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La Trobe Business School

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LBS Innovation Series: Cities that feed our planet

Serena Lee and Geert Hendrix from Farmwall gave a presentation during the 2018 Innovation in Food and Agribusiness Forum (IFAF) showing how their aquaponic vertical garden is turning cities into food producing ecosystems that positively impact the environment and inspire others to do the same.

About Farmwall

Farmwall is an agrifood-tech start-up that designs urban farming technology and experiences to enhance fresh produce accessibility in the city. The company’s flagship product is the Farmwall – a small-scale indoor farm the size of a bookcase that grows and stores microgreens, herbs and leafy greens in a nicely designed natural ecosystem, eliminating packaging waste and food miles. Every Farmwall has a gut made of clay balls, which keeps all the good bacteria in balance and allows the food to grow naturally, without enclosing or sterilising it. There are fish at the bottom of the Farmwall, creating a colourless gas called ammonia. The good bacteria transform this gas into nitrates for the plants. Farmwall leases the infrastructure on an end-to-end service model, based on a monthly subscription.

The Farmwall (Photo by Goodsmiths)
The Farmwall (Photo by Goodsmiths)

Cities that feed our planet

The delivery of sustainability is shifting through the rise of the experience economy, the push for health and wellness within our urban landscape, and innovations in AgTech. In their presentation, Farmwall showcases how a combination of technology and customer service can bring meaningful experiences through food, with positive social and environmental outcomes. The mindset of staying agile and embracing a disruptive business model has brought the start-up one step closer to their vision of creating “cities that feed our planet”.

Please enjoy Farmwall´s presentation.

This blog is part of the LBS Innovation Series, developed by Dr Mark Cloney, Professor of Practice in Economics at La Trobe Business School. 
 
More blogs in the LBS Innovation Series:
- LBS Innovation Series: Gaps to perfection
- LBS Innovation Series: Building a global business in a period of disruption
- LBS Innovation Series: Is the Australian agriculture sector ready to grow?
- LBS Innovation Series: Agtech – Agriculture’s Disrupter or Saviour?
- LBS Innovation Series: Crossing the Chasm – Agtech & innovation ecosystems
- LBS Innovation Series: Innovation and the Agribusiness Taskforce
- LBS Innovation Series: Supply challenges and consumer expectations
- LBS Innovation Series: Robotics and AI are coming your way
- LBS Innovation Series: Consumer trends and future foods
- LBS Innovation Series: The future of agricultural production systems

SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 9

Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

With over half the world population now living in cities, mass transport and renewable energy are becoming ever more important, as are the growth of new industries and information and communication technologies (SDG Fund, 2019).

The facts

Industrialisation drives economic growth, creates job opportunities and thereby reduces income poverty. Innovation advances the technological capabilities of industrial sectors and prompts the development of new skills.  Infrastructure provides the basic physical systems and structures essential to the operation of a society or enterprise. Sustained investment in infrastructure and innovation are crucial drivers of economic growth and development. However, basic infrastructure like roads, information and communication technologies, sanitation, electrical power and water remains scarce in many developing countries (SDG Knowledge Platform, 2019).

At the moment, 2.3 billion people still lack access to basic sanitation. In some low-income African countries, infrastructure constraints cut businesses’ productivity by around 40 percent. Moreover, 2.6 billion people in developing countries do not have access to constant electricity, and more than 4 billion people still do not have access to the Internet – of which 90 percent are in the developing world. There are opportunities too. The renewable energy sectors currently employ more than 2.3 million people, which could reach 20 million by 2030. Also, in developing countries, barely 30 percent of agricultural products undergo industrial processing, compared to 98 percent high-income countries, which suggests that there are great opportunities for developing countries in agribusiness (UNDP, 2019).

