Building a Better World: The 2022 Esade Sustainability Simulation Challenge with La Fageda
This multidisciplinary educational experience allowed Esade alumni and students to work for nine weeks with a pioneering business simulator to promote the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and analyse their impact on decision-making. This edition of the Simulation Challenge was inspired by the work of the La Fageda Foundation.
La Fageda, a dairy producer with a 40-year history, is committed to dignifying people at risk of social exclusion through real work. In addition to finding success with consumers of its delicious products, the company has also inspired many other companies with its keen sense of responsibility and concern for sustainability.
La Fageda has worked closely with Esade and Esade Alumni Social on this educational project as a model for participants to learn from a real company with real data and real scenarios. “In order to generate changes in society, we feel that it is vital to train future business managers to become aware of the social and physical environment they inhabit and understand the impact caused by their business decisions,” explained Oriol Gol, Director of Innovation, Quality and Environment at La Fageda.
Future business managers need to become aware of the social and physical environment they inhabit and understand the impact caused by their business decisions
The challenge was divided into two phases. The first was the qualification phase, where groups of five to seven participants competed against each other. The second was the final and decisive phase, where the teams were ranked according to their results. The winners presented La Fageda with an investment recommendation based on several SDGs. “Through the questions that the participants asked us, we became aware of certain aspects that we needed to sort out internally, other issues that we needed to explain better and some plans that we needed to undertake,” commented the director of the social enterprise La Fageda. “It helped us to set new goals and work on establishing new indicators to measure our progress.”
On behalf of the winning team, Esade awarded €2,500 to the Simulation Challenge’s partner organisation, the La Fageda Foundation. The winning team will also present La Fageda with an investment recommendation based on one or more SDGs. This recommendation will not be binding and the foundation’s board of trustees will be free to invest the donated sum however they see fit.
Esade Alumni and Esade are pleased to have contributed something of value to La Fageda and its magnificent social work, while also enabling the participating alumni and students to deepen their knowledge of sustainability and social innovation in the business world and the application of the SDGs for the common good.
In the participants’ own words
Carlos Pérez (Lic&MBA 09), member of the winning team in the Simulation Challenge
“It was very enriching to form part of such a diverse team and share our views on which strategies we should follow in order to have the largest possible impact on the Sustainability Index. I would definitely encourage everyone to participate in activities of this sort. We are pleased to have shared some valuable ideas with La Fageda and personally contributed to the projects and policies that helped them build up a 40-year track record.”
Yolanda Martínez (EMMV 15), member of the winning team in the Simulation Challenge
“Sustainability is about more than just greenwashing activities. As a society, we must all take responsibility both individually and collectively for identifying the best and most sustainable practices. This has to make sense for all economic and political stakeholders, so let’s all work together to drive change.”
Carmen Campos (Lic&MBA 99), member of the winning team in the Simulation Challenge
“During the Challenge, I learned the importance of having a holistic view on both a personal and professional level. Sometimes, in our day-to-day work, we get fixated on the here and now, while forgetting about other fundamental, non-urgent factors.”
Sichen Zhou (MIM 21), member of the winning team in the Simulation Challenge
“I learned more about the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda, gained some knowledge about the dairy industry and learned about managing a company in a fast-changing environment. Another thing that has enriched me was our work as a responsible, multidisciplinary and multicultural team. Each of us was committed to the challenge and put in a lot of time and effort. I am sure that this experience will have a lasting positive impact on my professional life.”
Juan Brill, participant in the Simulation Challenge
“It was exciting to be able to collaborate and interact with professionals and students. I acquired knowledge about various issues and gained an understanding of how decisions affect a company’s valuation. The project also helped me develop my teamwork skills. Working in a team with such a diverse range of backgrounds is a highly distinctive value.”