As businesses become more and more engaged in sustainability around the world, we are presented with an increasing range of examples of active companies. However, when I speak with students and faculty, they say that they often hear about the same examples from the same international companies over and over again.
In an attempt to share some new best practice examples, I asked a handful of faculty members from around the world about their favourite classroom examples of local companies that are actively involved in sustainability. Here are some examples from Italy, Australia, and New Zealand.
Manuela Brusoni and Veronica Vecchi, SDA Bocconi School of Management, Italy
Consumer banking sector Intesa Sanpaolo: Within the Intesa Sanpaolo Group, Banca Prossima is the bank with the mission of serving non-profit organisations, with a specific service model, products and consulting services dedicated to this type of customers. The Bank has developed a rating model for social businesses that integrates the traditional methods of bank analysis with elements peculiar to the third sector, such as the ability in fundraising. Furthermore, Banca Prossima launched in 2011 “Terzo Valore”, a crowdfunding portal which allows anyone to lend or donate money to non-profit organisation projects directly, without intermediaries and with principal repayment guaranteed by the Bank.
Food sector Barilla: Barilla is the top quality and leading pasta producer in the world, which promotes the mediterranean diet as the best and healthiest solution for the people and the planet. Barilla founded the Barilla Centre for Food and Nutrition (BCFN) to informs not only policy makers and insiders of the agri-food chain, but all the people on the big topics linked to food and nutrition with regards to climate change and the world’s paradoxes. Barilla has been considered the most sustainable pasta supplier by the “Sustainability Index Programme” of Walmart.
Fashion Brunello Cucinelli: The core mission of the company is based on a contemporary form of humanism that over the years the international press has identified as a “humanistic” capitalism, where profit can be sought without damaging mankind. Its clients view Brunello Cucinelli as an expression of a sophisticated concept of contemporary lifestyle and the brand is firmly rooted in quality excellence, Italian craftsmanship and creativity; these pillars are considered the foundations on which sustainable growth can be built in the long run.
Suzanne Young, La Trobe Business School, Australia
Yarra Valley Water which has mapped their practices against the SDGs based on understanding what issues the organisation can influence.. These included clean water and sanitation, industry innovation and infrastructure and gender equality.
As another example, the National Australia Bank has a focus on working towards a more inclusive society, including financial inclusion. They are using the SDGs as a way to mobilise innovation to drive business and societal success. The Bank is supporting agribusiness customers to value natural capital for instance. The SDG of Decent Work and Economic Growth and No Poverty provide a lens for their work, especially in impact investing.
Christian Schott, Victoria Business School, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
The youth hostel association of NZ is one of the largest accommodation providers for budget conscious travellers in NZ and have set sustainability as a guiding principle for the entire organisation. Their efforts to integrate economic, environmental and social sustainability have been exemplary and they are willing to take calculated risks to trial new or innovative ideas that have the potential to enhance their sustainability ambitions. I have been working closely with YHA Wellington which is an exemplar of the broader YHA NZ network.
Whale Watch Kaikoura An inspirational Maori owned and Maori operated tourism business that carefully balances the need for environmental and economic sustainability with a strong commitment to social and cultural sustainability. Both Maori cultural interpretation and environmental protection are core principles of this whale watching business.