The focus of SDG 9

The focus of sustainable development goal (SDG) 9 is to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation. These pillars all share the objective of achieving socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable economic development. Realizing SDG 9 by 2030 requires overcoming resource constraints, building and strengthening developing countries’ capacities, and exploring innovative ways to solve development challenges. SDG 9 has approximately 20 targets and indicators related to its three pillars and is closely linked to other SDGs related to job creation, sustainable livelihoods, improved health, technology and skills development, gender equality, food security, green technologies and climate change (SDG Knowledge Hub, 2019).

Implications for business

Ageing, degraded or non-existent infrastructure makes conducting good business challenging. Business relies on materials, resources, labour and service support from all corners of the world and the ability to access them efficiently is key to establishing new markets. Computing and technology-based skills are of significant value to most businesses today, and consumers of common goods and services live on every continent. However, basic infrastructure supporting technologies, communications, transportation, and sanitation that business relies on is not universally available, hindering economic growth and societal progress. Promoting sustainable industries, and investing in scientific research and innovation, are all important ways to facilitate sustainable development (SDG Fund, 2019).

Promoting innovation

More than 4 billion people still do not have access to the internet. Bridging this digital divide is crucial to ensure equal access to information and knowledge, and consequently foster innovation and entrepreneurship. This presents an opportunity for business. By committing to sustainable industrialization and promoting innovation across company operations, businesses can contribute to development efforts in the regions in which they operate through upgrading local infrastructure, investing in resilient energy and communications technologies, and making these technologies available to all people, including marginalized groups, who might not have access otherwise. Global companies can also promote inclusive infrastructure development by bringing valuable financial services and employment opportunities to smaller and/or minority-owned businesses (SDG Compass, 2019).

Delivering infrastructure

Leadership on SDG 9 represents a significant market opportunity for businesses in other ways too. For example, retrofits and installation of new infrastructure is a market worth $3.7 trillion annually. Delivering this infrastructure can allow businesses to access new markets for their products and services, as well as access to underserved labour markets and resources, while respecting international standards for environment and social impacts. The transition to a green, resilient industrial and infrastructure base globally represents a significant investment opportunity with large rewards for businesses that can position themselves at the leading edge of the sectors that must deliver it (SDG Blueprint for Business, 2017).

Interconnectedness to other SDGs

Action on SDG 9 is strongly interconnected with many other SDGs, most notably SDG 11 on sustainable cities and communities, and SDG 12 on responsible consumption and production. Efforts to create new opportunities for innovation and employment in developing countries directly relate to SDG 8. Infrastructure-dependent SDGs including those relating to food (SDG 2), water and sanitation (SDG 6), energy (SDG 7), and climate action (SDG 13) will also benefit from action on SDG 9. Leading action must be managed such that it does not risk exacerbating existing inequalities, or creating new ones, and so that it is not contributing to any form of corruption and violation of human rights that would negatively impact on a range of SDGs (SDG Blueprint for Business, 2017).

SDG Video

The video on SDG 9 is created by our CR3+ partner ISAE Brazilian Business School (ISAE). The video highlights two projects that are related to SDG 9. The first project is called Jardins de Mel, which involves placing bee boxes in areas such as parks, schools and community gardens. The project raises awareness about the environment, the contribution of insects to maintaining life, pollination and the importance of ecosystem services. The second project is a start-up from Curitiba in Brazil that used renewable energy technology to create a mini-plant that generates energy from water and then returns 100% of the water back to its source.

Please enjoy the presentation.

If you would like access to the full video to use in your teaching, please contact Dr Swati Nagpal.

This blog is part of the SDG Series, a series that focuses on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, in the lead up to the CR3+ Conference in October 2019. 

More blogs in the SDG Series:
- An introduction to the Sustainable Development Goals
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 1
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 2
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 3
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 4
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 5
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 6
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 7
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 8

LBS Rises through the Global Ranks

The first half of 2019 has not only seen LBS receiving its Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation but also saw us soar in some of the most important global rankings.

According to Times Higher Education (known for their THE World University Rankings) there are at least 20,000 higher education institutions in the world. Being ranked by university or subject in the top 1000 means belonging to the top 5% in the world (THE, 2018).

