EADA Annual Meeting 2024, the event of the year to generate positive impact from the business field

15 April 2024

EADA Business School has once again held its annual event, the EADA Annual Meeting, which in its 2024 edition featured a theme that calls for action: Reskill to Regenerate, time to readapt to generate positive impact.

On April 12, the Palau de Congressos de Barcelona recovered the spirit of the event of the year with the EADA Annual Meeting 2024, which achieved great attendance by having more than 1,000 professionals, authorities, collaborators, representatives of the ecosystem of the business sustainability, the Alumni community and the EADA team, who came together for a new time of regeneration and positive impact from companies for the common good.

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In the run-up to the event, Toni Martín, International Masters Assistant at EADA, interviewed various people in the vicinity of the Palau de Congressos, such as Bibiana Camba, director of International Development; Mariana Arango, Alumni coordinator; Virginia Sola and Melissa Handley, heads of Careers and Talent; Luisa Bonilla, corporate manager; Bárbara Viamonte, Generación Digital Pymes program manager and, finally, Ramon Noguera, academic director of EADA Business School. The feeling of all these people interviewed was that, indeed, we are facing a new time not only for EADA, but for the planet.

The event starts with the new EADA

Arriving at the beginning of the ceremony, the host of the gala, Aina Calpe, welcomed the attendees and interviewed, first of all, the Dean and General Director of EADA, Dr. Jordi Díaz, who defined the meeting as “pure emotion”, to then highlight the achievements of the institution in recent times, with the development of new training programs – such as the first university degree – and a second campus in the city of Barcelona at Provença 216, without losing of view those global challenges that should be faced from a positive impact based on three keys: ambition, commitment and scope, in order to help more people make better decisions for the benefit of the entire population.

The main presentation on what young people think about the challenges of the future

Next, Dr. Julia Wolny, impact director of EADA's Sustainability Hub, professor of Responsible Marketing and leader of the Youth Talks Project in Spain, precisely presented the results and reflections on the global Youth Talks survey carried out a few months ago. to young people aged 15 to 29 from 212 countries. It is an ambitious study that achieved 45,000 responses and from whose reflections emerged more than a million ideas that were processed through AI tools to extract the patterns that mark their global behaviour and place them, with their opinions and concerns, as active agents for change. According to the study, youth are mainly interested in world peace and the environment. Wolny invited the audience to analyse these results “to better understand the expectations” of that population group, capital for their future and ours.

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First discussion table: Business and Positive Impact

Empresa e impacto positivo

Next, it was the turn of the first panel discussion, moderated by Dr. Federica Massa-Saluzzo, director of the international Masters in Sustainability and Innovation and member of the Sustainability HUB of EADA Business School. Together with her, Tatiana Fernández, Head of Economic Strategy of the Generalitat of Catalonia, debated “Business and positive impact”; Raimon Puigjaner, co-founder and president of B-Lab Spain and Tim Eaves, president of Conscious Capitalism Spain.

For Fernández, the public system must adapt its mental frameworks and governments must understand that the current challenges, very important, will not be able to be solved with traditional plans, but rather require “changes at all levels from many different actors.”, for example in “food, energy, mobility...”. The political class alone will not be able to carry them out, so “skills” are needed to deal with conflicts and build alliances “with the business community and citizens.”

For his part, Puigjaner warned that “awareness” is needed in the private sector, since not adapting to changes represents “a greater risk.” For the head of B-Lab Spain, “the transformation in organizations must be based on talent and adapt to innovation and the importance of data.” In his opinion, “you have to trust good projects” and people “with good intentions and commitment.”

Finally, Eaves proposed the creation of a map to create positive impact, recognizing that “you have to be brave to say no and to bet on other things.” “We have to look in the mirror,” he suggested.

The WeWhale project: An entrepreneur in favour of environmental sustainability and profitability

After the end of this first discussion table, we learned about the experience carried out by Janek Andre, EADA alumni and head of the WeWhale project. Janek presented his initiative first with a video of the work of his organization and, later, with his own testimony before the people gathered at the Palau de Congressos. Andre warned about bad practice in the sighting of marine animals in their environment since there are more than three thousand old boats around the world that acoustically and environmentally pollute the seas and oceans. In his place, Andre is betting from his organization on hybrid or electric boats powered by clean energy, silent, to make the sightings “more responsible.”

Second discussion table: Forms of business impact

Formas de impacto empresarial

Subsequently, the second discussion table began, moderated by Dr. Desirée Knoppen, director of the Sustainability PAD and member of the Sustainability HUB of EADA Business School, which included Mario Rovirosa, CEO of Ferrer; Oriol Pinya, founding partner of Abac Capital, and Aurora Catà, vice president of the America's Cup.

Under the title “Forms of positive impact”, Knoppen stated that the environmental challenges are enormous, as are the commitment to decarbonization, double materiality in ESG and the restoration of ecosystems by the companies involved. Rovirosa took the floor to highlight that Ferrer's purpose is to “work with companies that have a positive impact on their environment.” In the case of Ferrer, this commitment to regenerating ecosystems and beaches, has several hectares of urban gardens to reduce carbon dioxide and hires people with different abilities while carrying out projects with vulnerable groups.

Next, Pinya stressed the importance of the “meanwhile”, that is, dealing with the brown economy while making the move to a green economy. Everything happens, according to the head of Abac Capital, by “improving and investing in companies and making them more sustainable, defining the purpose and aligning it with the Sustainable Development Goals and having an action plan.”

Finally, Catà highlighted that the America's Cup in Barcelona will be a sustainable event in which “technological innovations are being promoted to reduce the negative impact and generate a positive impact”, such as the use of green hydrogen as an affordable and accessible fuel, or a women-only regatta. Ultimately, according to the vice president of this competition, it is about communicating from the America's Cup that "sustainability is a duty and that reducing the impact is feasible and accessible to everyone."

Presentation of the new EADA Alumni Circular Community

After the last panel discussion, Zannetta Zannettou, EADA alumni and Admissions Advisor for the international programs, presented the new EADA Alumni circular community and showed the application specially designed for this community, with a presence all over the world, being able to stay connected regardless of the distance, with updated content, groups, events and special programs, as well as merchandising and a benefits program.

Closing of the event with a collective activity of the Community

With the presentation of this new App came the farewell by inviting the public using light sticks that, under the motto Reskill to Regenerate, would give way to a disruptive artistic show by the group Brodas Bros.

Different firms have made this meeting possible through their collaboration: