impact

Professor Steven MacGregor is a social innovator who has been teaching, researching and publishing about unorthodox topics such as personal sustainability and sustainable leadership. About a decade ago, he founded of The Leadership Academy of Barcelona of which he is the CEO, and for more than 15 years, he has been contending that companies should not only be money making machines. We are happy to feature Professor MacGregor as one of our Changemakers!

Part of the LAB team in Barcelona

When was the LAB founded?

The LAB was founded in 2007, when I was directing a research project on CSR and teaching on executive education programs at IESE Business School. The project was one of the first European funded efforts with a specific focus on CSR and innovation, while my teaching focused on the health and wellbeing of executives, which I viewed as personal sustainability. I felt my take on sustainability, as an aggregate of both these areas, was unique enough to take the plunge and start a company. The defining thought for me at the time was that sustainable companies couldn’t be built on people who weren’t sustainable themselves. Essentially, it’s about bringing a more human approach to business.

What does sustainable leadership stand for and why did The LAB start to develop projects and training in this area of expertise?

Most of what we’ve done in the past 10 years has been centered on the health, well-being and performance of people at work. We’ve had aspects including mindfulness, fitness, nutrition, and sleep coaching in our programs during that time. Of course, we need to manage and lead ourselves better before we can lead others. We train people to be inspiring, energetic and engaging leaders who get the best out of their people. I think that many have forgotten the simple fact that leadership is about others. Considering our basic human needs is an effective way of doing that.

Can you present some of societyLAB’s current projects?

Most of our engagements tend to come in the healthLAB and designLAB. Societal issues are integrated within these projects, for example in areas such as talent management, client experience and workspace design; but scaling up societyLAB is a big objective this year. Our idea is to focus on the area of societal wellbeing. One specific idea that we’re pursuing is using behaviour change tools to nudge peoples’ behaviour in areas such as alcohol consumption.

Steven MacGregor

What are your goals for 2018?

Using more sophisticated behaviour change tools is something we’ve been looking at for several years. These tools represent cutting-edge machine learning and algorithm development and will allow us greater insight into what works in the classroom and how we can better design our work and home environments to be happier and healthier. We make the case for wellbeing at work to be a more strategic concern. More generally, we simply want to keep having an impact on peoples’ lives.

Do you believe companies are now convinced that CSR can make both social impact and profits? How do you evaluate the current state of corporate involvement with environmental and social issues?

Most of the leading companies are now convinced yes, though they may not call it CSR. There is a deeper awareness of the contract that business has with society. How that manifests itself changes from company to company. In general, organizations are realizing the key role they play in peoples’ lives; and by engaging with them more closely – be they employees, customers or the wider community -, they know they will add value to the business in the long term and protect themselves (as much as possible) from the dangers of disruption.

Horyou is the social network for social good. What is the role of the internet and social media in influencing our companies to be more sustainable and socially conscious?

Transparency and talent. Companies can no longer get away with fancy words that are not matched by deeds. The younger generation is automatically attuned to social good in a way probably never seen before and they will hold enterprises accountable to a new way of doing business, if not directly, then certainly with how they choose to spend their talents. Even the biggest and brightest companies can no longer count on brand prestige or history to attract the best talent. People want to invest their time in something bigger than themselves.

Changemakers is an Horyou initiative which aims to highlight remarkable people & projects related to the Sustainable Development Goals. In this article, we shed a light over #SDG8 – Decent work and economic growth.

The UN Sustainable Development Goal number 7 aims to provide clean, affordable and reliable energy for all, to further inclusion, opportunity and empowerment.

Photo: UNDP India

Almost 200 years after the invention of the first electric motor, there still are 1 billion people with no access to electricity. Half of them are in sub-Saharan countries, most in urban areas. It’s ironic that Africa, a region so rich in natural resources, always mentioned as the future test site for clean energy, still has a considerable part of its population in the dark.

It is both a wonderful opportunity and a threat – without clean and affordable energy, our future is at risk. How many innovators are losing the opportunity to put their ideas into practice? For how many more years are we to keep burning fossil fuels to provide our populations with energy? For how long will we continue to consume power without even thinking about its sources or effects on the environment?

According to the last UNDP account and despite all international agreements, the renewable share in final energy consumption has grown modestly from 2012 to 2014 from 17,9% to 18,3%, most of it from water, solar and wind-generated power. In the most developed and largest energy-consuming countries, however, an effort has been made – especially by reducing power consumption through greater efficiency in industry. The challenge is to increase this share even more, especially in sectors like heat and transport which account for 80% of global energy consumption.

