SnO events

27 June 2015

HEC Paris@ExpoMilano 2015

  • When: 27/06/2015
  • Where: Milano

HEC Paris in Italy, Feeding the Planet

On June 27th, HEC Paris held a round table on "Inclusive economy and corporations: next steps ?" at the Pavilion France for the occasion of Expo Milano 2015.

Over the years, HEC Paris has multiplied its initiatives in sustainable development and societal innovation. Students and professors have been engaging in more and more BoP-related and social business missions, case studies and academic research have been refocused. The Society and Organizations interdisciplinary Center (SnO) has been created to reunite and enable such work at HEC Paris: quite a good reason to enroll in the conferences’ calendar run by the Pavilion France during the Expo Milano 2015!

Organized by the HEC Paris International department, thanks to HEC Paris Chair Social Business/Enterprise and Poverty , and its executive director Bénédicte Faivre-Tavignot (H.88), also co-director of the SnO, the roundtable gathered a very committed and skillful panel composed of academics, businessmen, leaders in international organizations and NGOs: Corinne Bazina, General Director, Danone communities; Andrea Goldstein, head of Global Relations, OECD Investment Division; Philippe Levêque (H.82) General Director, CARE France; and Maurizio Zollo, Director Chair of Strategy and Sustainability, Bocconi University. Federico Leardini, from sky TV in Milan has moderated the debate.

According to the World Food Programme, more than 800 million people are undernourished in the world today. One in six children (100 million!) is underweight in the developing world. What is going to happen in 2050 when the world population will surpass 10 billion people?

Andrea Goldstein and Bénédicte Faivre-Tavignot painted a very detailed and accurate picture of the situation: What are the current facts and figures? What are Sustainable Development and Social Business? These two words popularized by Muhammad Yunus, and seemingly contradictory, have come a long way.

The round table then tackled the issue at the heart of the debate: have the social business initiatives carried out by NGOs and some large companies finally convinced managers and CEOs to go towards new business models? How can we replicate these hybrid models on a larger scale?

The real issue remains the scaling! How to convince the CEOs to make changes to the model? A hybrid model allows a company to merge both economic and social purposes. “We are talking about the necessity of a shift , says Maurizio Zollo. It took about 15 years for managers and CEOs to reach awareness and social responsibility. They know today that hybrid models can generate sharable value. More and more companies are aware that sustainability is a means to reduce costs ." The question still remains for food and for all sectors: how to bring about the shift? “I must say that academics and experts still do not know what could be the incentives to go toward these changes, what would be the appropriate marketing and sales or control processes… But we know for sure that we must continue with experimenting and measuring, to understand how to scale up and go towards innovating business models.

Governments have a great duty , recalls Andrea Goldstein, and the responsibility of future choices to help the Sustainable Developments Goals (SDG). 84 goals today, maybe it is too much. Nevertheless the Charter of Milan is being written and signed, and from the coming week in Addis Ababa (July 13th-16th, the Third International Conference on Financing for Development), till COP21 in Paris (30thNov-11th Dec, 21st Conference of the Parties on Climate Change), the Planet is at the very heart of all concerns, with a very busy and challenging agenda!


The Case of Grameen Danone Foods LTD. (GDFL)


Presented by Corinne Bazina, is a fantastic achievement.

In the food sector, in most Asian countries or in Africa, one of the challenges is to give a new product to the local market that’s good and affordable enough to better nourish the children: “We created the yogurt Shokti+, full of vitamins and minerals. The second challenge is social and environmental impact and creating a whole value chain. GDFL succeeded in creating local stable employment. Today Shokti+ is being sold by a network of 800 women. This non-classic Business Model has made its proof. A second step is underway which aims to make individuals grow and create small enterprises ”.

The companies today are also beginning to have a different perception of their role in society, says Bénédicte Faivre-Tavignot. In emerging markets, what they foresee in these small and local experiments that create value is a new development potential. Another example comes from Bel, which used to produce in Vietnam 25,000 tons of dairy products in large factories, and is now experimenting with small implantations generating 1,500 tons.


This article was originally published by HEC - Hommes & Commerce Magazine

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