Creating a Truly Interdisciplinary Degree in Sustainability – Monash Business School

For the last post as part of our special series focused on Australia and New Zealand we travel back to Melbourne to speak with Susie Ho, Course Coordinator of the new Master of Environment and Sustainability at Monash Business School in Australia. This new Masters, currently in its second year, is a truly interdisciplinary approach that doesn’t just allow students to take courses in different disciplines but involves the active participation and collaboration of faculty across several parts of the university.

Introduce the new cross faculty masters and how it came about.

The Monash Master of Environment and Sustainability provides interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary and specialist topics, plus real-world practice, all within a single course.

It was created by a range of senior University experts from different disciplines, from Arts, Science, Business and Economics, the Monash Sustainable Development Institute, and beyond. All recognised that challenges in sustainability require interdisciplinary discussion and multidisciplinary solutions, and future leaders with the capacity to span boundaries.

Young change agents of today are incredible – they are articulate, bold and passionate about improving the world around them for people, ecosystems, and economies. However, to do this, they will need to deal with considerable complexity and influence behaviour, organisations, and social systems. This course aims to provide the theory as well as the interdisciplinary awareness and hands on, real-world experience and 21st century skills to help foster their technical and personal capacity to help drive innovation and lead sustainability initiatives in Australia and internationally.

What are the key features of the programme and how does it work. 

The interdisciplinary springboard to the course provides a strong and broad foundation for understanding the nature of sustainability and global change – as well as the languages of different disciplines, cultures and sectors as required for effective collaboration. Students collaborate to examine and integrate different forms of evidence and diverse perspectives – as will be required in the complex work environment and the world ahead. The forward-thinking specialisations include unique perspectives and synthesis of emerging fields and trends in global change. Students critically examine and apply professional practice in Australia and globally in topics such as environmental security, governance, international development, leadership and corporate environmental and sustainability management.

Throughout, the course connects students with experts and influencers from across the many disciplines and industries of environment and sustainability – as well as one another – their future global work network. They can also select electives from across eight Faculties at the University.

How did you bring together the different faculties to put this programme together?

It was crucial to involve passionate educators from all key contributing Faculties at all stages. This meant collaborating on the overarching vision, to the curriculum design and skills mapping, to how the units would run on the ground. This degree is truly unique in involving all voices from the early stages to implementation. We are a tight team in regular contact to ensure that harmony persists. This goes right down to letting each other know how our students are responding to different content throughout semester. We also use a unified Course level Moodle page to communicate with students together at the course-level.

We knew from the start that a ‘patchwork’ degree was not on the table, and thus we used a broad variety of strategies to ensure cohesion and harmony as outlined above. Educators must be willing to get out of their comfort zones, and truly span boundaries themselves, just as the students will do.

A good example of our approach is our foundation units. We designed the core units, through true inter-Faculty collaboration, meaning they have the same features of interdisciplinarity, multiple perspectives, reflection, and a strong commitment to collaborative, active and blended learning. However, we were careful to be complementary rather than repetitive. So, one of our two core units explores perspectives on sustainability and develops transferable skills, appropriate for all careers, via critical analysis of conceptual frameworks (e.g. it has a social science flavour). The other focuses on evidence-based practice and sustainability science, developing transferable skills such as critical thinking, systematic review, and horizon scanning (e.g. more scientific).

What have been some of the challenges? 

Interdisciplinary – true interdisciplinarity – is challenging. For educators and curriculum designers, it requires the willingness and capacity to learn new languages and ways of doing things (methodologies), and to see the merit of new ways of looking at the world. You must be able to step right out of your comfort zone and your discipline. It involves constantly learning to approach task through new disciplinary and industry lenses. I would say that self-reflection is key, for both students and educators. How is my discipline, or other elements of my culture, narrowing my view – and how can I integrate and translate what I know to go beyond my niche? For me, this is the purpose of the United Nations SDGs, and of what we do in this course.


