Overview of the Summer School on CSR

The Summer School on CSR aims to provide advanced training on the identification of sustainability-related business opportunities, the inclusion of sustainability in the core of business strategy as well as on the resulting responsible corporate management to leading young researchers and professionals.

During these days, the participants will attend lectures from distinguished academic faculty members, discuss case studies presented by experienced senior professionals, and experiment with relevant business cases.

The social programme of the Summer School on CSR will give the participants the opportunity to explore Athens! The city of Athens offers a wealth of museums, a summer-long arts festival, historical sightseeing, amazing nightlife and many events to choose from during your stay. Your stay in Athens will be one to remember!

In the post–World War II era, the world has experienced huge economic and social progress, lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. Moreover, digital technologies help us solve our most pressing social and environmental challenges.

Yet, there is consensus that the current model of development is deeply flawed, adding to a growing list of global burdens that threaten future stability and shared prosperity. On the environmental front, human activity has led to climate change, loss of biosphere integrity and land-system change.

On the social front, there are vast numbers of people who do not have access to basic services such as healthcare, clean water, clean energy and sanitation.

The resulting uncertainty and turbulence arising from the current model’s failures make it hard for businesses to see a way ahead to future growth and prosperity.

In this context, sustainability arises as a business opportunity, linked to strong investor returns. Setting business strategy and transforming markets in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals offer a compelling growth strategy for individual businesses and the world economy.

In 2015, governments agreed to achieve 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, as an urgent step to transform the nature of development so that it meets the standards of sustainability into three main areas: Society, Environment, Governance. The business case for sustainable development is already strong since it opens up new opportunities and big efficiency gains, resulting attractive returns to shareholders.

Specifically, according to the Better Business, Better World report of the Business & Sustainable Development Commission, it has been estimated that achieving the SDGs opens up an economic prize of at least US$12 trillion by 2030 for the private sector and could create 380 million new jobs.

In an era of growing global challenges, the business leadership challenges are greater than ever. Stakeholders express their expectations and exert pressure in addressing urgent issues, such as climate change. In this context, a number of leading companies realize the global and business developmental potential of sustainability and take bolder steps to expand in the fastest-growing markets under the spectrum of the SDGs

The related business leaders are people who strive to achieve maximum shared value, i.e., economic, societal and environmental value over the medium to long term.

Business leaders who understand that achieving the SDGs is key to long-term business growth:
1. Communicate that understanding to the business and investment community.
2. Integrate SDGs into corporate strategy.
3. Work with sector peers to make sector competition sustainable.
4. Help shape enabling policy.

An increasing number of companies are promoting their corporate responsibility strategies as a response to a variety of social, environmental and economic pressures related to the SDGs.

Most definitions of corporate responsibility describe it as a concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis.

Running a company in a responsible manner essentially means maintaining economic success and gaining a net commercial advantage by ensuring a good reputation and gaining the trust of the company’s stakeholders.


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