Progress still falls short, but there are many remarkable initiatives in large and small scale that give hope and inspiration. One of the active organizations on our Horyou platform, Geres, Group for the Environment, Renewable Energy and Solidarity, is a French NGO that works with innovative and sustainable development projects around Europe-Mediterranean, West Africa, South-East Asia and Central Asia. From building electrified zones in Mali through to developing bioclimatic solutions in houses and farms in the Indian Himalayas, Geres has empowered communities for more than 40 years.

Other initiatives were presented during SIGEF 2016 in Marrakesh – one of the SIGEF Awards runner-ups was Pocket Rocket, a company focused on energy saving. Its products and services help to reduce the percentage of CO2 released in the air. Another one is Can Heat, a project which facilitates the manufacturing of solar water heater panels through the reuse of waste materials.

If you wish to support this SDG, you can do so through Horyou. Go to Horyou platform and choose an NGO or project that helps promote clean and affordable energy in your region or anywhere in the world. Your support can be made easier and more effective with Spotlight, our digital currency for impact. Check it out and start using it to engage in any cause you feel concerned about. Be the change, be Horyou!

O fotógrafo Tomás Cajueiro tem um projeto ousado – percorrer o Brasil mostrando as diferentes faces do país a seu próprio povo. O projeto Retratos Brasileiros, que faz uma edição especial pelo estado de São Paulo, é resultado de um trabalho de diferentes fotógrafos que viajaram pelo Brasil e pelo exterior desde 2014 em busca de brasileiros. Além das imagens, o projeto também conta com relatos sobre cada personagem retratado, exposições e palestras sobre fotografia. O Horyou blog entrevistou Tomás Cajueiro, que conta sobre a história do projeto e sua inspiração nas causas sociais.

Foto: Tomás Cajueiro
Foto: Tomás Cajueiro

Como surgiu a ideia do projeto Retratos Brasileiros?

Nasce como uma maneira de colocar um pouco em prática, diversas das reflexões teóricas que eu tive nos meus anos de estudo, sobretudo no mestrado, onde estudei muito identidade nacional e a função do jornalismo e do fotojornalismo como instrumentos de formação de identidade nacional. O brasileiro e o latinoamericano em geral tem uma identidade ainda muito fraca, ainda em construção. O Retratos surge como uma utopia de propiciar uma reflexão que faça o brasileiro pensar quem ele é, quem é o povo brasileiro.

Foto; Tomás Cajueiro
Foto; Tomás Cajueiro

O projeto está em fase de curadoria. Quais são os próximos passos e o plano de divulgação?

A edição 2017 do projeto, que é viabilizado com recursos do ProAC (Programa de Ação Cultural – Estado de São Paulo) está na fase final de curadoria para seleção das imagens que irão compor a exposição e seu catálogo. Serão escolhidas 100 imagens. Os próximos passos serão as exposições em si que devem acontecer em Sorocaba, Araçatuba e Santos. A divulgação acontece pelas redes sociais e assessoria de imprensa.

Como continuidade do projeto, o próximo passo é inscrevê-lo na Lei Rouanet, para que aconteça em nível nacional. Nosso objetivo é voltar o Retratos, a partir do ano que vem, para o Brasil todo, que foi como começarmos. Esperamos fazer isso agora com o financiamento da Lei Rouanet. O objetivo é termos um livro publicado com as próximas imagens, até 2019.

Foto: Érica Dezonne
Foto: Érica Dezonne

Você se sente engajado com questões sociais e de meio ambiente?

A fotografia é uma consequência desse engajamento. Meu engajamento se manifestou através de uma série de trabalhos voluntários que eu sempre fiz. A fotografia, na verdade, nos últimos anos tem se transformado num instrumento que dá voz a esse engajamento social, ela é a consequência. E a maneira através da qual eu acredito que eu consigo dar voz a pessoas que são forçadamente mudas. Sobretudo nesse sistema midiático que a gente vive hoje, bastante mercadológico, muita gente que não vende pauta (jornal) não tem voz.

Com quais causas sociais você se sente mais conectado?

Pessoalmente eu me interesso muito por desigualdade social e inclusão social. São duas causas que me interessam bastante. Gosto muito de trabalhar com pessoas marginais à grande massa da sociedade. Eu acho que o que a gente chama de minoria na verdade é a maioria, são pessoas que não estão no centro do debate sócio-político.

Foto; Daniel Arroyo
Foto; Daniel Arroyo

Na sua opinião, como a arte pode colaborar para construir uma sociedade mais justa?

