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Fall 2020 Sustainable Business Forum

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Theme: "Enticing, Empowering, and Engaging Employees through Sustainability Initiatives" This is an exclusive and intensive working meeting hosted by the Center for Sustainable Business (CSB) for CSB corporate sponsors and select invited guests. Companies are encouraged to send two representatives to participate:

  1. senior sustainability manager within the organization 
  2. senior human resources manager or related department
Event Description

Featured speakers include:

  • Ernesto Ciorra, Chief Innovability Officer, Enel Group
  • Laura Marie Edinger-Schons, Professor & Chair of Sustainable Business, University of Mannheim
  • Viviana Alvarez, Head of Sustainability North America, Unilever

Ernesto Ciorra, Industry Keynote


Ernesto Ciorra was named Head of the Enel Group's Innovability (Innovation and Sustainability) Function in September 2014.

He began his career as a partner at consulting firm Busacca & Associati, helping telecommunications businesses in a number of innovative projects. In 2003 Mr. Ciorra founded the consulting firm Ars et Inventio, which he headed up until taking up his current position. He supported the planning of the Chief Innovation Officer Function at leading firms around the world, coming up with innovative ideas that have since become popular worldwide.

Mr. Ciorra taught Innovation Management at a number of Italian and Spanish universities and was the scientific coordinator of the Masters in Innovation Management ran by Italian newspaper Sole24Ore's Business School. He was also a member of the advisory board of the Master in Innovation Strategy at Ca' Foscari University of Venice, and the director of the Advanced Innovation Management Programme at the IE Business School in Madrid.

He is also the author of three collections of poems and a play that has been performed in a number of Italian theatres.

Laura Marie Edinger-Schons, Academic Keynote


Laura Marie Edinger-Schons is Professor of Sustainable Business at the University of Mannheim. In her research, she focuses on the question how organizations (from for profit to non-profit) can contribute to sustainable development as defined in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Specific topics which she is interested in are Employee Engagement in Sustainability, Social Entre/Intrapreneurship, Digital Social Innovation, Corporate Democracy, and New Work. Her work has been published in renowned academic journals including Journal of Marketing, Journal of Consumer Psychology, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, and Journal of Business Ethics.

She received the Overall Best Paper Award at the 2014 Winter AMA, was voted into the Top Ten Junior Academics 2015 (by Zeit and academics), and received the German Science Award 2016 for the Best Collaboration with Private Business. For her teaching, she received the AACSB Innovations that Inspire Award 2017. For her habilitation thesis she received the Wolfgang-Ritter Award 2017, the Roman Herzog Research Award 2018 as well as the Max Weber Award for Business Ethics 2018. In 2019, she was voted into the Top 40 under 40 by the magazine Capital.

Viviana Alvarez, Keynote Address


In Early 2019, Viviana was appointed as Head of Sustainability for Unilever North America. Prior to this, she was the Head of Corporate Strategy in the US. She has also been part of the Corporate Strategy team in London supporting the overall company medium-long term plans at a Global Level. Viviana has an Executive MBA from ESADE School of Management and BSBA in Business Management. Recent Executive Education at Harvard Business School and University of Oxford on Circular Economy topics, Leadership and Scenario Planning. Currently participating in the World Business Council for Sustainable Development Leadership program. Other positions in Unilever - Head of Strategy - North America - Global Corporate Strategy Manager - Global Strategies Social Business Models Project Leader - Unilever Foundation Global Ambassador – Others: - Co-Founder of H2H ("Help to Haiti") - NGO in Haiti. Advisory Board Member of Sustainable Brands, Close Loop Partners, The U.S. Pact and Board Member of The Recycling Partnership.

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