Tag: Sustainability

Profitable sustainability is not a cakewalk

Profitable sustainability is not a cakewalk

How to draw a roadmap to sustainable business

Cashflow is the lifeblood of every business. Most companies cannot afford to look beyond profitability in the short run. But sometimes you just gotta to give. Strategic planners with foresight recognise the attractive returns of social responsibility, despite reaping returns more in the long run.

What leads you to sustainable development goals? Which stakeholder plays a crucial role in the value chain? There are four primary value chain components that stand out in a strategic sustainability business model:

The Product

Produce goods and deliver services sustainably and profitably. How? By taking in consideration three sustainable components: 1) working conditions, 2) raw materials and 3) environmental performance.

Take for example Mondi Group, the paper and packaging company. Recently, the international organisation rolled out its sustainability strategy program. This complicated process involves all the company stakeholders and requires thorough due diligence on Mondi’s vast supplier network spread across 30 countries.

Also, Mondi’s sustainability policies and management systems focus on key global trends affecting society and business, including:

  • modern slavery and unsavoury working conditions;
  • ethical sourcing of raw materials;
  • reducing deforestation through forest-friendly policies such as the Growing Responsibly Model.

You may be interested to know how to conduct Due Diligence for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas. Learn about the OECD Guidelines.

The Employee

Staff play a fundamental role as CSR-ambassadors. Notably, the Millennial generation (born 1980-2000) tend to adopt socially responsible values. As you already know, engaged employees who relate with the company values tend to perform better and push profits to upper levels.

Large organisations such as Mondi plc take more time and effort to implement and adapt revised changes to business operations. The effort to meet profitable sustainability objectives comes at a high cost – bigger budget allocations to human resource for staff training as well the marketing department. The organisation`s social responsibility marketing strategy weighs heavy on communication and carefully orchestrated campaigns. Company resources are largely funded to promote the means and ends of sustainable profitability measures within internal and external business operations.

The Customer

You cannot ignore the rising demands for sustainable products and services.

Mondi plc recognises this.

Customers in Europe respond more to climate change management and environmental efficiency and are likely to have the means to pay for biodegradable packaging. Whereas the customers in Africa refer to sustainability as a way to save cost for maximum output in Africa.

I wonder how Mondi tackles the dilemma of producing quality environmentally friendly paper and packaging at affordable prices.  Perhaps you can tell me.

There are multiple ways to engage with existing and potential customers. Social Media is a great medium to listen and obtain direct feedback from customers. You need to keep your green enthusiasts happy. Brand loyalty is key, which brings me to the subject of branding.

The Brand

Throughout my childhood, Mama reminded me and my siblings not to boast. I try not to blow my own trumpet excessively and prefer others to do it for me. Funny enough, this applies to companies as well.

Organisations cannot rely only on public relations and advertising to boost their brand cred. There are sneakier methods to increase brand awareness. Carefully embedding sustainability values into the mission statement is one way to develop’CSR programs, collaborate with socially responsible advocates and Aphropean Partners to consult on sustainability marketing campaigns.

Take care of the planet and people for profits

The private sector is in a prime position to make a real impact in the way we live our lives today and in the future. Social entrepreneurs tend to tie sustainability to the mission and value proposition. Larger organisations will more or less be forced to view sustainability in the same light as quality. The recent international standards demand a sustainable approach to its value chain for profits in the long run.

Who says it is easy to create a path of profitable sustainability? Or sustainable profits? The aim to sustain a competitive advantage in the long run while taking care of the people and planet.

Corporate Pledge for International Development

Corporate Pledge for International Development

Business for international development

I never thought I would become a fan-girl of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) tedious development process and its Byzantine application. But the recent conference hosted by the IAEA convinced me otherwise by addressing the role of business and partnerships for sustainable development.

The International Conference on the IAEA Technical Cooperation Programme held on 30 May – 1 June in Vienna highlighted numerous achieved cases and future perspectives of the Technical Cooperation Programme in agribusiness, energy, environment and health for developing countries.