ARWU

The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) by ShanghaiRanking Consultancy is “the most widely used annual ranking of the world’s research universities” (The Economist cited in Downing & Ganotice Jr, 2017, p. 97).

Last week, ARWU ranked La Trobe Business School in the top 45 for Hospitality and Tourism Management (2019), in the top 400 for Business Administration (2019) and in the top 500 for Economics (2019) worldwide.

Hospitality and Tourism Management

LBS’ Bachelor of Business (Tourism and Hospitality) program has been developed over the last 15 years to meet the needs of graduate student employability, industry standards and university requirements.

Besides AACSB, the Hospitality and Tourism Management program is also accredited by the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) through the prestigious EFMD Programme Accreditation System (EPAS). Moreover, it has three other qualifications embedded: Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA), Responsible Service of Food (RSF, also known as Principles of Hygiene) and Galileo certification by Travelport – a leading industry-based travel agent group.

Business Newsroom asked Paul Strickland (Program Director – Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management) about the outstanding ARWU result for Hospitality and Tourism Management:

In the first year, students have a Work Integrated Learning (WIL) component in which they are trained and gain work experience at Mantra Bell City in Preston. This generally leads to employment in the hospitality sector immediately. Students then progress through second year and the 3rd year capstone subjects is Tourism and Hospitality Simulation where students form teams and simulate operating a hotel at senior management level.

The program also supports industry networking events, volunteering and career progression opportunities such as international study tours, exchanges and short programs. The New Colombo Plan funding has been a successful enhancement to assist students to achieve their goals and internationalise the program.

Also our research is embedded into the program. Numerous research books and texts have been developed by staff members and used in teaching globally. All these types of activities, working with industry and quality of research have contributed to our international rankings.

Paul Strickland (Program Director – Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management)

ARWU Methodology

In order to be ranked by ARWU, the university must have Nobel Laureates, Highly Cited Researchers or papers published in Nature or Science. Amount of papers indexed by Science Citation Index-Expanded (SCIE) and Social Science Citation Index (SSCI) are also included together with per capita academic performance. This leads to a total of 1200 universities of which the best 500 are being published.

Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) 2019 Hospitality & Tourism Management

QS World University Rankings

The QS World University Rankings, compiled by QS Quacquarelli Symonds, announced last week that La Trobe Business School’s Online MBA climbed 12 places to being number 32 in the world & number 3 in Australia in the QS Distance Online MBA Rankings (2019).

Dr Geraldine Kennett (La Trobe MBA Director) was interviewed by MBA News where she mentioned:

The strong improvement in the ranking over the last 12 months reflects an overhaul of the program and aligning more strongly to industry via its partners, including the Australian Ballet, National Gallery of Victoria, NORTH Link and the Melbourne Innovation Centre.

The MBA also underwent a comprehensive refresh recently and provides not only more relevant content, but also a range of options for delivery such as of face to face class options for online students so they have the opportunity to be part of the on-campus experience, meet colleagues and engage with lecturers.

Dr Geraldine Kennett (La Trobe MBA Director)

QS Methodology

Instead of focusing mainly on research outputs like ARWU, QS World University Rankings puts emphasis on a university’s reputation, from both an academic and employer perspective. They use six indicators: academic reputation, employer reputation, student-to-faculty ratio, citations per faculty, international faculty ratio and international student ratio (Downing & Ganotice Jr, 2017).

QS Online MBA Rankings 2019

Find out more information about our Bachelor of Business (Tourism & Hospitality) or La Trobe MBA.

References:
- Downing, K. & Ganotice Jr, F.A. (2017). World University Rankings and the Future of Higher Education. IGI Global. 
- MBA News (2019). Australian Online MBAs Score Global Top 50 Rankings in 2019. [link]

LBS Innovation Series: The future of agricultural production systems

At the 2018 Innovation in Food and Agribusiness Forum, Professor Tony Bacic, Director of the La Trobe Institute of Agriculture & Food, provided an overview of Australia’s agriculture sector, its research, production and institutional challenges, and global opportunities.

