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SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 2

After a prolonged decline, world hunger appears to be on the rise again. Conflict, drought and disasters linked to climate change are among the key factors causing this reversal in progress (SDG Goals Report, 2018).

Hunger facts

With soils, freshwater, oceans, forests and biodiversity rapidly degrading and climate change putting more pressure on the resources we depend on, many people, especially in rural areas, can no longer make ends meet. According to the United Nations, 1 in 9 people in the world today (815 million) are undernourished, the majority of those in hunger live in developing countries, and Asia is the continent with the hungriest people (two thirds of the total). Poor nutrition causes nearly half of the deaths in children under five, which translates into 3.1 million children each year.

 According to the World Bank, the world will need to produce at least 50% more food than we currently do in order to feed 9 billion people by 2050. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN FAO) links hunger and food security to development:

“In food – the way it is grown, produced, consumed, traded, transported, stored and marketed – lies the fundamental connection between people and the planet, and the path to inclusive and sustainable economic growth.”

UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation

Ending hunger by 2030

Sustainable Development Goal 2 – zero hunger – aims to end all forms of hunger and malnutrition by 2030. The targets associated with this SDG relate to ending hunger, achieving food security, improved nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture. Since food is at the core of the Sustainable Development Goals, SDG 2 is connected to other SDGs such as no poverty, good health & wellbeing, clean water & sanitation, affordable & clean energy, climate action, life below water and life on land. These interconnections call for a global response to hunger and food security that includes multiple stakeholders and multi-level governance structures. It requires capacity development at all levels, and investment in research, technology and innovation to mitigate some of the potential negative trade-offs between the SDGs and strengthen the synergistic effects. 

Some of the organisations that are working hard fighting hunger are World Food Programme, the World Bank Group and International  Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The World Food Programme is the leading humanitarian organization that works towards a world of Zero Hunger. They deliver food assistance in emergencies and work with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience.

The World Bank Group invests in agriculture and rural development to boost food production and nutrition by encouraging climate-smart farming techniques, restoring degraded farmland, but also by breeding more resilient and nutritious crops, and improving supply chains for reducing food losses. The IFAD focuses exclusively on rural poverty reduction, working with poor rural populations in developing countries.

A focus on Australia

Hunger is not only an issue for developing countries. In Australia, it is estimated that two million Australians rely on some form of food relief, which roughly equates to one in ten Australians. Of these, there is a skew towards regional Australia, low-income earners and pensioners, and children make up approximately 22% of this category (Foodbank Hunger Report, 2018). 

Agriculture is a significant sector of the Australian economy and provides enough food to feed 80 million people, while also providing 93% of the nation’s food supply. The challenge for Australia’s, and the world’s agriculture, is to become more productive and more resilient in order to tackle the interconnected challenges of poverty, hunger and climate change. At the other end of the spectrum, food waste is a growing wicked problem that Australia has to tackle.  While organisations such as Food Bank, SecondBite and OzHarvest have made significant strides in salvaging food and offering food relief, food waste continues to cost the Australian economy close to $20 billion a year. In addition to the cost to the economy, food waste has cost implications in a number of areas, including loss of water and energy, greenhouse gas emissions and of course, hunger (Department of Environment and Energy, 2017).

SDG Video

The second video in the SDG series features Donna Burnett and Dr Tim Clune from the La Trobe Business School. Donna focuses on the problems of hunger and food security, the SDG’s and emphasises the shift in thinking that is necessary to reach the zero-hunger goal. The video discusses the ways businesses negatively impact food security, but also explains what businesses can do. Ultimately, Tim talks about the issues around climate change, how to build the capacity to enable resilient and sustainable agribusiness systems for the future.

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:

The future trajectory of entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is one of the younger disciplines in education and one of the fastest growing disciplines. With this in mind, our Professor of Entrepreneurship Alex Maritz has done research into where the discipline is at and where it is going. He looked at challenges the discipline is facing, but also how entrepreneurship is taught in Australia.

Entrepreneurship – The facts

Let’s start with some figures. The 2017/18 Australian National Report from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) overall states a positive climate of the entrepreneurial activity in Australia.

  • 12% of the Australian adult population (18–64 years old) actively engaged in entrepreneurial activities
    • This equates to 1.8 million early-stage entrepreneurs
  • Australia’s profile of start-up activity (TEA) is particularly strong in the senior age groups.
  • Informal investment is strong in Australia, with the prevalence of business angels at about 4% of the population.
    • This equates to about 0.6 million informal investors financing entrepreneurial ventures in Australia.
  • Of the 1.8 million Australians engaged in starting new businesses, 38 percent or 690,000 were women.
    • This is high compared to other 24 developed economies included in the study.

