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    We are sincerely grateful for our success in 2018.  The corporate community is awake to the many opportunities for a better world by engaging in sustainable practices.  The Centre for Sustainability and Excellence (CSE) is pleased to be part of this inevitable shift!

    We are thankful for the many newly trained sustainability (CSR) practitioners certified with our CSR-P designation.  We held trainings with participants from five continents and 30 countries.  The networks and friendships built among energy companies, food producers, major retailers and emerging entrepreneurs are invaluable.

    We celebrate the growth of our Sustainability Academy.  Under Nikos Avlonas’ leadership, it led to his being named Corporate Responsibility Impact Practitioner of the Year for 2018 by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

    We are proud of our 3rd annual research, Sustainability (ESG) Reporting Trends: North America 2018. Our team found positive connections between Sustainability Reporting and financial performance among the Fortune 500 and other top companies in North America.

    We welcome our new affiliates around the world, growing our family, training new practitioners and helping companies reach their potential.  They are key to our vision of a sustainable future.

    As we look to the future, we hope to build on our Sustainable Development Goals Champions campaign. In support of SDG Goal 4 for Quality Education, we entered a UN Partnership to increase awareness and promote education among professionals, corporations and entrepreneurs on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

    Thank you to all our friends, colleagues, practitioners, to those of you who read our newsletters, follow our social media and refer us throughout your networks.  We perform at our best because of your insights, endorsements and support.

    Happy Holidays from our CSE Family to yours!

    The topic of sustainability has become progressively important in the UAE in the last five years, from Dubai announcing its objective of being one of the most sustainable cities in the world, to sustainability being one of the essential themes of the EXPO 2020 plans.

    Having made headlines as one of the least sustainable countries in the world with one of the largest carbon footprints and its inhabitants using almost double the energy as many European nations, Dubai is now looking toward to a more sustainable future.

    Because of its rapid development and change in Dubai, sustainability (CSR) is more important than ever. Sustainability (CSR) is important to everyone as it can provide both major opportunities and reduce risk in the short and long term. Key sustainability issues include energy efficiency, compliance with regulatory and corporate social responsibility policies relating to the environment, efficient waste management and disposal , the sourcing and use of water, the food supply chain and air, water and ground emissions.

    These challenges demand attention. Our next CSE Certified CSR Practitioner Program (Advanced Edition 2018) will be in Dubai, this November 11 – 12, 2018. Planning and thinking ahead in order to maintain a climate and sustainability strategy is on CSE’s agenda along with Case Studies, Supply Chain, Corporate Responsibility and Corporate Communications.

    Social entrepreneurship is considered to be “the use of startup companies and other entrepreneurs to develop, fund and implement solutions to social, cultural, or environmental issues.”

    Social entrepreneurs bring innovation and deliver change in various areas, such as the environment and society. They go beyond the traditional routes and they do that through an invention or a different application or approach of an existing technology or practice. Their priority is to create social value above all, the financial value comes second. Ultimately, entrepreneurs innovate by finding a new service, product or new approach as a solution to a social problem.

    Social entrepreneurship is used as a term both as for non-profit organizations and organizations which blend for-profit goals with generating a positive “return to society”

    Perhaps the most well known example of social entrepreneurship is the one of Tom’s shoes:  the innovative use of the “ One for One” business model, in which for each purchase of a pair of shoes by a consumer, a gift of a free pair of shoes is given to a poor child in a developing country.

    A social entrepreneur believes that everyone potentially can contribute to a social cause meaningfully and bring change to the world. He takes risks, he is persistent, optimistic, innovative and with high standards.

    In order to become a social entrepreneur it is of great importance to take certain steps:

    Find your purpose, your goal, and the change you want to bring to this world and determine how.

    Create a unique, different offering which does not exist already. It is important for your offering to be something new.

    Search for people and try to get support from them, who will understand your purpose, share their ideas with you and possibly give you relevant advice.

    Develop your business model and search for initial funding sources, a loan or angel investors.

    Sustainability Academy’s Online Diploma on Social Entrepreneurship will provide you with a step-by-step introduction to Social Entrepreneurship and Benefit Corporations as well as offer you unique knowledge in a simple and practical way. Let the change begin!


    Social return on investment (SROI) represents a set of principles used to measure extra-financial value (environmental/social value) in relation to the resources invested. The goal is for this framework to help you manage, plan and make decisions to increase the value created for your stakeholders by your activities.