About Tony

Tony is internationally recognised as a leader in plant biotechnology. His research is focused on the structure, function and biosynthesis of plant cell walls and their biotechnological application as well as the application of functional genomics tools in biological systems.
From 1996 to 2017, Professor Bacic held a Personal Chair in the School of BioSciences at the University of Melbourne, was Leader of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls team at the University of Melbourne (2011-2017), and also spent time as Deputy Director of that Centre, and Director of the Plant Cell Biology Research Centre at the School of BioSciences. Tony is a current Board Member of the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. Tony is a James Cook University Outstanding Alumnus (2010) and a La Trobe University Distinguished Alumnus (2013).

La Trobe Institute of Agriculture & Food

Besides the future of agricultural production and science systems, Tony talks about the La Trobe Institute of Agriculture & Food (LIAF). The LIAF’s aim is to tackle the issues of growing enough food to meet future world demand and exploring the benefits of medicinal agriculture. This includes a focus on crop diversification and changing diets and research that considers the crop plant environment (e.g. Golden Soil), identifies innovative methods for improved production of specialty grains (e.g. Fit-for-Purpose Seeds) and develops enhanced nutritional quality and medicinal benefits (e.g. Quality Dietary Fibre and medical marijuana).

Please enjoy Tony’s presentation.



This blog is part of the LBS Innovation Series, developed by Dr Mark Cloney, Professor of Practice in Economics at La Trobe Business School. 

More blogs in the LBS Innovation Series:
- LBS Innovation Series: Gaps to perfection
- LBS Innovation Series: Building a global business in a period of disruption
- LBS Innovation Series: Is the Australian agriculture sector ready to grow?
- LBS Innovation Series: Agtech – Agriculture’s Disrupter or Saviour?
- LBS Innovation Series: Crossing the Chasm – Agtech & innovation ecosystems
- LBS Innovation Series: Innovation and the Agribusiness Taskforce
- LBS Innovation Series: Supply challenges and consumer expectations
- LBS Innovation Series: Robotics and AI are coming your way
- LBS Innovation Series: Consumer trends and future foods

LBS students to Indonesia for a Sustainable Tourism Professional Practicum

At the start of the year, several LBS students went to Indonesia for their Sustainable Tourism Professional Practicum (STPP). Indonesia has a thriving tourism industry. However, the industry faces issues relating to sustainability and resource management, and there is a need to develop more sustainable tourism practices.

ACICIS and STPP

The Australian Consortium for ‘In-Country’ Indonesian Studies (ACICIS – pronounced Ah-chee-chis, as an Indonesian would say it) is a non-profit international educational consortium that provides LBS students, particularly those enrolled in Tourism & Hospitality, the opportunity to undertake a STPP. Students gain, besides practical skills in hospitality, tourism and management, an understanding of the social, cultural and political systems that underpin the tourism industry in Indonesia.

The Sustainable Tourism Professional Practicum Program is a six-week study program, undertaken prior to the start of the Australian academic calendar year (January/February). Students can choose their preferred location and organisation, but all placements are built around or have sustainable principles in tourism.

New Colombo Plan

Students doing the STPP can also apply for the New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant (NCP), an initiative of the Australian Government, which supports Australian undergraduate students to gain work experience in Asia. LBS has managed to secure 5 NCP Mobility grants for 2019/2020, each worth $3000, to support eligible students on the program.

LBS students Jake and Rahul in Bali

Both Jake Richards and Rahul Kumar are Bachelor of Business students majoring in Tourism and Hospitality who went to Bali for their STPP. Jake, a second year student, worked at EcoBali where he learned about the importance of recycling, waste management and sustainable systems.