There are some concerns as well. The fear of failure is slightly above the average of developed economies and youth entrepreneurship is lacking. Also, there is a high discontinuation rate of entrepreneurial activity in Australia, which provides an opportunistic platform for entrepreneurship education.

Challenges

Below are some of the challenges that entrepreneurship education is facing.

Trajectory 1: Why teach entrepreneurship?

The question is often whether entrepreneurship can be taught. According to Alex it certainly can be. Entrepreneurship education is about learning how to minimise risks to fail, which lowers the above-mentioned fear of failure, a great barrier to start a business. Interestingly, Universities of Australia mentions that more than four in five start-up founders in Australia are university graduates.

Trajectory 2: What is taught in entrepreneurship?

Teachers of entrepreneurship often speak from their own experiences, the risk associated with that is that their teaching is too much skewed towards their own expertise. A finance expert teaching entrepreneurship has a different take on entrepreneurship education than someone with a psychology background for example. This challenge can be tackled by viewing entrepreneurship as a process – from starting a business to exiting a business – and aligning a suite of subjects and courses to that process.

Trajectory 3: How to teach entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurship education is about experiential learning, which is different from the traditional ways of delivering content such as lectures and tutorials. The move towards online learning also has shown to be a challenge. Entrepreneurship educators need to collaborate and network with other successful entrepreneurship educators, enhancing the scholarship of learning and teaching. These educators have to also update their knowledge and skills on the latest start-up nuances, such as blockchain, digital transformation and lean business models.

Trajectory 4: Outcomes of teaching Entrepreneurship

The only way to measure if people become entrepreneurs when they finish their degree, is their intention and efficacy to become successful entrepreneurs. In addition, entrepreneurs create employment versus seeking employment, adding not only to economic outcomes but social solutions.

Trajectory 5: Research in entrepreneurship

There are only two high tier entrepreneurship journals. Research in entrepreneurship has the aim to inform practice, but practitioners generally do not read academic research. Publications therefore should preferably happen in journals or magazines read by practitioners. The Harvard business Review is an example for this discipline to publish, although not an entrepreneurship focused journal.

Empowerment and transformation

Finally, entrepreneurial universities are not created overnight. According to Alex, if entrepreneurship is not one of the pillars or a strategic intent of the university, the discipline will not flourish. It has to be embedded into the entire university.  

Entrepreneurship education at LBS

The La Trobe Business School is in a transformative stage of entrepreneurship education, with recent research by Alex and Dr Quan Nguyen placing emphasis on the importance of empowerment and sustainable action to enhance the entrepreneurial university. LBS is one of the leading Australian higher education institutions in entrepreneurship education, evidenced by significant entrepreneurship ecosystems, leadership in entrepreneurship, active and impactful global partnerships, significant knowledge transfer, professors of practice, a successful incubator and associated university wide entrepreneurial initiatives.

Prof Alex Maritz with various staff members of the Department of Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Marketing

LBS Innovation Series: Agtech – Agriculture’s Disrupter or Saviour?

Disruptive technology is changing our daily lives and agriculture is not immune from this digital wave. Allan McCallum discusses whether we should see this new technology as a threat or embrace it as an opportunity.

About Allan

Allan is Chairman of Cann Group Limited, Australia’s first licensed/permitted grower of medicinal cannabis in Australia. Allan has led and been part of the team that instituted privatisation of the grain industry storage, handling and transport sector, (Vicgrain/ Graincorp) and the merging of regional based fertiliser businesses that became a global leader in explosives (Incitec Pivot). Via his work with Tassal, which is now a world leader in sustainable salmon production, Allan has been active in the restructure of the Tasmanian salmon industry.

Agtech

Agtech is an often used definition for various technology used in the agricultural industry. According to Start Up Australia, Agtech refers to the collection of digital technologies that provide the agricultural industry with the tools, data and knowledge to make more informed and timely on-farm decisions and improve productivity and sustainability.

Allan uses Cann Group Limited as a case study that shows that embracing agtech set then on a path to building a world-class Australian business in the emerging medicinal cannabis industry. He also focuses on the challenge of how to bring an agribusiness concept to market from a start-up to listing on the ASX in a period of rapid disruption.