Of course, there was a multitude of stodgy senior civil servants waffling about the status quo; those sessions are inevitable in the United Nations establishment. But, what made the event significant, were the companies invited to present their specific nuclear application in collaboration with the IAEA to meet profitable and sustainable developments in developing countries across the globe.

Companies such as ThermoFisher and ELEKTA and many others emerged as real stars of the conference by demonstrating corporate social responsibility without jeopardising the bottom line.

Since we are on the topic of corporate social responsibility, I ask you to save the date for the next series of #FOD17 Frontiers of Dialogue on Thursday, 7 September 2017. We have invited a multidisciplinary panel of distinguished practitioners to discuss CSR across Borders: Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. Click here for more details.

In the coming weeks, I will keep you posted on the upcoming #FOD17 theme of business opportunities with effective impact solutions in Africa’s emerging markets.

How Business Regulates Migration

How Business Regulates Migration

The private sector’s capacity to regulate migration 

Migration is a key driver of sustainable development in all aspects of our lives. And yet, most governments across Europe and the USA shun away from publically announcing integration initiatives to avoid political discontent.

Unnecessary time and money are wasted on policies to stem migration which will only encourage human smugglers and benefit business who employ undocumented migrants and refugees to avoid complying with existing pay and working conditions.

Civil societies and think tanks have been servicing governments with data, insights and proposals. In recent years, social enterprises and CSR-driving initiatives have emerged to absorb the migration flow. Take for example the Hotel Magdas in Vienna, which offer jobs and training to multilingual ex-refugees. Other exemplary companies among many, which offer internships and scholarships to young migrants are Siemens, the Deutsche Telekom and Bosch Group.

Meanwhile, there is a number but enough recruitment agencies specialising in trending jobs for refugees such as cleaning, mechanical engineering and nursing.

Shrinking Europe. Expanding Africa

Did you know that in the 1950’s, Italy had a population size of 47 million and Nigeria less than 30 million? Fast forward to present times, Italy expanded to 60 million and Nigeria to a whopping 180 million people.

Despite the proximity to Europe and Africa, both continents face contrary issues regarding population and economic lifecycle. In Europe, it appears that people are giving up on sex. Despite a rising life expectancy, the average population are too busy to procreate. Africa seems to demonstrate the correlation between being idle, low life expectancy and increasing fertility rate; so much so that most of the continent may not be able to create enough jobs to absorb emerging talents.

What can businesses in Europe do to help reverse the exodus?

Civil societies, governments and businesses in Europe need to collude in finding solutions to absorb the migration flow. Creating a gated European community will not work in the long run. A more proactive approach, among others, would be to incentivise CSR initiatives that extend beyond borders.

We already know the reasons for the migration phenomenon including consistent climate change and people wanting a better life without having to shed blood, etc.

Small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurs can help with inventions and profit from supplying sustainable goods and services, such as cleantech solutions, low-cost off-grid energy generators and overall skill development to empower the youths in developing countries.

Multinationals have the corporate muscle to contribute to sustainable economic development, and to improve the quality of life for employees, their families, their communities at home and beyond borders.

According to Alessandro Cenderello, Managing Director of Ernst & Young Europe: “If managed well, migration can play a decisive role in economic development and civil society. Many economists argue that migration presents a potential solution to the impending challenge of Europe’s ageing population. [..] Furthermore, the inflow of new talent and skills can stimulate growth in entrepreneurship and the establishment of new businesses, as evidenced in North America and elsewhere.” You can read more about the EY perspective by clicking here.

Throughout the history of humanity, the migration phenomenon had a tendency to ebb and flow. Back then, immigration was controlled by integration through the help of a Marshall plan, assistance of neighbours, balance of education and welfare. Just think of Ireland, Singapore and Hong Kong.

It’s just my view. An Aphropean View.

Making Profit & Sense of Sustainable Agriculture

Making Profit & Sense of Sustainable Agriculture


Thursday 9 November 2017, 18:30-21:30, Salon Razumovsky, Vienna


At this Frontiers of Dialogue (#FOD17), we are hosting a conference involving academia, civil society, the public and private sector at large across the whole agricultural value chain, which special focus on Making Profit And Sense Of Sustainable Agriculture in Africa.