Watch Jake talking about his STPP experience

Rahul worked at Bloo Lagoon Eco Village where he developed the social networks of the organisation and supported housekeeping, front office and food & beverage departments. Asking Rahul about his STPP experience, he responded:

“This was my first professional practicum and I have learnt a lot of new things about the tourism and hotel industry, built my networks, gained confidence and greater cross-cultural understanding and inter-personal skills.”

Rahul Kumar

SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 8

Sustainable Development Goal 8 - decent work and economic growth

Over the past 25 years, the number of workers living in extreme poverty has declined dramatically, despite the long-lasting impact of the economic crisis of 2008/2009. In developing countries, the middle class now makes up more than 34 percent of total employment – a number that has almost tripled between 1991 and 2015. However, as the global economy continues to recover we are seeing slower growth, widening inequalities and employment that is not expanding fast enough to keep up with the growing labour force (SDG Fund, 2019).

The facts

The International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) 100th anniversary was commemorated in April this year at the UN Headquarters in New York, where the United Nations’ Global Assembly President María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés noted that, despite the 180 ILO conventions, ranging from gender equality to forced labour, “injustice is still a reality for millions”. Some of the figures are:

  • Over 40 million people today are victims of modern slavery, which is more than twice the number involved in the transatlantic slave trade.
  • Many more women than men are underutilized in the labour force – 85 million compared to 55 million.
  • 190 million people are unemployed worldwide, a third of whom are young.
  • 300 million people make up the working poor, half of whom are young.
  • Some 700 million workers lived in extreme or moderate poverty in 2018, with less than US$ 3.20 per day.
  • 2 billion people are engaged in informal work, often without social protections.

María stressed that issues of social justice will become “even more important” as the world of work changes (SDG Knowledge Hub, 2019; UNDP, 2019).

The focus of SDG 8

The focus of sustainable development goal eight (SDG 8) is to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. SDG 8 contains a number of targets indicating the type and scale of economic growth desired. These include ensuring economic growth is faster (at least seven per cent per year) in the least developed countries and requiring that the growth is aligned with development-oriented policies such as supporting start-ups and SMEs, the eradication of modern slavery, and the prioritisation of high quality jobs.

How can business be involved?

As employers, creating decent jobs is one of the fundamental ways in which businesses support economic growth and sustainable development, but it is also how companies support and drive their own future development.

What is decent work?

Decent work, as defined by the ILO, is work that is productive and delivers a fair income; security in the workplace; social protection for families; better prospects for personal development and social integration; freedom for people to express their concerns, organize and participate in the decisions that affect their lives; and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men (SDG Blueprint for Business, 2018).

UN Guiding Principles & SDG Blueprint for Business

A way of providing decent work is through the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights; a set of guidelines for States and companies to prevent, address and remedy human rights abuses committed in business operations (find the document here). Further, the SDG Blueprint for Business outlines four key ways that businesses can focus their actions on SDG8:

  • Support decent working conditions for all employees across the business and supply chains, with partnerships to build suppliers’ capacity to do the same.
  • Educate and train the labour force, focusing on vulnerable and economically disadvantaged groups.
  • Create decent formal-sector jobs in labour-intensive sectors, especially in least-developed countries.
  • Drive economic growth and productivity by investing in R&D, upgrading skills, and supporting growing businesses, in a way that is compatible with sustainable development.

SDG Video

The video below is created by our CR3+ partner Hanken School of Economics (Finland). The video focuses on the targets set for SDG 8. Firstly, the video features Professor Emeritus Jeff Hearn, Research Director of the GODESS Institute, a research and development institute that focuses on research areas of Gender, Organization, Diversity, Equality, and Social Sustainability in transnational times (Hanken, 2019). Jeff looks at “what is work?” and more importantly “what is decent work?”. Professor Emeritus Niklas Bruun, Chair of Board of the GODESS Institute, continues the discussion on decent work as outlined by the UN and explains the aims of the International Labour Organisation. Lastly, Charlotta Niemistö, Director of the GODESS Institute and Project Leader of Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WeAll), discusses sustainable economic growth and social and human sustainability.