    The starting point for this calculation is for everyone involved to ask himself “how much difference are we making?” and “how much value are we destroying?”

    The value of the outcomes is the one experienced by our stakeholders that result from our activities – the significant ones.

    The necessary steps to determine this value is to find out:

    Which are your stakeholders?

    What are their outcomes?

    Which ones are material?

    To what extent they result from our activities and what is their value?

    A general formula used to calculate SROI is as follows:

    SROI = (social impact value – initial investment amount) / initial investment amount *100%

    There are four main elements of great importance in order for you to measure SROI:

    • Inputs – the resources invested in your activity (for example the cost of a program for the care of elderly people)
    • Outputs – the concrete products from the activity (such as the number of elderly people taken care of)
    • Outcomes – the changes people experienced due to the activity (for example better health, improved psychological state and quality of life)
    • Impact – the outcome minus an estimate of what would have happened if the activity did not take place (for example, if 40 people had improved health but 10 people would experience this improvement anyway, the impact is based on the 30 people who had improved health due to the program)

    Certain general rules to be followed according to this framework are:

    • Involve your stakeholders when planning your activities
    • Be precise and careful when estimating the outcomes of your activities
    • Value should be accredited to the things that matter
    • Be objective and transparent
    • Carry out a proper materiality assessment

    If you would like to acquire all the necessary tools and knowledge to calculate the social impact of your organization’s activities, the Introduction to Social Impact Assessment and SROI is the course for you. It will guide you through identifying the inputs, outputs and outcomes of your Sustainability activities and it will help you understand Social Return on Investment.

    You have always wanted to “make a difference”. You dream about helping the environment and have a positive social impact on society. So, you decided to pursue a career in Sustainability. But do you think you have what it takes? Below you can find some useful advice on the pursuit of your job in Sustainability.

    Do your Research

    You have to do your research on Sustainability and what it means, the job description. Sustainability is not philanthropy: you have to really get an in-depth knowledge of the field and understand that it requires communication among departments, it involves various tools and resources and it includes many roles within a Sustainability department. If you want to gain more advanced knowledge in the field, visit Sustainability Academy’s online courses.

    Try New Things

    It would also be excellent to have experience on another department. Someone who has championed at a Sales or Finance department for example is considered to have a more holistic view of the organization when entering a Sustainability department. Such a professional is considered to have gotten his “hands dirty” as opposed to someone who has only known a supposedly sterile environment.

    Get Out of the House a Little

    It is of great importance for a Sustainability professional to be involved in “extracurricular” activities related to Sustainability. This means you can be part of a CSR organization, or to be into volunteerism, or to have done pro bono work at a benefit corporation. All these things count as proof you are indeed passionate about making an impact and Sustainability is not just a job for you. Get more information about things you can do here.

    Speak Green

    You have to be communicative. If everything goes well and you become a Sustainability professional you will be invited to achieve cross-department communication. You will have to be able to articulate your ideas, since Sustainability is a very specific and a very broad field at the same time. You should be able to be precise and comprehensive. It would also really be helpful if you learned to “speak green”. Getting in touch with the industry’s jargon would definitely assist you in entering and being absorbed in a Sustainability department.

    Be a Leader at what you do

    Leadership is also a skill you will have to cultivate. There are very few positions and large Sustainability departments for you to choose from. So, it is inevitable that only the best will be hired. This means people who have the ability to persuade others, influence them and make them behave the way you and your department aim to. You will have to make people from different philosophies and departments, such as marketing, finance, legal, to be on your side. Not to forget the significance of networking. You should build your network as effectively as possible in order to maximize your opportunities and impact.

    Build your Green Brand

    You can also build your green brand. It would be helpful to sell yourself, to have an online presence across social media, online groups, and blogs, anything that will make you kind of famous as a Sustainability professional.

    Good Luck

    All the best from Sustainability Academy in your endeavors. If you indeed want to equip yourself with the latest skills, tools and resources on the field of Sustainability in the most flexible yet effective way, take a look at the Sustainability Academy’s online courses.


    Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. ~ Margaret Mead

    When anthropologist Margaret Mead talked about changing the world, global population was less than 3.7 billion.  Now, the population stands at 7.6 billion and growing!  How small of a group do we need to promote sustainability?  Or how big?

    The Centre for Sustainability and Excellence (CSE) wants to change the world.  We’re taking on a piece of this “small group of thoughtful, committed citizens” with an initiative to reach 100,000 of them by 2020!

