Collaborating for a Better Future

Doing Good and Doing Well celebrates 10th anniversary



Some 550 people gathered on IESE’s Barcelona campus on Friday and Saturday for the 10th Doing Good and Doing Well conference. This year the theme of the annual student-run conference, which focuses on responsible business practices, social entrepreneurship and sustainability, was "The Power of Collaborative Advantage."

Some 104 speakers took part and there were 15 panel sessions as well as a collaborative fashion competition and the Cleantech competition in which entrepreneurs with proposals for clean technology get to pitch to venture capitalists.

Among the keynote speakers was Laurent Freixe, executive vice president of Nestlé Europe, who spoke via a video link-up on "Water Scarcity: Paramount Problem for the Food Industry." He said that in recent years, "it has become commonplace to criticize the European Union for its slow economic growth, lagging competitiveness and bureaucracy. But this negative perception, without denying the challenging European environment, should not lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy."

"Every crisis is an invitation to fundamentally rethink our ways of working," said Freixe. EU members must agree on the long-term targets, objectives and reforms for creating economic and social development, he said. "In that sense, I strongly defend the Commission's "Europe 2020" vision for smart and sustainable growth as a starting point. This is a vision that I am convinced the rest of the world will embrace sooner or later."

Another speaker was Douglas Tompkins who, while he made his name by creating The North Face brand of outdoor clothing, is equally well known for his conservation work in protecting wilderness areas in Chile and Argentina. The theme of his talk was "The Next Economy: from Globalization to Eco-Localization."

Economics and the environment are one and the same, he said. "What is good for the world is good for us, not the other way round. Growth is a dead end street."

He argued that beauty is intrinsic to the ecological paradigm and that aesthetics inform everything we do. "Beauty is the essential notion," he said.
He added that we must demystify the dogma that technology is our savior and we shouldn’t just welcome all technologies without considering their impact on culture. "It is impossible to determine what the carbon footprint of a mobile phone is," he said.

As part of the 6th Cleantech Venture Forum, 11 companies from around the world pitched their business ideas in front of 10 of the biggest venture capitalist funds in Europe. The VCs gave first prize to the Norwegian firm Graphene Batteries, with the Switzerland-based ActLight coming second. Venture Capitalist funds represented on the jury manage more than €3 billion in investments and the cleantech entrepreneurs were seeking a total of €14 million in funding.

In the social investment competition, sponsored by CaixaBank, five teams from the Oxford, IESE, ESADE, HEC and INSEAD business schools and 10 venture capitalists judged the pitches made by five social entrepreneurs from Spain, Switzerland and the UK. The teams from from Oxford and IESE who were joint winners.

In the Collaborative Fashion Competition nine teams, including seven from IESE, competed for the chance to implement their project in collaboration Intermon Oxfam and Hoss Intropia.