30 SES 02 B, Innovative learning and learning for change
The European agribusiness and food production sector is facing an uncertain future as it has to deal with the dramatic and multidimensional consequences of global change (Ernst & Young GmbH 2019:12-13). The implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the agriculture and food sector is crucial in tackling these potential threats and for achieving the SDGs. Several UN initiatives have underlined the general importance of the implementation of the SDGs into agricultural concepts (FAO 2017, FAO 2018, UN Standing Committee on Nutrition 2014). Likewise, organisations developed strategies and general principles for an integration of the SDGs into business (of any sector) (WBCSD 2018; GRI, UN Global Compact and WBCSD 2015).
In 2017, UNESCO launched a report on Education for SDGs focusing on the learning objectives for achieving the objectives of the Agenda 2030 (UNESCO 2017). So far, there are only very few approaches in entrepreneurial education at HEIs and start-up incubators that successfully tackle SDGs as facilitator of innovation and starting point of transdisciplinary collaboration. Hence, linking key pedagogical approaches in education for sustainable development (ESD) and transdisciplinary learning with training programmes fostering key competencies for the SDGs in European companies and start-ups via entrepreneurial education and organisational development is still a gap and needs concrete action.
Against this background, the European project “SDGs Labs – Making the SDGs our business”, which is implemented in the framework of the EU Programme “Erasmus Plus – Knowledge Alliances” jointly by eight universities and business partners from four European countries, aims at using the SDGs as an opportunity for business innovations to ensure sustainable development and future orientation of this sector. SDGs Labs wants to enhance knowledge exchange among the different stakeholders involved in and/or linked to agribusiness and food production. Furthermore, the project intends to create new methods and collaborative learning/teaching environments to foster the implementation of the SDGs and SDGs-related innovations in HEIs, start-up incubators and companies linked to agribusiness and food production. In the first research-oriented work package of the project, a common understanding of the challenges and needs of the agribusiness and food production sector is generated and the project specific objectives and concepts to address these challenges are tackled. Moreover, a specific focus of the project is on the contribution that methods and tools of education for sustainable development can make for addressing the processes in which businesses and HEIs exchange on the possibilities for SDGs implementation.
A multitude of questions are of concern at this early step of the project : What are the main sustainability challenges for the agribusiness and food production sector from an entrepreneurial perspective, both on a global and regional level? What is the understanding of the SDGs and how to deal with their complexity? Which challenges, opportunities and innovation potentials are perceived in integrating SDGs in the daily business? Which knowledge, skills and competencies are necessary for implementing the SDGs and how could they be developed through trainings or other forms of entrepreneurial education?
The paper aims at reviewing the international research that has been conducted related to the implementation of the SDGs in the agribusiness and food production sector. More specifically, the paper provides an overview of the current state of the implementation of the SDGs in the agribusiness and food production sector, as well as needs identified in the different regions. Moreover, the paper will present first results from empirical research with (representative) actors of the agribusiness and food production sector of the four project regions in Austria, Germany, Italy, and Portugal.
The methodology is composed of two phases: The empirical design of the first phase is primarily related to a literature review, while in a second step, interviews and focus groups with relevant stakeholders will be carried out. Systematic reviews, as conducted in the first phase, represent a typical way of mapping the field and tracing recent developments in educational science (Petticrew/Roberts, 2009). In this study we follow the systematic review approach outlined in Fink (2009). By following that approach, we intend to provide a systematic and replicable search and analysis strategy which is fully documented and transparent. Going through the steps of (1) data collection, (2) data processing and coding and (3) data analysis, we will have produced a literature review on the current state of research and practical application of SDGs in the agribusiness and food production sector, as well as a qualitative analysis of entrepreneurial and innovative approaches of integrating the SDGs in daily business. The study includes scientific (peer reviewed) articles (in English as well as in other languages represented in the project). Moreover, practical literature relevant for the integration of the SDGs in daily business practice in the inquired sector is referred to, to inform both, the selection of interview partners, as well as for elaborating interview questions. Only articles are included in the sample, which focus on presenting and analysing innovative approaches and methods of integrating the SDGs in the agribusiness and food production sector. In a second phase, grounded on a purposeful sampling strategy, which considers interview partners from farming, food production, trade, as well as consumer initiatives, the expert interviews will be carried out in each region which is represented in the project. At least five expert interviews per region will be conducted, to cover the edges of value chains in agribusiness and food production and to provide a basis for figuring out common needs, beyond regional specifics. The expert interviews will provide data concerning the already ongoing implementation of the SDGs in the agribusiness and food production sector, challenges that occur in this context, and needs for capacity building and training. Then, based on an agreed sampling strategy, also focus groups or group interviews (8-10 participants) will be carried out in each region. They aim at reflecting the outcomes of the interviews but also at extending the discussion on SDGs and to raise awareness for subsequent SDGs Labs and SDGs Academies.
This paper presents the results of the study concerning general trends and assumptions in the discourse on approaches and methods for the implementation of the SDGs in the agribusiness and food production sector. It will provide first hand empirical data to identify general trends and assumptions in this discourse as well as inconsistencies and gaps. Regarding the focus on ESD the paper is estimated to explain what methods are suitable to enable the exchange of business-and HEI-actors on the SDGs in the sector, or how they need to be adapted and developed further. These results will create a basis for structuring the debate on approaches and methods of training, collaboration and education in order to translate the SDGs into the daily practice of the European agribusiness and food production sector and identifying future research needs. The outcomes of both, the expert interviews and the focus groups, conclude in a needs analysis, which reveals attitudes towards opportunities and limits of implementing SDGs business. The needs analysis makes visible regional differences but similarities between the needs of the participating regions as well. Furthermore, the results of the analysis provide insights into the already existing approaches for implementing the SDGs and the need for a further development of methods and tools of learning concerning the application of the SDGs into business processes with regard to the agribusiness and food production sector. Hence it provides important starting points for designing SDGs Co-learning Labs and SDGs Innovation Labs as well as a SDGs Training and Pioneer Academy which will be also part of the project.
Ernst & Young GmbH (2019): Konjunkturbarometer Agribusiness in Deutschland 2019. (https://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/ey-konjunkturbarometer-agribusiness-in-deutschland-2019-studie/$FILE/ey-konjunkturbarometer-agribusiness-in-deutschland-2019-studie.pdf) FAO (2017): Food and Agriculture - Driving action across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. (http://www.fao.org/3/a-i7454e.pdf) FAO (2018): Transforming food and agriculture to achieve the SDGs. (http://www.fao.org/3/I9900EN/i9900en.pdf) Fink, A. (2009): Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to Paper. Los Angeles, CA: Sage GRI, UN Global Compact and WBCSD (2015): SDGs Compass Guide. (https://sdgcompass.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/019104_SDG_Compass_Guide_2015.pdf) Petticrew, M./Roberts, H. (2009): Systematic reviews in the social sciences. A practical guide. 8th ed. Malden, Mass: Blackwell Publ. UNESCO (2017): Education for Sustainable Development Goals. Learning Objectives. Paris: UNESCO. (http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002474/247444e.pdf) UN Standing Committee on Nutrition (2014): Nutrition and the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. A Technical Note. (https://www.unscn.org/files/Publications/Briefs_on_Nutrition/Final_Nutrition%20and_the_SDGs.pdf) WBSCD (2018): Business and the SDGs: A survey of WBCSD members and Global Network partners. (https://docs.wbcsd.org/2018/07/WBCSD_Business_and_the_SDGs.pdf)
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