WHEN? Thursday 9 November 2017

WHERE IS IT? Salon Razumovsky, Jacquingasse 56, 1030 Wien


  • To encourage meaningful dialogue and effective participation;
  • To provide concrete food for thought;
  • To highlight CSR initiatives and sustainable development programs in Africa;
  • To create opportunities to network within sector of interest;
  • To foster intercontinental economic cooperation and business partnerships.


  • TBD

Professionals and peers share a mutual interest in international trade and relations: entrepreneurs, executives, consultants, academics and the curious.

We place emphasis on promoting intercontinental experts and thought leaders based in Austria.


An exclusive and engaging panel discussion with four speakers moderated by the host to address key themes of intercontinental relevance.

The event ambience is in an intimate and international setting including:

  • Language: English 
  • Education: 60mins interactive panel discussion and 30mins Q&A
  • Entertainment: drinks and snacks, music during networking period
  • Price  €10 (students) – €20 (standard) including hors d’oeuvres and drinks (wine, beer, water, juice).


18:30 – 18:00    Registration, Welcome drinks
18:00 – 19:00    Panel Discussion
19:00 – 19:30    Q&A
19:30 – 22:00    Networking, Connecting and Socialise


#FOD17 Frontiers of Dialogue is an event series for entrepreneurs, executives and professionals exploring the opportunities in Africa’s emerging markets. A panel of leaders of thought and practice exchange views on matters concerning business, technology and current affairs in the context of profitable sustainability.

Frontiers of Dialogue helps to expand the understanding of the African consumer, their needs and trends. Participants interact and build relations to actively engage on the internationalisation of their business to the top economies of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Previous topics of #FOD17 included:
Mastering Disruptive Innovation and Technology (March 2017)
Driving Environmental Performance with Technology (May 2017)

Rita Isiba, Aphropean Partner

Rita Isiba, Aphropean Partner

Rita Isiba, Aphropean PartnersI am Rita Isiba, founder of Aphropean Partners,  a marketing professional specialising in sustainability, an advocate of corporate social responsibility and best known as the brainchild of #FOD17 Frontiers of Dialogue, an event series to bridge Africa’s emerging markets with DACH region based SMEs.

Through my professional life, I have supported organisations from different sectors across Africa and Europe. I have crafted a broad base of expertise that helps organisations formulate sustainability into business strategy and performance evaluation.

I combine my deep interest in global business, emerging technology and current international affairs to monitor market trends in consideration of social, economic and environmental dimensions. This certainly helps to manage and promote sustainability-driven projects that meet the bottom line.

In 2016, I ventured out to establish Aphropean Partners based on the realisation of Europe’s increasing appetite to expand beyond continental borders. I cater particularly for the German-speaking region of interest to trade sustainability solutions suitable for Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda.

In response to the rising demands of enterprises in Europe seeking to grab a share of Africa’s emerging markets, I engage with stakeholders by:

  • Conducting market analysis on and off site;
  • Promoting sustainable products and services;
  • Providing business development activities.

Through various marketing channels, I share #AphropeanViews (news) on the developments in business, technology and current affairs.

And I curate events.

You may have heard or attended #FOD17 Frontiers of Dialogue, an event series featuring distinguished panellists, who provide market insights, technical know-how and research evidence with focus on profitable sustainability initiatives.

I am certified in Knowledge Management, Peacebuilding & Conflict Resolution, Equality & Diversity. Also, I hold a combined Bachelor of Science Degree in Business and European Studies from the University of Hertfordshire, Postgraduate Certificate in Business Administration and Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Edinburgh Business School, UK.

In my personal time, I volunteer my expertise as a consultant in strategic planning and operations management to NIDO Europe, a non-governmental organisation in pursuit of Nigeria’s national development. Also, I am a member of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber

I consider myself as an amateur anthropologist and love to travel and explore cultures and food.

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ritaisiba/


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