Acredito que a arte empodera as pessoas, pois gera uma visão crítica, a partir do momento que as tira da zona de conforto. Mexe com um lado do cérebro que não é racional. Acho que faz com que a pessoa tenha a capacidade de pensar mais no abstrato, e a pessoa acaba tendo uma visão de mundo diferente, que não teria se ela ficasse vivendo aquele mundo muito cartesiano que a sociedade põe de frente pra gente. Vivemos em uma sociedade muito pragmática. Acho que a arte é uma maneira de acabar com esse pragmatismo. Assim, as pessoas se tornam mais críticas e fazemos com que a sociedade seja mais justa.

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Hermes Investment Management is one of the UK’s largest institutional asset managers, advising in both the public and private sectors. What makes Hermes stand out in the crowded market of wealth management is its values or, more likely, the CEO that cultivates them.

On a preliminary search of Saker Nusseibeh, I came across words like ‘stewardship’ or ‘responsible capitalism’, or again statements like ‘We believe that better governed companies create a better society for our investors to live in’, all things often more associated with social enterprise than high finance. I was excited to meet him.

Nusseibeh studied medieval history to PhD level and I was intrigued as to whether this critical academic training gave him a pluralist attitude and the ability to see a situation from all angles and solve it? It was an unequivocal yes. He said it is essential for any leader to think and act rationally in any situation. He champions cross collaboration, saying that when recruiting, he is most interested in candidates with diverse profiles for ‘diversity helps nurture innovation in teams’.

Something that may well have been the deal breaker in winning the title of Global Investor CEO of the year is the culture that he cultivates among his staff that gets half of their bonus each year for ‘being nice’. As vague as this may sound, Nusseibeh assures that it’s simple: ‘we reward attitude. Kindness and care towards your colleagues and clients ensure that every day runs smoothly.’

I agree with him, mentioning my training in yoga that teaches that conflict and tension are wasted energy that does not serve us and is certainly no addition to any workplace.

On a more business note, Hermes have adopted a model that helps cultivate more sustainable behavior in the world of investing, as stated in their latest published survey ‘Responsible Capitalism’: ‘Investment decisions should be about outcomes that are not purely nominal but allow savers to retire into a stable social system’.

Horyou team member Dearbhla Gavin with Saker Nusseibeh
Horyou team member Dearbhla Gavin with Saker Nusseibeh

During the interview, Nusseibeh repeatedly referred to ‘holistic profits’. Intrigued, I asked him to clarify. ‘Reasonable, sustainable companies have a social license to exist; they are part of society, their presence impacts on society and has no right to impact negatively on the majority while benefiting just the few’ he says.

I asked him about his industry predictions for the short to medium term. More specifically, did he think that sustainable business possible? That profit can exist without social cost?

He says that he has never witnessed client demand for measured social impact and transparency like he has in the last twelve months: ‘a key part of Hermes’ strategy is ‘stewardship’, i.e. being completely accountable and responsible for all that they invest in’.

Nusseibeh predicts that attitudes to environmental and social governance will be a key measure of a company’s development and growth over the next year.

Tube-riding home, I read through their survey ‘Responsible Capitalism’.

Statistics peppered each page but in keeping with what I had witnessed at the event all day, they weren’t measures of company growth or consumer confidence in the brand, but social statistics; figures illustrating female representation on boards, or diversity in the workplace, or energy efficiency. In the same vein as Bloomberg hosting a day long conference dedicated to good business, it was a sign of the times to see social impact highlighted on every page of a global asset management survey.

It is no longer the economy at one end and society at the other. As Nusseibeh said himself: ‘we own the economy, we all have a stake, we benefit and we lose out, our fate is in our own hands’.

By Dearbhla Gavin

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By Dearbhla Gavin

The Bloomberg Good Business Conference took place last Tuesday at Bloomberg HQ in London. As ‘good business’ is a relatively new phenomenon, many attendees were understandably cautious yet intrigued as to what to expect.

For me, having been with Horyou for a year now and having a working knowledge of concepts like ‘sustainability’ and ‘social impact’, it was music to my ears.

In his opening remarks, Head of Bloomberg Media Adam Freeman alluded to socially conscious business and values driven behavior, all concepts so familiar to me. I thought it could be our Horyou CEO Yonathan Parienti up on the podium and immediately felt that not only would I learn a lot but possibly be able to contribute to discussions throughout the day.

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There was a diverse mix of panelists representing the full spectrum of industry, from social entrepreneurs to sustainability and from big corporations officers to professors; there were truly interactive and multidisciplinary discussions.

Rupert Younger, Director of the Oxford University Centre for Corporate Reputation highlighted the importance of this interactive diversity, stating that it’s the ‘connectivity of stakeholder groups’ that can facilitate progress.