Please enjoy Allan’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 2019 LBS Innovation Series:

Meet our new Adjunct Professor Alan Farley

LBS is delighted to announce that professor Alan Farley has been appointed as Adjunct Professor in the La Trobe Business School. Alan has a long and distinguished career in Australian universities, as diverse as Director of Teaching and Learning and Chief Financial Officer, including PVC (Planning and Finance), Assistant Provost, Executive Dean, Head of Department and Associate Dean (Education).

Alan’s original training is in Economics, Econometrics and Management Science but most of his teaching career was spent in Accounting and Finance departments. His research effort is extensive and diverse. He has published in leading international journals across the fields of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Accounting, Finance, and Management Science.

His work with industry has supported his research. Alan is the only Australian academic to make the final of an international competition to recognise the world’s best implementation of Management Science in a given year for work done with Kodak Australia. He has held positions outside universities such as president of the Australian Council for Online and Distance Education, member of the Victorian Admission Centre Management Committee, Australian University Quality Authority auditor and member of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Authority Panel of Experts.

Business Newsroom asked Alan what he is bringing to LBS and how he’ll be approaching his role as adjunct professor:

My key attributes that will benefit the La Trobe Business School are my knowledge of the Australian Higher Education sector and my breadth of expertise, with special emphasis on knowledge in quantitative research methodology.
As an Adjunct Professor I will be available for consultation with research students and staff and will present workshops on quantitative research techniques. I will also undertake joint research with staff from the School.

LBS welcomes Alan on board!

SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 1

In the last 20 years, do you think that the proportion of people living in extreme poverty worldwide has almost doubled, remained more or less the same, or almost halved? Think you know the answer? Take the gapminder quiz here.

Poverty facts

Although the gapminder quiz shows us that a lot of progress has been made, several of us are still rather ignorant about the ‘good news’ facts, and there continues to be a lot of work to be done. About 736 million people still live on less than US $1.90 and day. Many of them lack adequate food, clean drinking water and sanitation. Rapid economic growth in countries such as China and India has lifted millions out of poverty, but progress has been uneven. Women are more likely to live in poverty than men due to unequal paid work opportunities, education and property (UNDP, 2019). 

Ending poverty by 2030

SDG 1 sets the ambitious target to end poverty in all its forms by 2030, as part of the UN’s Global Goals/SDG agenda. Poverty eradication is central to the Global Goals, and achievement of all Goals is closely tied to the achievement of Goal 1. Poverty impedes the full participation of people in society and the economy. A society free from poverty is more peaceful, stable, innovative and equal (SDG Knowledge Platform, 2019).

From a Business School perspective, we have a responsibility to ensure that future business leaders take the responsibility to prevent and address human and labour rights violations, and identify and avoid practices that perpetuate poverty traps. All companies are linked to global poverty, particularly through their supply chains, and have a responsibility to work towards eliminating negative impacts to the Goal. A useful tool for assessing such impacts is the UN Global Compact’s Poverty Footprint Tool. The UN Global Compact has also developed a Blueprint for Business Leadership on the SDGs, which serves as a useful guide on how business can engage with and address the SDGs in their principled approach to SDG action. 

SDG Video

The first video in the SDG series was produced by our CR3+ Partner Audencia Business School from Nantes, France.  In the video, Dr Céline Louche discusses the sustainable development goal in depth, looking at the definition of poverty, the different perspectives to poverty (need-focused and people-focused) and the consequences of poverty; social exclusion, poor mental and physical health, and unfair working conditions. Céline also explains the targets of SDG 1, such as eradicating extreme poverty, implementing social protection systems and building resilience to climate-related extreme events, and the role of businesses in reaching these targets. The video finishes with an interview with Victoria Mandefield, an Audencia student and founder of the social enterprise “Soliguide” – a multimodal platform providing homeless people and refugees with helpful information.

Please enjoy the presentation:

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

Get involved!

As a PRME Champion School, LBS has access to several Working Groups made up of a global pool of like-minded researchers on the various SDG themes.  There is a PRME Working Group on SDG 1- Poverty, whose aim is to challenge business education to advocate for the integration of poverty-related discussions into all levels of management education worldwide. Their vision is grounded in the belief that:

  • Poverty is a legitimate topic for discussion and research in schools of business and management.
  • Business should be a catalyst for innovative, profitable and responsible approaches to poverty reduction.
  • Multiple stakeholder engagement is needed for innovative curriculum development.

To find out more, or join the working group please visit the UN PRME website (here).

You can also submit a paper on a topic related to SDG 1 to the CR3+ Conference that LBS is hosting from 24-25 October 2019, along with our CR3+ partners.

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:

LBS Innovation Series: Is the Australian agricultural sector ready to grow?

