecosystem, and we need to make sure that we stop all the things that threaten our global home. Nature contributes so much to people's lives which is why it is so important to protect it.

The social challenges of the SDG Agenda were covered in the Session on Society. We had three amazing presentations from great companies that are truly devoting their resources to position themselves as “Responsible Businesses”. Deloitte covered SDG #3 (Good Health and Well-being) addressing mental health, one of the social issues clearly making its way to the top of corporate agendas; Microsoft explaining how deeply they are committed to the issue of Gender Equality (SDG#5) and the “immense power of diversity” was mentioned; finally, McKinsey (on SDG #10: social inequalities) adding something crucial to the corporate world: their findings on the clear link between a diverse & inclusive company and the bottom line, “it pays off”.

After the workshop about SDGs related to the environment on Tuesday and the one about SDGs and the society on Wednesday, the last missing area was covered in the economy workshop. As the event focused on the economic dimension of sustainable development, it was kicked-off with a presentation of the four most relevant SDGs: Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), Goal 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) and Goal 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production). Subsequently, our three guest speakers presented their companies’ considerable efforts to contribute to the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Delta Cafés presented the firm’s strategy of responsible innovation in which it invests in promising projects that develop sustainable innovations in the sector. EFACEC explained the firm‘s efforts to repurpose organic waste in a biogas plant. It further outlined the organization's smart system EHub, a digital energy hub for integrated solutions, where the customers own control over their energy. Completing the panel, grupo ageas portugal introduced the audience to the firm’s approach to sustainable finance: socially responsible investments (SRI). Under this framework, grupo ageas portugal unites numerous investment strategies, which include the consideration of ESG (environmental, social, governance) criteria. 

After these contributions, the audience had the chance to pose questions, which lead to a vivid exchange between panel and listeners. The event was finished off in a quick case challenge, in which the audience was asked to propose ideas about potential areas of collaboration between the three companies in their efforts to tackle the Sustainable Development Goals.  There was no lack of intriguing ideas! 

The event also had two other memorable moments: the screening of the documentary “The Decade of Action” that brought the audience together to watch the remarkable piece and discuss with Wim Vermeulen, Director of The Decade of Action, Prof. Dr. Johan Rockström, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Prof. Ioannis Ioannou, Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at London Business School. 

Finally, students got together to celebrate National Sustainability Day with an interactive session to explore and understand the SDG framework from an individual perspective. Afterward, they were challenged to design business model solutions to tackle society’s most pressing issues. 

The week has been an amazing journey, where public officials, senior corporate executives, scientists, and Academia all came together to help to raise awareness of our students (the leaders of tomorrow) to the most pressing challenges Humanity is facing. We, at the Center, are proud to have made this possible and truly grateful to all of those that gave a bit of their time to come and inspire our community. 

We will carry on designing activities able to achieve what is the Purpose we set ourselves since the Center’s inception: “Contribute to a society where we only have Responsible Businesses led by Responsible Leaders”.

Have a great and impactful week!

The Center for Responsible Business Team​

This article refers to edition #106 of the "Have a Great and Impactful Week" Newsletter.
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