Digital Sustainability Crash-course for Large-Scale Systematic Action for Biodiversity

Giving business leaders the tools to understand sustainability, think clearly, act decisively, and make sure they don't miss anything.

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Eligibility Criteria

  • I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge and that I am eligible to apply.
  • I am 18 years old or older.

Initiative's representative name

Niccolas Albiz

Initiative's representative date of birth

26th October, 1990

Initiative's representative gender

  • Man

Headquarters location: country

  • Sweden

Headquarters location: city

Stockholm

Where are you making a difference?

Business sector: First Swedish industry, then exported globally by means of the digital format. Currently Beta-testing in Sweden and soon France.

Website or social media url(s)

Site: www.sustainacademy.com (a hidden site used as a beta-version of the education solution - in Swedish) Password: "digcrash" (as in digital crashcourse).

Date Started

03/2016

Project Stage

  • Start-up (first few activities have happened)

Yearly Budget : What is your current yearly budget for the initiative?

  • €1k - €10k

Organization Type

  • Hybrid

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.

I was conducting a study of the sustainability knowledge that is relevant vs the sustainability education that was received by Industrial Engineers in all of Sweden. There was a big gap between these, and we mapped the key obstacles to why it was so: Turns out NOBODY HAD A COMPLETE, 360° DEGREE UNDERSTANDING of Sustainability that was ACTIONABLE. So we ruin ecosystems, we do things we think work but create damage elsewhere. As with all human progress the answer is (actionable) knowledge and a shared language for a broad amount of people in a company and in a sector, so they collaborate. We particularly provide the knowledge needed in order to make sure you DON'T MISS ANYTHING and a method for approaching the challenge strategically.

2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

The problem is unsustainability. Why is it still around? Well, the amount of sustainability concerns, certifications, tools, goals, and more that are out there is ever-increasing(good). BUT the confusion and difficulty in navigating this terrain increases. The problem is fundamentally lack of functional sustainability knowledge. This is key for acting for biodiversity - we need to ensure we don't solve existing ecosystem problems with solutions that inadvertently degrade them in other ways

3. Your solution: How are you working to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

We help bring clarity and structure to sustainable development as well as the approach to do this systematically and strategically. This increases the clarity and value of all tools and it provides peace of mind by ensuring the agrobusiness leaders that they haven't missed anything and don't inadvertently cause natural degradation elsewhere where you aren't looking. We unite the state-of-the-art research from the sustainability related fields and show how it fits together as well as what your organisation should do to go with the grain of nature, not against it. We created a digital sustainability education that is interactive and allows us to spread the sustainability knowledge broadly. This way we ensure the quality and clarity that is so severely lacking today and the scalability and impact that is required. We teach a first-principles approach for how to NOT degrade natural systems, sew together the experts' knowledge from various fields and better prepare leaders to tackle their challenges for when urbanisation is increasing, we need to combat deforestation and when agriculture needs to sustainably feed ever-more mouths.

4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?

The key innovation in this solution is two-fold: 1) We actually unite the research from various fields, showing how they fit together (in collaboration with research), in the swedish tradition of collaborative development. What mostly happens and confuses people is that siloed researchers teach their knowledge without connecting it to other fields, and we lose the whole picture. 2) We use the next generation of digital learning to get the experts' (many of whom are getting older) knowledge joined and to make the learning interactive. The interactivity allows a deeper learning, a training in this iterative first-principles way of thinking and a connection because it links different stories of how others have done together.

5. Collaboration: How does your initiative seek to bring key players together to preserve biodiversity?

The solution ALLOWS collaboration: A) To collaborate we need to be able to speak the same language (e.g. the value of business model canvas for promoting a common process, or the Phoenicians in ancient mediterranean). This approach provides a common language & mental model that works across sectors and disciplines. We collaborate in these ways: 1) The knowledge-content is a collaboration of different researcher's inputs. 2) The story-content is in collaboration with our current and previous user's(already exist across the world) to get the success stories of implementation and development to circulate back into the platform and inspire new user's with more fleshed out details about how the actual work is done systematically. 3) The development process is a constant collaboration between business, research and public/non-profit sector. Feedback allows improvement of solution design. Focus is business but other non-profit beta-tests are currently running as pro-bono projects.