Our students are just incredible. They are passionate, proactive, and bold change agents. For example, they come to us from 15 different countries, and with United Nations, industry, government, and other amazing professional experience. We are privileged to work with those coming in from the Colombian police force to those in sustainable fashion.

Another success of the course, noting it is only in its second year, is seeing how the course fosters careers and impact. Our first few graduates have come through, and it’s been incredible. One student has recently taken a position at Tesla. Another will lead up a Geographic Information Systems laboratory in the Colombian Police Force. Others are getting involved with the UN in their home nations, or moving into policy and consultancy.

What do your students do to prepare for post graduation?

Students are all different with different aspirations for their career ahead. Thus, we provide multiple practice options, including an internship, with many students based at E&Y and Melbourne Water over this summer, and an open project creating flexibility for students to follow their own passions. Our more academically inclined students are preparing for a PhD by commencing a thesis year. Research theses are on topics that align with the student’s particular background and passions. To provide an example of the range, one student is investigating water quality parameters and nutrient cycling while another is exploring green urban design in low socio-economic areas.

Our Course Director, specialisation coordinators, and lead educators, including Melodie McGeoch (Science), Annette Bos (MSDI), and Wendy Stubbs (Faculty of Arts), provide one on one course mapping, support, opportunities and contacts to suit specific needs. This is something that is rare and clearly deeply appreciated by our students.

What advice would you have for other schools thinking of putting something similar into place?

As we know, an interdisciplinary offering – a true interdisciplinary offering – is much more than allowing students to take units from a range of different Faculties. It involves educators – and students – working very hard to harmonise and integrate different knowledge and perspectives to find new harmonised solutions. It involves an incredible amount of work to collaboratively develop and where possible co-teach students but it is the type of work that rewards and enriches all of those involved.

Interdisciplinary staff and students must be supported in this deep work, through educational training, time and resources. They need time to understand one another and to ensure their approaches are harmonised. The team must work together form the get go – and be prepared to learn a lot from different fields. This extends to administrators, who need to develop new administrative models to support the inter-faculty offering.

What’s next for the initiative?

We are absolutely thrilled to be offering a MSDI-led interdisciplinary industry consultancy project for the first time this year. In this unit, students are grouped into teams based on their complementary disciplinary expertise, and partnered with a governmental or industry group, with a real problem. Just like in real consultancy work, students must liaise to understand the client’s issue, write a proposal, form a solution or product, and present it.

The 21 Day Challenge at University of Canterbury

In 2015 and 2016, students from across disciplines at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand have the opportunity to positively impact a specific community in the Asia Pacific region. The project, which takes place over 21 days, I spoke with Sussie Morrish, the project lead, about the challenge.

Introduce the 21 Day Challenge and how it came about

The 21 Day International Challenge is an initiative undertaken by the College of Business and Law. The initiative involves a group of students selected to work on a project over 21 days that positively impacts a community. The challenge was designed to align with the pillars of the graduate profile by helping the students in the competition to become globally aware; engaged with their community; employable; innovative and enterprising; as well as mastering their chosen academic discipline.

What are the key features of the programme and how does it work. 

Each team is made up of 5 students from a different College at the university. Students have to apply to be part of the project. They each have a business mentor to help guide them with their plan and have access to an academic advisor from each College to provide expert advice as well as a cultural mentor who knows the country and community well. Teams get to make a weekly phone call to the local community to help direct them. Over 21 days, groups of students work to identify critical issues, prioritise them, develop a proposal and present it. They decide themselves how they will drive the project and use the mentors. Throughout they are given quite a bit of information about the communities they will be working with.

After 21 days, each team pitches their plans to a judging panel. They are judged based on contextual and cultural sensitivity, community involvement and consultation and expert involvement, whether the solution is technically feasible in the time frame available for implementation and considers post implementation (training, maintenance, monitoring etc.). They are also judged on the potential positive impact, the students’ ability to consider both the negative and positive intended and unintended impacts as well as the budget.