Please enjoy the presentation.

If you would like access to the full video to use in your teaching, please contact Dr Swati Nagpal.

This blog is part of the SDG Series, a series that focuses on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, in the lead up to the CR3+ Conference in October 2019.
More blogs in the SDG Series:
- An introduction to the Sustainable Development Goals
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 1
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 2
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 3
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 4
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 5
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 6
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 7

Careers Fair Success in Bendigo

La Trobe Business School and La Trobe Law School jointly ran a very successful Careers Fair in Bendigo for local students to showcase the employment opportunities available within Bendigo.

The power of alumni

Firms in attendance actively looking for accounting students were MGR Accountants, Lead Advisory, AFS & Associates and Strategem Accountants. These four firms regularly provide internship and graduate employment opportunities to our local students and have done so for many years. The majority of staff representing the firms are alumni of LBS who completed an Accounting Work Placement with the firm, supervised by Dr Kate Ashman. As such, they are very keen to give back to the University whenever possible due to the opportunities they were offered.

Industry Partners attending Careers Fair

It has also become evident that local accounting firms have grown to the point where they are looking for a wider range of potential graduates including marketing and management students. This creates excellent opportunities for all LBS students and their employability. Additionally, Hazeldene’s Chicken Farm Bendigo attended as they were looking for both accounting and marketing students and are a large employer in the region.

Law representatives

Representatives from law firms, the Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre and the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria also attended the Fair. They provided information to Law and Criminology students about internship as well as employment opportunities.

Careers Fair Success

“It was a great opportunity for us, to be able to walk straight out of class, and have all these potential employers here for us to talk to.”

LBS student attending the event

The employers were equally pleased with the student attendance and reported to the organisers that it was incredibly valuable for them to attend. La Trobe University´s Careers & Employability Adviser Cris Stanway was available on-site to assist students with their resumes, which proved popular. The Fair was deemed an overwhelming success.

In 2020, the university will look to expand the range of businesses in attendance as there are many more keen to participate.

Students attending Careers Fair

Many thanks to Francine Rochford, Rob Stephenson, Andrew Quek, Myl Duffy and Mel Birch-Inward who provided invaluable assistance in organising and ensuring the smooth running of the day.

LBS Innovation Series: Consumer trends and future foods

During the 2018 Innovation in Food and Agribusiness Forum, Professor Harsharn Gill gave a very insightful presentation on global consumer food and dietary trends and the opportunities and challenges that this presents for the Australian food industry.

About Harsharn

Professor Harsharn Gill is Head of the Food Research & Innovation Centre at RMIT University. He has over 25 years’ experience in leading and managing food, nutrition and health R&D in private and public sectors. Prior to joining RMIT, he held senior R&D leadership roles in Australia and New Zealand, including Research Director at the Department of Primary Industries Victoria; Chair of Functional Foods & Human Health at Massey University, and Director of Milk & Health Research Centre at Fonterra, New Zealand. Harsharn has published widely and his research contributions have been recognised nationally and internationally with several awards and appointments to international expert panels, including World Health Organisation (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF).

Developments and trends

By 2050 the world’s population will be 10 billion and we will need to increase food calorie production by 69% to meet demand. Population growth is not the only reason more food is needed, there is also a spread of prosperity across the world, especially in China and India, which increases demand for meat, eggs, and dairy, and boosts pressure to grow more corn and soybeans to feed more livestock. So, how can we increase the availability of food while simultaneously reducing pressure on the environment? There is currently a trend toward more plant-based products and Harsharn sees great opportunity in Australia for developing and marketing plant-derived protein products.

Please enjoy Harsharn’s presentation.



This blog is part of the LBS Innovation Series, developed by Dr Mark Cloney, Professor of Practice in Economics at La Trobe Business School. 

