Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) published by the United Nations address grand challenges such as poverty, inequality, and climate change. Solving these issues and achieving the sustainability goals requires joint efforts by actors and organizations from the private, public, and non-profit sector. Social enterprises are considered to be major contributors due to their capacity to develop innovative products and services. However, there is a lack of transparency on the global goals, and it is unclear how social enterprises working on the ground can take into account the interlinkages between the grand challenges.
Professional Development Workshop (PDW) titled “Operationalizing Grand Challenges for Social Enterprises: Promises and Perils of SDG Interrelations” organized at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting in Boston in August 2019 tackled these questions. It aimed at fostering efforts in academia to help social enterprises to better address the SDGs.
The workshop provided new insights about the interdependencies between the highly complex societal problems. The participants also identified research avenues that support social enterprises to understand these interrelations.
The participants suggested, for instance, following researcher questions:
- What is the relevance of SDGs for social enterprises?
- What effect does the SDG framework have on social enterprises?
- Does disclosing sustainability practices help social enterprises?
- How do SDGs interact? Are there SDGs that social enterprises ignore? Is there cross impact?
- How do we help policy makers to understand complexity of SDGs? How do we connect policy makers and social entrepreneurs to integrate complementary effects?
- How to build integrative collaborations for the SDGs?
Aalto University researchers were actively taking part in the workshop. Professor Arne Kroeger was one of the organizers of the workshop and Dr Steffen Farny served as a panelist.
The other workshop participants included:
- Organizer: Nicole Siebold, Otto von Guericke U. Magdeburg
- Organizer: Franziska Günzel-Jensen, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus U.
- Organizer: Steffen Korsgaard, U. of Southern Denmark
- Distinguished Speaker: Jeff York, U. of Colorado Boulder
- Panelist: Sergio Giovanetti Lazzarini, Insper Institute of Education and Research
- Panelist: Kai N. Hockerts, Copenhagen Business School
- Panelist: Diane L. Holt, Leeds U. Business School