What is the impact of this Challenge on the local communities?

The winning team gets to travel to the location and implement their plan. While there, they usually partner with local organizations such as local government and schools that are able to help them and also help monitor the projects and take ownership for them once the students leave.

We have had two challenges so far. In 2015 30 students were selected to devise an affordable and sustainable project for Tarong, a small village in Central Philippines that was hard-hit by typhoon Haiyan in November 2013. They were given a budget of $5000. Bee Team won for their environmental and commercial idea to reintroduce native bees to the area because many of the bees had disappeared after the typhoons. They partnered wit the University of Philippines to help with the training and monitoring of the project after the students left. Each student was also required to write a blog about their experiences.

A second team partnered with an elementary school in San Dionisio, Iloilo and Cabiokid for a Green Library project that involved planting a large permaculture garden with native edible trees and plants.

In 2016 the challenge was to assist the Niuean community to conserve, protect and sustainably manage its food supply with a view to becoming self-sufficient. The overall budget given was $10,000NZD. During this challenge student teams had access to engineers and project experts who were able to answer questions about the viability of their business ideas. The winners proposed the publication of a cookbook, the building of a traditional Taumafa kitchen with “umu” pits and engaging with organic farmers and community leaders to take ownership of the project. The students helped build the kitchen with community involvement. Primary school helped paint it.

Many of the teams go abroad. Are there any projects that focus on local challenges within New Zealand?

This initiative is an international challenge specifically to help our students become globally aware of issues outside of New Zealand. The university has different programmes that address local issues such as The Kaikoura Challenge which was in partnership with New Zealand Transport Authority (NZTA) to help businesses and residents in Kaikoura that was badly affected by the earthquakes due to road and infrastructure damage caused by the 2016 earthquakes.

What have been some of the challenges? 

All the students that have participated in the challenge report that this is one of, if not, the highlight of their university study. Much as it would be good to have as many students participate and have the experience, resources are limited. It requires a high level of commitment for both staff, students and mentors in terms of time and resources. Health and safety considerations are also a concern given there is duty of care when taking students overseas.


Business mentors and sponsors continue to show interest in being part of this project. The students get so much out of it. There was also a lot of media interest in both locations during the projects which was a great additional experience for the students.

What advice would you have for other schools thinking of putting something similar into place?

For those thinking of doing a similar project, I recommend finding a champion who will have oversight of the whole project and given the appropriate support. No doubt the coordination of the many people involved in this type of challenge eats up a lot of work hours and require dedication.

2017 Good Practices in Responsible Management Education (Part 2 of 2)

In this, the second part of a two part end of year review, we look at some of the examples featured (roughly) organised around SDGs 10 to 17. Simply click on the links to read the full article. To read part one click here.

The month of June was a Special Feature month focused on SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities. In Australia the University of New South Wales organises a yearly event that aims to lead the debate and shape public discourse on some of the most important issues facing humanity called Tackling the Grand Challenge of Inequality. For the past few years several Signatories have been engaged in working with refugees living within their countries following the 2015 “Call to Action-Mobilizing the Academic Community Action in Response to the Refugee Crisis” and starting to share their experiences and successes including the student initiated Consortium engaging refugees at Leeds School of Business in the US. This also includes Hanken School of Economics in Finland where several programmes are underway to that aim to help integrate educated asylum seekers into Finnish working life.

The month of May was a Special Feature month focused on SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities. During the month we saw several examples of schools engaged in making their communities more sustainable. Monash Business School is engaging their students in the SDGs through an online platform called Take One Step. In response to not only SDG 11 but also the European Union strategy “Europe 2020”, Warsaw School of Economics in Poland launched a research project called Eco-Innovations in Cities that resulted in a specialisation now offered at the school. In Italy at Universita Ca’Foscara Venezia, interdisciplinary teams of students are working together to develop innovative business ideas to make the region of Treviso more sustainable. UWE Bristol celebrated its home city being named the European Green Capital in 2015 by collaborating with not just the city but a range of other organisations to make the year as successful and impactful as possible. Interdisciplinary teams at Kemmy Business School in Ireland worked together for five weeks to see how they could make the city of Limerick stronger, coming up with not just solutions but implementation plans as well.