More blogs in the LBS Innovation Series:
- LBS Innovation Series: Gaps to perfection
- LBS Innovation Series: Building a global business in a period of disruption
- LBS Innovation Series: Is the Australian agriculture sector ready to grow?
- LBS Innovation Series: Agtech – Agriculture’s Disrupter or Saviour?
- LBS Innovation Series: Crossing the Chasm – Agtech & innovation ecosystems
- LBS Innovation Series: Innovation and the Victorian Chamber’s Agribusiness Taskforce
- LBS Innovation Series: Supply challenges and consumer expectations
- LBS Innovation Series: Robotics and AI are coming your way

SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 7

Sustainable Development Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

The aim of sustainable development goal seven (SDG 7) is ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. At the moment however, there is a wide variety across countries, and the current rate of progress falls short of what will be required to achieve this goal. Redoubled efforts will be needed, particularly for countries with large energy access deficits and high energy consumption (UN SDG Indicators, 2019).

The facts

One in 7 people still lack electricity and most of them living in rural areas of the developing world. More than 40 percent of the world’s population (3 billion) rely on polluting and unhealthy fuels for cooking. And, as the population continues to grow, so will the demand for cheap energy, and an economy reliant on fossil fuels is creating drastic changes to our climate. The share of renewables in final energy consumption is modestly increasing (from 17.3 per cent in 2014 to 17.5 per cent in 2015), but only 55 per cent of the renewable share was derived from modern forms of renewable energy.

There have been improvements in recent years:

  • From 2000 to 2016, the proportion of the global population with access to electricity increased from 78 per cent to 87 per cent, with the absolute number of people living without electricity dipping to just below 1 billion.
  • From 2000 to 2016, the electricity access rate increased from 60 per cent to 86 per cent in Southern Asia and from 26 per cent to 43 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Global energy intensity decreased by 2.8 per cent from 2014 to 2015, double the rate of improvement seen between 1990 and 2010 (UN SDG Knowledge Platform, 2019).

The focus of SDG 7

The targets set to be achieved by 2030 include universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services, increasing the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix, energy efficiency improvements, investments in clean and renewable energy and energy infrastructure.

Affordable and clean energy has come one step closer due to progress in electrification, particularly in least developed countries (LDCs), and improvements in industrial energy efficiency. However, national priorities and policy ambitions still need to be strengthened to put the world on track to meet the energy targets for 2030 (UN SDG Knowledge Platform, 2019).

Reaching SDG 7 is also crucial to achieving many of the other SDGs – from poverty eradication via advancements in health, education, water supply and industrialization to mitigating climate change.

The Energy Security Trilemma in Australia

Securing an affordable, reliable and environmentally responsible energy sector is a huge challenge for policy makers, also in Australia. In the face of rapid technological change in the energy sector, policy needs to evolve to achieve three objectives:

  • Meet Australia’s Climate Change commitments under the Paris Agreement;
  • Ensure stable supply of energy so the ‘lights don’t go out’ (again);
  • Mitigate rising electricity costs, particularly for vulnerable and elderly households (Pursuit, 2017).

While access to electricity is near universal in Australia, the retail price of electricity has more than doubled in the past decade. This means Australians now pay higher electricity prices than most other OECD countries. Rising retail energy prices are placing low-income households under significant financial pressure. The 20% of Australian households with the lowest incomes are spending 4-5% of their household budget on electricity alone. Additionally, low-income Australians often live in poorly insulated and energy-inefficient houses and are less likely to be able to afford solar panels and other high-cost items that help reduce energy bills, such as energy-efficient water heaters and appliances.

Australia remains highly dependent on fossil fuels, with renewable energy making up just 7.5% of the total final energy consumption for 2014. However, the Australian Government’s Renewable Energy Target and state–based actions are now driving substantial investment in renewable electricity generation and renewables are likely to account for 23% of electricity generated by 2020.

While this is good news, energy policy after 2020 remains uncertain. An absence of federal incentives for renewables means that investment will rely on state policies and commercial returns, putting future levels of investment and emission reduction targets at risk (Transforming Australia Report, 2018).