6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far — in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?

So far we have engaged 20 people in this test (executive and board members within the farming and natural ice-cream business) and our current beta-test is going to engage another 40. We will measure - number of leaders educated(primary), number of their co-workers educated by leader (secondary impact) or via platform (sec.imp.) and the amount of decisions taken based on the knowledge (sec. imp. - based on testimonials & surveys) The testimonials we receive is that this provided an indispensable clarity and structure to the companies' sustainability work, seeing how it can be done strategically. Furthermore, the material on our beta-version platform has been downloaded and spread to their teams and affected decision-making. The material is in form of presentation slides and script such that the leaders in the organisation can reliably retell and share ideas inside the organisation as well as with partners that they collaborate with.

7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

Current state: We have a set of companies who are interested in the solution and started development of the beta-version with them. Future growth plans: Develop a new generation of the education platform whilst still selling the beta-version and telling them what is to come. Marketing through customers - 1) Leverage existing clients to sell the solution to their partners to allow for the sharing of a common language (for systematic change) across agricultural sector. 2) Leverage existing clients' networks and brand to cold-call sell or sell by recommendation. Through partners - 1) Consultants using this approach use this as a tool for the executives and co-workers in their consultancy to easier get deeper and increase legitimacy.

8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for society? Or different stakeholders?

The company is intended to not give out profits to owners (special exempt deals to attract few investors) and thus no economic inequality(we know creates unsustainable repercussions) can result from the business. The social form will set an example for the rest of business, adding to the pool of companies restoring faith in business. Furthermore the business sells sustainability knowledge (knowledge being a product that can grow infinitely but is decoupled from resource use). The idea is to climate compensate for the CO2 from the energy use(essentially the only resource use) of the solution (in dialogue with Brid & their partners) and be careful with location of servers.

9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

In the short-term everyone works as a consultant for the company. All have other side-projects In the medium term an investment will be taken in to commence larger full-scale development of the platform, whilst revenue is being received from selling consultant-services in combination with selling of access to the beta-version crash-course. In the long-term 3 different revenue streams are planned: 1) Executive and Board-level education (one-offs & include physical facilitation) 2) Fully digital co-worker education platform with internal facilitators(from the org.). This one is more extensive and can be explored over longer periods of time. 3) Certification of company educations according to "%" of work-force and "Type" of content.

10. Team: what is the current composition of your current team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

All part-time, on consultant basis. The beta-testing rounds don't require a lot of time after the development. a)One project manager/CEO who manages the operations & developed the digital platform. b)One researcher advisor (Karl-Henrik Robèrt) - co-developed the theoretical content in the beta-version c)One Advisor & future board-member (Göran Gennvi) for the business strategy and development.

11. How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Ashoka page or contact

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Photo of David Strelneck

Your strategic focus on sustainability that is ACTIONABLE and PRACTICAL is very attractive. You might consider two mechanisms we have found in our own work. Maybe these are useful ideas:
1. Focus on how an action or policy affects nutrient cycles between ecosystems and people, because nutrient cycles provide a practical focus, are easy to understand, and correlate with many other sustainability factors and action opportunities (water, carbon, biodiversity, soil, ecosystem resilience, nutrition, food security, and more.) Thus nutrient cycles are not the goal, but are a practical and holistic mechanism to focus on to achieve all those other goals.
2. Create and then periodically monitor biodiversity and pesticide baseline data in a region (for a company or a municipality) using the innovative "Beeomonitoring" from the organization Beeodiversity in Belgium. This gives you clear, scientific data to identify risks and track impact of response actions.