The University of Fraser Valley offered up a great approach to embedding sustainability into existing courses, in this case their Business Research Methods course which is mandatory for all students. We featured the Breakthrough Innovation Challenge and how it offered students a chance to collaborate with Global Compact companies to build sustainable business models and solutions powered by disruptive technologies. In May we also took a look at how different schools are engaged in sustainable tourism initiatives in recognition of the 2017 United Nations International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. This included courses, research projects, publications, experiential learning opportunities, partnerships, events to name but a few examples.

A growing number of resources are being created around the Sustainable Development Goals and we have tried to share many of these with readers. Earlier in the year we looked at a list of useful resources around the Sustainable Development Goals that are good as a starting point. We looked at a range of resources developed by the Global Compact focused on business as well as a two part series on resources for SDG 1 to 9 and another from 10 to 17. Sobey School of Business also shared with us how they created an online resource collection around PRME for use by their students, faculty and beyond.

Because of the importance of the Sharing Information on Progress Report within the PRME network, several posts focused on how Signatories are reporting on their efforts, in particular relating to the SDGs. We looked at how visuals are used in SIP reports as a way of clearly organising data and engaging readers. Another couple of posts looked at how Signatories are starting to report on the SDGs, outlining a range of approaches including the approaches from the schools that received the first Recognition for Excellence in Reporting on the SDGs at the PRME Global Forum. There were also posts looking at why SIP reports should be taken seriously as well as 8 Resources to help Signatories integrate the SDGs into their SIP reports. KU Leuven Faculty of Economics and Business in Belgium shared their experiences engaging their students in creating a materiality index of important sustainability issues to the School which was included in their SIP. Boise State University has students working to create the whole SIP report and their report was recognised at the Global Forum with a Excellence in Reporting Recognition.

Increasingly Schools are collaborating with each other and with a range of other stakeholders around the SDGs. For example the PRME Chapter Nordic worked together to create a special Ph.D. course that engages students from the different school on sustainability and CSR. Lagos Business School in Nigeria launched a Private Sector Advisory Group that brings together leading Nigeria businesses to explore how to reach the SDGs there in collaboration with the UN and government. In March we featured a number of ways that Signatories can engage their students in sustainability projects developed with partners of PRME including through AIM2Flourish, the WikiRate Project that invites students to analyse company sustainability reports and the oikos-PRME Research Hub where students can share their sustainability related research.

Sustainable Business Examples from Around the World – Canada, South Africa and the UK

As businesses become 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 Canada, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Georgina Gough, UWE Bristol, UK

Triodos Bank is a global pioneer in sustainable banking, using the power of finance to support projects that benefit people and the planet. They act as a sustainable service provider, have a range of innovative banking products and also aim to stimulate and lead public debate on issues including quality of life, social and environmental development and sustainable banking.

Bordeaux Quay is an award-winning restaurant and cookery school founded and run as a sustainable enterprise. They are focused on buying local, seasonal, organic, using ethically sourced ingredients, reducing consumption of fossil fuels and agrichemicals. Their building also represents their sustainability focus: a repurposed docks warehouse, with the restaurant reusing as many original materials as possible.

Resource Futures is a national organisation founded in Bristol enhancing practice in resource utilisation and supporting the move to a circular economy.

Low Carbon SW is a trade organisation covering Southwest England supporting the business development of the regional low carbon sector.

Eunomia is a highly-respected Bristol based environment and sustainability consultancy.


Aunnie Patton Power, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Zoona is a mobile money operator that is facilitating money transfers in Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi and planning to grow to additional markets.  They are employing thousands of young women as tellers in their Zoona booths and lowering the cost to send, save and soon borrow money in Africa.

