For two weeks we had more than 40 sessions, 30 companies, 300 people and 60 speakers on the Carcavelos campus - the first edition of Nova SBE Sustainability Journey, a collection of educational programmes, events, conferences and debates dedicated to sustainability, came to an end this Friday. However, the school's sustainable journey is only beginning.

Here are some highlights of the last day of the event:


"We wanted to show the state of the oceans today - that's why you saw whales playing with trash"

The Sustainable Collisions Talks, promoted by Nova SBE Innovation Ecosystem, once again had a full house, this time to debate how technology and innovation can save the oceans. The session Tangible Dreams: living from the deep ocean to outer space featured two legends of ocean exploration: Fabien Cousteau, Chief Oceanic Explorer and Co-founder of the Proteus Ocean Group, and Jacques Rougerie, creator of the Jacques Rougerie Foundation.

"I dream about a day where we treat the ocean with the same curiosity that we treat Space", said Fabien Cousteau, while presenting the Proteus project, dedicated to marine research, aspiring to be "an underwater International Space Station". This ambitious project, which promises to revolutionise the way we see and study the oceans, may be inaugurated as early as 2025 and is expected to have its first mission in 2026.

"Proteus is an opportunity to live in our ocean, to understand it, protect it, and help restore it."

Jacques Rougerie expressed his admiration for the venture and recalled that "the ocean is the heart of life on Earth", but left the warning for when initiatives like this bring the population closer to the underwater world: "people cannot make the same mistakes they made on the surface".

James Honeyborne, Creative Director of Freeborne Media & Wild Space, whose CV includes productions for the BBC and Netflix, had the role of moderating the session and made it clear that "the real issues facing the oceans are presenting themselves everywhere" and that he has never hidden the truth in any of his documentaries:

"We wanted to show the state of the oceans today - that's why they saw whales playing with trash."

However, he left a hopeful note: "when we show people a tangible problem, they respond and want to make things better".


"COVID-19 has accelerated the path to sustainable leadership"

Laila Pawlack, Cofounder and CEO of Rehumanize Institute and SingularityU Nordic, focused on Impact Leadership and the importance of shifting paradigms to be able to implement responsible, purpose-driven business:

"[During the pandemic] we realised that the world could be different. Many people were not happy when they realised what they were really doing.They want to be part of something meaningful."

The responsible economics expert stressed that "the future we create depends on the challenges we dare to face today" and warned all those who delay the changes that need to be implemented for tomorrow: "Today is the slowest it will ever be".


"A tsunami is coming and if we don't change we will die"

"Why is sustainability not generating the buzz it should?", Nadim Habib, Assistant Professor at Nova SBE, began by asking. For three reasons:

"The first one is very simple: organisations don't like change. [...] The second is the long term / short term argument - I assure you that companies don't look at the long term. And the third is measurement versus maturity - we don't have enough technological maturity to have reliable data on whether what we are doing is right."

The Professor also warned that the change to more sustainable businesses will have to happen sooner rather than later, because "a tsunami is coming and if we do not change we will die". This giant wave "comes from the market and not from the government", because the new generation of consumers, shareholders and talent will always opt for companies that have a future and purpose, and these will always be sustainable.


"Sustainable Leadership Performance

Can we learn about leadership through dance? John Michael Schert, Founder of JMS and Company, starred in one of the most inspiring moments of the day, embodying the role of a leader, alongside dancer Brett Perry, and demonstrating how leadership styles can affect employee performance.


"Get everyone together. There must be radical collaboration!"

The last debate of Nova SBE Sustainability Journey counted with representatives from three different sectors: public, private and education. Daniel Traça, Dean of Nova School of Business & Economics, exchanged views with Nuno Lacasta, CEO of APA - Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente, and Madalena Tomé, from SIBS, and assured that the three distinct universes should come together to create solutions for a more sustainable world.

"Let's get everyone together and find solutions. There is still a certain resistance in Portugal to the private sector and government working together, but that's where universities can play a role," said Dean, who believes schools can be hubs of innovation and knowledge, as well as aggregation links between the two universes. "Bring everybody together. There has to be radical collaboration."

Madalena Tomé agreed and added that to promote sustainability, "we need to have a strong individual commitment to these goals".

Nuno Lacasta stressed that the necessary changes must "be made quickly. A decade will be too late for some ecosystems".


Nova SBE Role to Play Awards

The closing ceremony of the Nova SBE Sustainability Journey included the first edition of the Nova SBE Role to Play Awards, which distinguished some precious contributions to sustainability in the year 2021.

The Impactaful Alumni award was given to João Rafale Brites, Director of Growth and Innovation at How Good, while the award for PHD Student Thesis 2021 was given to Eduardo Costa, for his work entitled "Essays on Health Economics". The distinction for Corporate Partner Initiative 2021 was awarded to the Amélia de Mello Foundation, for the 40 years of collaboration with Nova SBE to offer teaching grants.

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