Other topics included the role of Government and policy in facilitating good business, the evolution of Formula E, harnessing new technology in motorsport and, my favorite of the day, how to attract and retain millennial talent.

As I technically come under the umbrella of ‘millennial’ (born between the late 1980’s and 1990’s), I could relate to everything that the panel expressed but what’s more, the subjects discussed got me excited like someone starting out in a career.

The heads of recruitment from Barclays, SAP and Ernst and Young gave their account on how they had to rapidly reform not only their recruitment policy but also the package that they offer to prospective employees in order to better compete with start-ups over attracting talent.

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Steering away from straight A’s in favor of evidence of community participation, the panelist insistence went to factors like flexitime and opportunity to test out the water in other departments: all things that companies have to consider in the race for talent. I can vouch for myself and everyone I know in saying that millennials will not work the same way as the previous generations.

We don’t want a job where we’re living for the weekend, we want a purposeful career, whether it is us benefiting individually or society as a whole.

We think and talk about our jobs outside of the office and we’re willing to put in the extra hours if it means a task get done but in return we want to feel valued, be granted mobility to work out of office if so we want and anything else that will encourage us giving our 100%.

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Overall,I thought this whole event was something more than just another conference on a rainy day in London. Distinguished businessmen, academics and journalists who gather at one of the world’s leading business news organizations is nothing new but what made this event different is its agenda. Talk of “maximizing profit” was replaced by “ESG” (environmental social governance) and “Dividends to shareholders” was replaced by “returns to society”.

This may all sound very Utopian; will CEO’s and shareholders really reform their bottom line and forgo monetary profits for doing good in society? The answer is surely yet to be found.

However, one of the main takeaways of the day was that it is not a zero sum game and there doesn’t need to be a choice. Doing good is actually good for business. The next generation of consumer and investor is demanding more from a company. They will give their support only to those who can show they are making a positive impact on society, whether they are choosing a more environment friendly way of doing business or simply are being more transparent with their workforce. Garnering clear support from stakeholders across all industry, the Bloomberg Good Business Conference was truly a sign of the times. It will take a concerted effort to make change but the will is there. I look forward to seeing how far we’ve come at the next BGBC.

Action 1 - GalileoMobile2_copy

Each day we see the wonderful work of our Members, Personalities and Organizations on the Horyou platform. They are always Ready to Act! This week, we highlight the work and actions of great Organizations from Switzerland, Benin and Brazil.

Taking Astronomy to the World

Organization: GalileoMobile Location: Switzerland

The GalileoMobile is a non-profit organization. It is a science education initiative with the goal of bringing modern astronomy close to young people around the world. Created in 2009 with inspiration from the International Year of Astronomy 2009 it is currently run by astronomers, educators and science communicators. The initiative is six years old this year. This action post tells the story of its many inspiring achievements over the years, mainly in connecting people across South America. Discover this action post here.

By Amma Aburam

Action2 - L’Association Défis des Jeunes pour le Développement copy

Le Noel des enfants pour la paix

Organisation: L’Association Défis des Jeunes pour le Développement Lieu: Bénin

L’Association Défis des Jeunes pour le Développement a été créée dans le but de lutter contre la pauvreté et surtout de soutenir les jeunes dans l’accomplissement de leur devoir de pousser le Bénin vers l’avant. L’association répond aux besoins pour l’amélioration des conditions de vie dans l’économie, l’éducation, la culture, l’environnement et bien d’autres domaines. Leur action de cette semaine est en lien avec l’approche de la saison de Noël. Le Noël des enfants pour la paix en est sur sa cinquième Edition cette année. Le but de l’évènement est de créer un lieu de rencontre et d’animation pour les enfants et les jeunes qui n’ont pas la chance de fêter Noël comme ils le devraient. Découvrez et contribuez à cette action ici.

Par Amma Aburam

Action 3 Centro Social João da Costa -_copy

Reciclar e reutilizar são dois dos 5 R’s da Sustentabilidade

Organização: Centro Social João da Costa Localização: Brasil

O Centro Social João da Costa existe há mais de 40 anos no Brasil. A instituição busca favorecer a formação integral do indivíduo com o compromisso de garantir prioridades socioeducativas voltadas para a promoção dos direitos de cidadania às crianças, adolescentes, jovens e adultos da comunidade e adjacências. Uma das atividades do Centro Social Dom João Costa é a oficina de Puff, que tem o intuito de ajudar o meio ambiente, retirando da natureza seus agentes prejudiciais e ao mesmo tempo, levar alegria e conforto paras as famílias que utilizam o produto. Para saber mais clique aqui.

Por Edriana Oliveira Major

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