    CSE has created the Sustainability Academy, an innovative online platform for organizations to maximize their Social Impact!  The goal is to teach the language of sustainability, promote its common goals and explain its unifying principles, across disciplines and international boundaries.  With the academy, companies can educate their staff, suppliers and other stakeholders in the field of Sustainability.

    “Education is key to individual, corporate and global prosperity,” says Nikos Avlonas, president and founder of CSE, best-selling author and sustainability pioneer.  He defines prosperity to include financial, social and governance (ESG) concerns and the triple bottom line – people, planet, profit.

    Beyond the lofty objectives of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), corporations face EU directives on sustainability, mandates from ASEAN on sustainable energy, and a global fixation on limiting carbon emissions.  Through education, organizations learn tools such as SROI (social return on investment) to help understand and calculate their Social Impact.

    For start-ups, world-changing opportunities are even greater.  The academy platform helps organizations support Social Entrepreneurship and young entrepreneurs who want to start careers and enterprises already focused on sustainability.  Established corporations or new, building a common understanding, knowing key definitions, where to turn for advance guidance, how to report ones successes – these all add to financial performance.

    We at CSE are practical dreamers – dreamers with results.  Based in part on his work with the Sustainability Academy, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the largest community foundation in US and globally, honored Avlonas as 2018 Practitioner of the Year for Corporate Responsibility, together with Google, Inc., winner of the corporate award.

    Innovative platforms such as the Sustainability Academy help us all become committed citizens who can change the world!

    For more information on how you can promote the initiative or join in the effort, contact [email protected].



    “Poverty: Punishment for a crime you didn’t commit”

    The Sustainable Development Goal 1 aims to end poverty in all its forms everywhere. Extreme poverty is a fundamental problem worldwide and it has been targeted by the United Nations through the 2030 SDGs.

    Poverty is a violation of basic human rights and dignity

    It is shocking that 1% of the population controls 50% of the world’s wealth. At the same time, a great percentage of the world’s population faces life-threatening problems. These include hunger or malnutrition and lack of access to a proper education among others. Other problems for this unfortunate segment include social discrimination, inequalities and exclusion. It is also very common for them not to participate in decision-making.

    According to the United Nations the numbers are disappointing

    Less than $1.90 a day: that is amount of money 20% of people living in developing countries have to live on. At the same time, 800 million people live on less than $1.25 a day.

    Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are the two regions mostly hit by extreme poverty, while conflicts and small size seem to affect a country’s percentage of poor people.

    Concerning children, 25% of them under the age of 5 have insufficient height for their age.

    SDG1 Targets:

    The United Nation’s SDG1 prioritizes men and women having access to basic human needs and people having equal rights and access to economic resources. It also encourages governments to develop social protection systems for all people.

    According to the United Nations, the SDG1 targets include the following:

    • By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, measured as people living on less than $1.90 a day
    • By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions
    • Implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable
    • By 2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including microfinance
    • By 2030, build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters
    • Ensure significant mobilization of resources from a variety of sources, including through enhanced development cooperation, in order to provide adequate and predictable means for developing countries, in particular least developed countries, to implement programmes and policies to end poverty in all its dimensions
    • Create sound policy frameworks at the national, regional and international levels, based on pro-poor and gender-sensitive development strategies, to support accelerated investment in poverty eradication actions

    For more information on essential sustainability issues and for you to become part of the solution, you can take a look at Sustainability Academy’s online courses

    More than 19 billion pounds of garbage ends up in our oceans every year, a great percentage coming from soda bottles and plastic bags. This number is expected to rise 100% by 2025 while according to the President of the United Nations, by 2050 there will be as much plastic in the ocean as fish, weight-wise. It is beyond imagination that every piece of plastic ever made is still out there, since only a fraction is recycled.

    Where does the plastic come from?

    The main reasons for plastic ending up in the oceans are the dumping of garbage into waterways and the pollution by plastic manufacturers. The number one reason though is the mismanaged waste disposal, a great percentage of which is coming from the developing countries. However, individual littering is not coming far behind. The plastic bottle you forgot on the beach is still out there, in the ocean.

    The characteristics of plastic

    Plastic is widely used in our every-day lives mainly because it is cheap, durable and easy to use. Those are the same reasons why it constitutes the most common trash in the oceans. Plastic has also another trait: it is not bio-degradable, when exposed to sunlight it breaks down to smaller and smaller pieces. But where do those small pieces end up?