AllLife Insurance offers affordable life insurance and disability cover for HIV-positive and diabetic people in South Africa. Their model essentially took a segment of the population that insurers saw as a liability and built a business model around providing value for individuals and helping them improve their lives.  They work closely with their patients to ensure they have longer life expectancies and maintain healthy lifestyles.  They’ve been so successful they are expanding up to the UK.

GreenCape is a special purpose vehicle, which was established by the Western Cape Government to support businesses and investors in the green economy by removing barriers to establishment and growth. They also support local, provincial and national government efforts to build a resilient green economy.  As a quasi-governmental entity, Green Cape has been able to facilitate deals, growth and opportunities in the green space in the Western Cape.


Georgia Atkin, Sobey School of Business, Canada

Telus, a Canadian telecommunications company, has been doing impressive work in the area of green buildings: in 2015, TELUS opened its new LEED Platinum certified head office, the TELUS Garden. The TELUS Garden uses solar panels to generate 65,000 kWh annually, and utilizes a District Energy System to recover waste energy from neighbouring buildings, reducing reliance on conventional energy sources by 80 per cent.

Stantec, an international design and consultation company, has some great ongoing sustainability initiatives. Alongside donating funds to community arts, education, health, and environmental projects, the company also holds an annual ‘Stantec in the Community Day’, where company employees are encouraged to volunteer their time at community initiatives. In 2016, 8000 Stantec employees contributed 16,000 hours of volunteer work at 250 locations.

Nova Scotia designer Tabitha Osler recently launched a company called Faire Child, which is preparing to manufacture sustainably-made waterproof outerwear for children. Her products promise to be innovative in their low environmental impact: the clothing uses a polyester fabric made from recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, and every piece of clothing is designed to be recycled again at the end of its lifespan.

Resources for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals – December Edition – Part 2 of 2

There are a growing number of excellent resources around the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, many of which can be used in the classroom or to inspire activities within University and Business School campuses. In this new series we will regularly feature a range of different resources that can be used to engage in, and raise awareness of the 17 SDGs. If you are creating new resources or have any favourites please send them so they can be featured as well. Part 1 featured resources for Goals 1-9 and part 2 will feature resources for Goals 10 through to 17. For more Primetime posts related to the SDGs click here.

Indigenous Peoples: The Business Reference Guide to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples helps business understand, respect and support the rights of indigenous peoples by illustrating how these rights are relevant to business activities. There is also a compilation of case studies of business practices that is available as a supplement to this report.

Local Governments for Sustainability: ICLEI is the leading global network of cities, towns and regions committed to building a sustainable future. With over 1500 members, representing over 25% of the global urban population, the communities that are part of the network are working to become sustainable, low-carbon, resilient, ecomobile, bio diverse, resource-efficient and productive, healthy and happy with a green economy and smart infrastructure.

Clearing house on Sustainable Consumption and Production: The 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production patterns is a global framework of action to enhance international cooperation to accelerate the shift towards sustainable consumption and production in both developed and developing countries. Guided by UN Environment, the framework also acts as a clearinghouse for information on how organisations are working across regions and sectors.

Caring for Climate: The UN Initiative for Business Leadership on Climate Change endeavours to help prevent a climate change crisis by mobilising a critical mass of business leaders to implement and recommend climate change solutions and policies. Companies who sign up set goals, develop and expand strategies and practices, and publicly disclose emissions. The Initiative also produces a range of additional resources including The Business Case for Responsible Corporate Adaptation.

Communities of Ocean Action: There are several communities of action including coral reefs, international law, mangroves, coastal ecosystem management, marine pollution, ocean acidification, scientific knowledge, blue economy and sustainable fisheries. Each community is producing their own resources and organising webinars and meetings globally. Stakeholders, including the private sector, are currently being invited to register voluntary commitments aiming to contribute to SDG 14 here.