The second presentation of the 2019 LBS Innovation Series by Joann Wilkie is on innovation and productivity growth in the Australian agricultural sector. Joann focus is on the aspirational target that the Australian agricultural sector has set itself for 2030 – that is, to reach $100 billion in gross value of production. Her presentation explores the challenges and opportunities this aspirational target implies for Australia’s primary producers.

About Joann

Joann is the First Assistant Secretary at Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. In her role, Joann is responsible for providing advice on a broad range of policy issues affecting the agriculture industry, overseeing the Research and Development Corporations and managing the R&D for profit program. She is an experienced public servant who has worked on a range of policy issues including energy, deregulation, women’s business taxation and economic policy.

Innovation

Joann explores the opportunities and challenges for continued innovation in the Australian agricultural sector relating to on-farm productivity, agtech and innovation, transport, regulations, competition, labour markets and workforce, industry structure and governance, and institutions. In addition, she discusses options for government and industry to better facilitate continuous innovation which is the major catalysts to meeting growing global demand.

Please enjoy Joann’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 2019 LBS Innovation Series:

Welcome to our new LBS staff members

Besides welcoming (back) students this week, we are also welcoming Helen, Safi, Mary, Elise, Van and Mohammad to LBS.

Dr Helen Yang

Dr Helen Yang
Senior Lecturer – Accounting

Besides her extensive knowledge and experience as an accounting academic, Helen brings a wide knowledge of China as well. Prior to her appointment, Helen held academic positions in Australia and China, including the Head of Accounting & Information Systems at Victoria University, a role that she held until recently.

Dr Md Safiullah

Dr Md Safiullah
Lecturer – Finance

Md Safiullah (Safi) completed his PhD degree at The University of Newcastle in Australia. His research interest is in the areas of banking efficiency, liquidity creation and risk, corporate governance, Islamic banking and finance. He has published research papers in a number of reputed finance journals including the Journal of Corporate Finance (ABDC A*) and Pacific-Basin Finance Journal (ABDC A).

Dr Mary Ma

Dr Mary Ma
Lecturer – Finance

Mary completed her PhD in May 2018 at Massey University in New Zealand. Her research has been published in internationally respected academic journals, such as the International Review of Financial Analysis and the Pacific-Basin Finance Journal. Mary’s teaching interests include applied econometrics, international finance, microeconomics, investment analysis and business finance.

Dr Elise Lee

Dr Elise Lee
Lecturer – Human Resource Management

Elise earned her PhD degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Elise taught human resource management and management courses at the University of San Francisco and Washington State University as an assistant professor prior to joining LBS. She conducts research in the areas of team processes and conflict, workplace fairness, and strategic human resource management.

Dr Van Vu

Van joins us from the Newcastle Business School (Australia). Her main research interests include issues related to bank loan contracts, bond contracts, and the choice between public and private debt finance. Her other research interests include corporate liquidity management and recently market micro-structure.

Dr Mohammad Al Mamun

Md Al Mamun completed his PhD degree in finance at La Trobe University. His research interests are in empirical corporate finance and capital market research. His recent work focuses on the implication of power structure of top management team and unveiling the implications of culture (corporate and local) in corporate finance.

Welcome on board!

LBS Innovation Series: Building a global business in a period of disruption

The first video of the 2019 LBS Innovation Series is by James Fazzino who gives a presentation on how the company he lead, Incitec Pivot, strategically responded to digital disruption in its core businesses.

About James

James is a La Trobe alumnus, holding a Bachelor of Economics (Honours) from the University, he is an Adjunct Professor in the La Trobe Business School and a Vice Chancellor’s Fellow. James was honoured with the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2018. He is a respected ASX 50 business leader and currently the Chair of Manufacturing Australia.

James has had a successful career in the international chemicals industry after concluding a highly successful eight-year term as Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Incitec Pivot Limited. He also served as the Chief Financial Officer and Finance Director at Incitec and had senior finance roles in ICI/Orica including CFO Chemicals Group, Assistant Treasurer and Head of Investor Relations.

Incitec Pivot Limited

Under James’ leadership, Incitec transformed from a fertiliser co-operative, operating in four Australian states with an enterprise value of $400 million, to a Global Diversified Industrial Chemicals company, operating in 13 countries and with an enterprise value of $8 billion. Incitec is now the world’s second largest supplier of commercial explosives and Australia’s largest manufacturer and supplier of fertilisers.