SDG Video

The video on SDG 7 is created by our CR3+ partner Hanken School of Economics (Finland). In the first part of the video, Professor Peter Björk talks about the General Assembly’s decision in 2015 to make energy part of the SDGs and discusses the Accelerating SDG7 Achievement document released in 2018. This publication includes 27 policy briefs by global energy authorities from the UN System, international organizations, Member States and others. It proposes a new Global Agenda for Accelerated SDG7 Action as a clear roadmap towards achieving universal energy access by 2030 and maximizing its positive impact on other SDGs (Division for Sustainable Development Goals, 2019). According to Peter, the document gives a good overview of what has been done between 2015 and 2018 to achieve SDG 7 and more importantly, what still needs to be done to achieve this SDG. In the second part of the video, Peter focuses on energy systems and interviews Jukka-Pekka Niemi from Wärtsilä, a partner company of Hanken School of Economics that produces and sells energy solutions. The interview focuses on Wärtsilä’s strategy in leading the energy sector’s transformation toward a 100% renewable energy future.

Please enjoy the presentation.

If you would like access to the full video to use in your teaching, please contact Dr Swati Nagpal.

This blog is part of the SDG Series, a series that focuses on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, in the lead up to the CR3+ Conference in October 2019. 
More blogs in the SDG Series:
- An introduction to the Sustainable Development Goals
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 1
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 2
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 3
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 4
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 5
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 6

Meet our new Professor of Practice Stuart Black

LBS has appointed a new Professor of Practice, Stuart Black. Business Newsroom sat down with Stuart and asked him what brought him to LBS and how he’ll be approaching his new role.

Stuart Black PoP LBS

Professors of Practice

LBS has been appointing Professors of Practice since 2015. Professors of Practice have significant experience in business, public or the not-for-profit sectors, and play a key role in facilitating links between the La Trobe Business School and industry. They contribute to the design of industry relevant curriculum, they reflect best practice nationally and internationally, and they conduct lectures, workshops and executive programs. Because of their extensive industry experience, they can provide students with unique professional and practical insights into the business world.

About Stuart

Stuart recently retired from Deloitte after driving the “analytics inside” agenda as a senior partner. Some of his key responsibilities at Deloitte involved the Data Asset Agenda, analytics-enabled innovation, the development of decoupled platforms & products, analytics-enabled transformation of audit, tax and financial advisory services as well as cultural transformation of professional staff around innovation & analytics. Prior to Deloitte, Stuart worked as a Strategy Principal at National Australia Bank, as a Principal for A.T. Kearney (Sydney, Melbourne, Asia) and as Senior Consultant for Andersen Consulting in the US, UK and Malaysia. Stuart is also on the La Trobe Business School Master of Business Analytics Advisory Board.

Welcome to the La Trobe Business School Stuart. How did you get involved with LBS?

A few years ago, I was approached by LBS to join the Master of Business Analytics Advisory Board. As a board member from industry, I provided insight on what the industry is looking for in graduates, particularly the skills and experiences graduates need to have when they finish their degree. Then, in 2018, around the same time that I retired as a partner from Deloitte, LBS was introducing the School of Disruption concept, something I found very interesting, and they were in the midst of developing the Bachelor of Digital Business. The Data Analytics team then approached me and asked me to be involved with developing course material, particularly the cornerstone and the capstone course for this new degree. This eventually led to becoming a Professor of Practice. 

How are you approaching your role as Professor of Practice?

To me, my role has three elements. Firstly, there is the teaching element, delivering subjects from a practice-driven perspective. Secondly, I am working with a group of like-minded academics from across LBS to bring the concept of disruption into LBS’ courses and materials across the board. Lastly, using my industry connections. How do we connect the university with the outside world and bring the outside world into the university environment? For the subjects I developed, I contacted people in my network and got them involved as well. It creates unique learning opportunities for students, having industry people discussing disruption in the real world through guest lectures, short videos, etcetera.

LBS welcomes Stuart on board!

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