The Importance of Conservation: The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) offers a range of tools organised by industrial sector, relating to biodiversity including for agriculture, apparel, cement, extractives, finance, renewable energy and tourism. This includes tools on biodiversity-based microenterprise development, conservation finance and biodiversity offsets. They also have a tool online that explores the links between conservation and all 17 Goals.

Monitoring Corruption: Transparency International, a global coalition against corruption, has produced a resource guide on Monitoring Corruption and Anti-Corruption in the Sustainable Development Goals. The guide is intended to explain the role of civil society organisations in monitoring corruption in the SDGs, as well as how to identify potential indicators and data sources for this purpose. The guide also has several country examples.

Partnerships for SDGs Online Platform: This online platform provides global engagement for multi-stakeholder partnerships and voluntary commitments from all stakeholders developed to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. It is an interesting resources to see how different groups are working today and some projects that universities may be able to contribute to.

Special Feature October: Impact Investing at Business Schools, What’s happening and why you should be taking note

Traditional finance students are perhaps the most sceptical when it comes to sustainability, often failing to see the relevance to them and to their careers. But this is changing significantly. Impact investing is now not only a tool that business students around the world are learning about, but a growing number of opportunities are being created for students to go beyond just learning about it to actually engaging in it.

Over the month of October Primetime will be exploring the range of Impact Investing opportunities that exist at universities around the world. We will include a mix of summaries of different competitions, courses, centres and other opportunities being developed at business schools globally (both signatories and non signatories) as well as a range of in depth features of initiatives from Advanced Signatory Schools.

So what is impact investing? The Global Impact Investing Network defines impact investing as investments that are made in companies, organisations, and funds with the intention to generate measurable social and environmental impacts alongside a financial return.” On a global scale, impact investments under management are worth about US$77.4billion and it is forecast to reach $2 trillion by 2025 (GIIN).

These courses are fast becoming the most popular on campus, not just for finance students but for students interested in consulting, industry and even NGOs. There are also a wide range of career options for students interested in and knowledgeable about impact investing.

While many of the initiatives at business schools in this space are relatively young, the business sector has been exploring impact investing for some time now. In this first post we look at a few resources on impact investing that provide a good introduction and overview of the subject.

The Global Impact Investing Network drives thought leadership on a number of key themes within the impact investing network. Recent work is focused on the role of impact investing in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Among their work is IRIS, a catalogue of generally accepted performance metrics that leading impact investors use to measure social, environmental, and financial success, a searchable online database of impact investment funds and a career centre with impact investing job openings. They also have a good primer on what you need to know about impact investing.

In 2014 the G8 produced a report called Impact Investment: The Invisible Heart of Markets about harnessing the power of entrepreneurship, innovation and capital for public good. The Global Social Impact Investment Steering Group, a successor to the work of the G8 Social Impact Investment Taskforce, was established in 2015 to increase momentum by promoting a unified view of impact investment. Its members include 13 countries plus the EU as well as observers from governments and organisations supportive of impact investing. The following site contains videos of the keynotes and panel discussions from the G8 Social Impact Investment Forum in 2013. The World Economic Forum has also produced some work around impact investing including From the Margins to the Mainstream: Assessment of the Impact Investment Sector and Opportunities to Engage Mainstream Investors.

The Global Compact’s A Framework for Action: Social Enterprise and Impact Investing (2012) aims to assist investors, corporations and public policymakers in understanding how to navigate the social enterprise and impact investing space by prioritizing the rationale for engaging, defining a strategy and finally choosing specific approaches to execute. The UNDP Social Impact Fund is a co-investment platform where investors can use blended financial models to create both economic and social dividends. Within the UN family, UNEP has also produced resources around what they call positive impact including a Positive Impact Manifesto.

The MacArthur Foundation and Beeck Centre for social impact and innovation at Georgetown University produced a report on Impact Investing Education and Training which outlines some of the research being done in impact investing at universities globally. Another similar report was produced by the MacArthur Foundation and Said Business School at Oxford University called The Landscape of Social Impact Investment Research: Trends and Opportunities.