    The consequences of the pollution

    Unfortunately 600 wildlife species are threatened by the rapidly rising use of plastic according to the Ocean Conservancy. Leatherback turtles get caught up in plastic bags which results to their death, whales are found with enormous amounts of plastic in their bellies, while seabirds pick up the plastic fragments to go and feed it to their chicks.

    The story does not end here. It has been estimated that 25% of the seafood we eat has consumed plastic which it has also mistaken it for food. We do not yet have exact information of what this can do to humans, still fragments of plastic have been held responsible for being toxic to humans and possibly leading to cancer and reproductive problems.

    What can we do?

    It is beyond doubt that all nations hand in hand with corporate organizations are the first to take a stand and reduce the amount of plastic that is produced and then stuck in our lives forever. However, each and every one of us has his own share of responsibility. Re-use, recycle and reduce the amount of plastic in your life starting from today.

    You want to become part of the solution? For cutting-edge sustainability education on essential sustainability issues, you can take a look at Sustainability Academy’s online courses.


    Polar bears are mammals that spend most of their time in the Arctic Ocean and they are considered very good swimmers. They have a high percentage of body fat and a water-repellent coat in order to be able to survive in the Arctic Ocean’s conditions and they are mainly fed by seals. They are hunting half of their time and still, they may catch 1 or 2 seals out of 10.

    Polar bears are divided into 19 sub-populations, out of which 3 are already in decline according to the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group.  In the southern Beaufort Sea there has been documented a 40% population loss for polar bears. Additionally scientists are afraid that this decline is going to continue in the future due to climate change since there is a continuous loss of their ice habitat.

    But why are polar bears so severely affected by climate change? Polar bears need the sea ice to cover most of their primary needs: they access the seals from which they are fed, while they use it to breed and rest. As sea ice deteriorates polar bears do not have the means to survive.

    Dr. Pete Ewins, WWF’s Senior Species Officer stated that “This is a clear warning sign of the impact a warming Arctic has on ice-dependent species like the polar bear.” “Given this sub-population is at the edge of the range, it’s no surprise to see this happening so soon.”

    Unfortunately, polar bears are not the only ones affected by climate change. Many species are facing endangerment since their habitats are deteriorating, such as African Elephants, Giant Pandas and Snow Leopards. On the other hand extreme weather conditions have also made their appearance all over the world causing disasters. Hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma are only recent examples of how climate change has affected our lives.

    It seems that after many years of humans leaving their footprint on the planet, the time has come for animal populations and future generations to pay the price. All nations and people individually should take responsibility for their actions and work together towards a resilient, sustainable world.

    You want to become part of the solution? For cutting-edge sustainability education on essential sustainability issues, you can take a look at Sustainability Academy’s online courses.



    The Sustainable Development Goal 5 is to achieve gender equality and to empower all women and girls by 2030. However, women and girls still face discrimination and become victims of violence all over the world.

    Where do we stand concerning this Sustainable Development Goal?

    Unfortunately, 49 countries still do not have laws to protect women from domestic violence. In 87 countries it is estimated that 1 in 5 women and girls under 50 years old fall victims of physical or sexual violence by their partner within last year.

    Child marriage is still a real thing: every year 15 million girls get married under the age of 18.

    Women find themselves doing 2.6 times more unpaid and domestic work than men. That leaves them with significantly less time to engage in other activities while they make less money.

    It is estimated that only 52% of women around the world make their own decisions concerning sexual relations, contraception and health care. As a result, decisions concerning education and work are affected too.

    As far as women’s professional status is concerned, they occupy less than a third of senior and middle management positions in the private sector and 23.7% of parliamentary seats.

    According to the United Nations the targets of the SDG 5 are the following:

    End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.

    Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.

    Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

    Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate.

    Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life.

    Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences.

    Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws.

    Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women.

    Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels.

    Amoxicillin is a broad-spectrum antibiotic, which is usually prescribed most often for ENT diseases and urinary tract infections. Well, it is also good for other infections; it helps well, especially if a person is allergic to other types of antibiotics. It should also be noted at that the pills are very affordable; they are sold without prescription in any pharmacy and are inexpensive.

    Women and girls constitute half of the population and they have the same human rights as men. We cannot actually talk about a sustainable world when women and girls continue to suffer. Gender equality is the basis and essence of a prosperous future for all. Women are entitled to equal opportunities concerning their education, healthcare and work.

    For more information on essential sustainability issues and for you to become part of the solution, you can take a look at Sustainability Academy’s online courses.