Responding to digital disruption

James provides a case study in management on how the company grew from a southern Australian fertiliser co-op to a global ASX 50 diversified industrial chemicals and fertiliser company over 14 years. Industrial chemicals and fertilisers are key inputs to soil health and nutritional needs, helping food producers maximise productivity and remain globally competitive. James elaborates on Incitec Pivot’s strategic journey and describes how his executive team drove a ‘gap to perfect’ strategy across the business – where any identified gaps (against international best practice) meet with goals and actions to improve daily performance.



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

More blogs in the LBS Innovation Series:

An introduction to the Sustainable Development Goals

You’ve probably heard about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in your work and across the media. They are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015, which they hope will be achieved by 2030.  These goals are a call for action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity and overall transformative action towards sustainability.

Attainment of the goals within the timeframe (by 2030) necessitates urgent, innovative, and far-reaching action from different actors – business, states, civil society, and individual citizens. As insurmountable as they may seem, they present a huge opportunity for all the actors to rethink business, development and growth and stead us all towards sustainable and inclusive world.

2018 PRME report analysis

In our role as a PRME Champion Institution, LBS has committed to embedding the SDGs into our research, teaching, partnerships and operations. In our 2018 PRME report, we undertook and analysis of LBS research outputs and found that 34% of our research is aligned with at least one of the 17 SDGs. In our analysis, we also identified the achievements, research projects and other activities LBS is involved with that are linked to the SDGs. These linkages are created through efforts including informing our understanding of the SDGs, and contributing to the development of solutions in achieving the SDGs.

Outlined below are some examples of significant activities being undertaken by LBS and LTU, linked to the 17 SDGs:

A full overview of activities can be found on pages 46 – 48 of the 2018 PRME report.

Seventh CR3+ conference

As part of our broader commitment to PRME and the SDGs, we are hosting the 7th CR3+ conference on the topic ‘Using dialogue to build partnerships for sustainability’ from the 24th to 25th October 2019.

The conference is being hosted in conjunction with our CR3+ partners – Audencia Business School (France), Hanken School of Economics (Finland) and ISAE Brazilian Business School (Brazil). The call for papers has been circulated, and we encourage you to submit a paper to the conference. The call for papers can be found here.

SDGs Series

In addition to the conference, all CR3+ partners have collaborated on a series of videos on the SDGs, bringing their unique geographical and business perspectives in developing content for four of the SDGs each. The objectives of the videos are to:

  • Introduce the Agenda 2030 framework and Sustainable Development Goals (along with insight into concepts and history of sustainable development).
  • Explain all 17 SDGs and their targets.
  • Present real-life cases demonstrating contribution towards different SDGs in different geographical regions.
  • Critical perspectives on the SDGs.

We have developed a blog series where we will highlight one Sustainable Development Goal every fortnight based on the videos in the lead up to the CR3+ conference in October. Watch this space for the first upcoming video!

If you like to know more about LBS’ involvement with PRME, please read our blog from earlier this year: LBS’ United Nations PRME commitments, or contact Dr Swati Nagpal.

La Trobe MBA – Practical consulting skills for the future

La Trobe’s MBA students gain practical experience, deeper perspectives on business challenges and valuable contacts through a new subject that was launched in July 2018.

The Business School worked with local economic development organisation NORTH Link and other partners to identify businesses in Melbourne’s north that would benefit from a semester-long MBA consultancy. The result was a broad range of projects that will make a positive impact and directly benefit priority industry sectors in the region.

Dr Geraldine Kennett, MBA director and subject coordinator, explained that the subject has a positive impact on both students and businesses.

“Companies in our region get real assistance in solving a business challenge, which contributes to local economic development. At the same time, our MBA students use their expertise to gain real-world consultancy experience, with individual mentoring from their lecturers throughout the project. It’s a genuine win–win.”

 

 

MBA student Abdul Majeed Mohammed undertook a consultancy with the Brunswick Business Incubator (BBI), which provides premises, advice, services and support to new and emerging businesses. His client needed a marketing campaign. Abdul worked on the premises one day a week, got to know the tenant businesses and produced a detailed report that included recommendations on how BBI could remain self-sustainable in the future.

 

 

“The project gave me a unique opportunity, because you don’t normally get to do an internship in consulting. People don’t open their business to you so you can practise,” said Abdul.

“With this subject I learned a lot – how to write a consulting report was a challenge at first – and I learned how to operate on a tight timeline.Ultimately, I hope my recommendations help the incubator to succeed and grow long term. The subject was definitely a great experience.”

Abdul was invited to present his report to the BBI Board of Directors, leading to him making valuable contacts in his career field.

This new subject is a great example of how the La Trobe MBA assists students to accelerate their careers through a practical, industry-focused approach.

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