There are also a number of organisations that focus specifically on impact investing in different countries. For example the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing in Canada has been organising the Social Finance Forum for the past 10 years that brings together 400 entrepreneurs and investors and the US Forum for Sustainable And Responsible Investing that recently published a report on impact investing trends in the US.

A few examples of impact investing already covered on Primetime include:



Sustainable Business Examples from Around the World – Canada and Nigeria

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 Canada and Nigeria:

Oreva Agajere, Lagos Business School, Nigeria

Wecyclers is a social enterprise in Lagos Nigeria with an interesting business model for combating pollution and encouraging recycling. Wecyclers offers convenient household recycling service using a fleet of low-cost cargo bikes. They are powering social change using the environment by allowing people in low-income communities to capture value from their waste.

Adcem Healthcare is an indigenous technology and innovation driven healthcare company which builds kidney dialysis centres in public and private hospitals in Nigeria. Adcem also supports the hospitals in running the centres effectively. They have created a unique niche in Nigeria’s health sector by innovatively leveraged partnerships with private organisations to bring healthcare services to those who ordinarily cannot afford it.

Doreo Partner’s Babban Gona is an impact investment firm focused on early stage businesses that improve the livelihoods of Nigerian smallholder farmers. Their farmers’ initiative ‘Babban Gona’ (“Great Farm” in Hausa language) is an agricultural franchise that enables hardworking smallholder farmers reach their full potential by providing end-to-end services that optimise yields and labor productivity, while simultaneously improving market access.

Frank Ulbrich, University of the Fraser Valley, Canada

Net Zero waste is committed to closing the loop on the food cycle. They have a unique system for utilising the organic waste produced in households and commercial operations, transforming this nutrient rich material into supercharged soil for use for gardens and farms. As food waste is such a huge problem in North America, finding local companies who are taking action, while limiting the amount of pollution released in the conversion process, is worthy of note.

EcoDairy is an authentic farm experience that simultaneously showcases innovations in dairy sustainability and efficiency. As agriculture is a major cornerstone of the economy in the Fraser Valley, it is important for these organisations to also do everything they can to embrace sustainable practices. EcoDairy is phenomenal in that not only are they inspiring young minds to develop an active interest in farming, but also in innovation for the food and agriculture industry and other facets of science and technology.

Nature’s Path Foods is a local organic, fair trade and non-GMO food producer with products ranging from cereal to grains and granola bars. They are also the largest independent manufacturer of organic breakfast and snack foods in North America. They have signed the Sustainable Food Trade Association’s declaration of sustainability and work to keep their customers healthy as well as their business operations. Their social responsibility includes accomplishments such as: diverting 92% of their waste from landfills, and keeping 204,000 lbs of chemical pesticides out of the soil. Nature’s Path Foods was named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers in 2015.

Dr. Wendy Cukier , Ryerson University, Canada

Magnet is an online career matching platform currently serving 90,000 job seekers and over 9,000 employers that helps to combat discrimination in hiring processes through skills-based employment connections. The platform allows job seekers to privately and securely self-identify as a member of any employment equity group, promoting diversity and supporting bias-free recruitment strategies.

Starbucks Canada has partnered with Hire Immigrants on a refugee employment initiative that will recruit, train and retain 1,000 refugee employees through its local community networks in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton. This initiative sends a strong message to other employers of the value of diversity to their company and the importance of building bridges for successful refugee resettlement.

Scadding Court Community Centre (SCCC) uses income from social innovations to reduce its reliance on government grants and increase the sustainability of its local economic and social development in downtown Toronto. SCCC’s innovative initiatives include Business Out of the Box (BoB), which uses shipping containers to provide affordable commercial spaces to low income and newcomer business owners; and Aquaponics 707, which uses closed-loop urban farming systems to train and employ under-educated youths in new urban farming technology while selling affordable organic fish and produce.


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