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SF 2015

The 4th Sustainability Forum 

For the fourth consecutive year, the “Sustainability Forum 2015, a training, networking and professional development event” by Global Sustain, was held with great success on October 2nd, at the OTEAcademy premises.

More than 70 participants had the opportunity to attend specialised workshops and listen to internationally renowned speakers and experts in sustainability issues, acquiring knowledge about major issues and international trends.

More specifically, in the opening session, Mr. Michael Spanos, Managing Partner, Global Sustain, referred to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the role that businesses are required to play in their implementation. The 17 Global Goals, with a time horizon 2030, focus on issues such as poverty, hunger and climate change.

Furthermore, Mr. Spanos talked about the regulatory framework of sustainability at international and European level, as well as the latest developments, such as the European Directive on disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by companies with more than 500 employees. Among the issues analysed by Mr. Spanos were sustainability strategy and reporting, materiality and international reporting standards.

Ms. Mina Valavani,Head of Sustainability, CSR & Media Relations Manager, ELAIS-UNILEVER, referred to the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, to the corporate responsibility best practices of UNILEVER in Greece and abroad, and to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Ms. Vanya Veras, Secretary General, Municipal Waste Europe, analysed the importance of prevention, control, recycling and reuse of raw materials in the production procesS. The implementation of the above will have an impact on the energy efficiency, job creation and on the achievement of a sustainable economic growth.

Mr. Bruce Piasecki, President & CEO, AHC Group, Inc, informed the participants on the way they can value sustainability actions in their business. He also made extensive reference to the growing importance of ESG criteria (Environmental, Social and Governance) for investors.

Mr. John Perkins, Programme Manager Sustainable Business Team, BT plc., shared with the participants BT’s knowledge regarding the measurement of the Internet’s social value for businesses and their stakeholders (social inclusion, financial benefits etc.).

Mr. Manuel Lianos, European Director,LNE Group & Mr. Yannis Salavopoulos, Founder & President, CAPITALS Business Circle, provided an overview of the European funding programme, Horizon 2020, analysed the ways that sustainability and innovation projects can be financed through it, giving examples for upcoming funding calls.

Mr. Spyros Kouvelis, Senior Advisor to the UN, introduced the concept of Sustainable Consumption and Production and referred to its relevance to social and business innovation. Moreover, Mr. Kouvelis made special reference to the «Action Plan and Implementation Roadmap» of the Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production.

Mr. Panagiotis Louizos, Senior Coordinator Planning & Strategy, Global Reporting Initiative, gave an overview of GRI’s strategy for 2015-2020that is focused on four strategic areas: enabling smart policy, more reporters and better reporting, moving beyond reports and innovation and collaboration. He also referred to the new G4 Guidleines and the international discussion platform, Corporate Leadership Groups.

Mr. Dimitris Ioannou, Sales Manager, Energy & Sustainability Services, Schneider Electric, provided an outline of the European Energy Efficiency Directive and introduced the participants to theISO 50001 energy management certification.

Ms. Athanasia Karananou, Investor Engagements Senior Manager, United Nations –supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), explained the concept of responsible investments, enhanced the understanding of how investors integrate ESG considerations into their investment decision making practices. Finally, she identified the role of investor engagement initiatives in fostering sustainability and good governance within companies.

Mr. Thanos Belalidis, Partner and Head of Communication Services, Sympraxis Team, talked about the benefits and opportunities of Cause Related Marketing during financial crisis. He also referred to case studies of companies from Greece and abroad, which, successfully, correlated their brand with social issues.

At the end of the Forum, participants received certificates of attendance.

Supporters & Sponsors:

  • Golden Sponsors: Alpha Bank, OTE – COSMOTE.
  • Supporters:Berling, Dow, European Reliance, E.J. PAPADOPOULOS S.A., Unilever CAPITALS Business Circle, AHC Group.
  • Venue Sponsor:ΟΤΕAcademy.
  • Cocktail Sponsor: Athenian Brewery.
  • Catering Sponsor: Papaspyrou.
  • Web & Social Media Partner: Think Plus.
  • Graphic Designer Partner: Greenmind.
  • Printing Partner: Pressious Arvanitidis
  • Communication Partners: Re:CSR, CSR Week,, Marketing Week, Plant Management,, Asfalistiko Marketing,,,, CSRwire,  Ethical Performance, Asian NGO, Governance & Accountability Institute, Global Thinkers Forum.
  • Institutional Partners: CEO Clubs, Hellenic-French Chamber of Industry and Commerce, The Hellenic-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Hellenic-Dutch Association of Commerce and Industry, Union of Listed Companie

Participants’ Testimonials

Here are some quotes we received from participants:

“ Fantastic training, efficient, fast, no gibberish”– Thanos  Belalidis, Head of Communication Services, SYMPRAXIS TEAM

“Very informative on subjects around and affecting my care area. Therefore useful to my job” – Vanya Veras, Secretary General, MUNICIPAL WASTE EUROPE

“Excellent forum, engaging speakers, keep up the good work! Sharing is caring!”. – Sofia Petroleka, HR Coordinator, ELSA SILGAN

“I learnt very practical information as well as networking with very important people” – Dimitris Ioannou, Sales Manager Energy & Sustainability Services, SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC

“A useful gathering for sharing knowledge with international sustainability practitioners” – Sharon Jackson, Founder and Director, European Sustainability Academy (ESA)

Other participants said:

  • Very good work
  • An interesting, thought provoking and enlightening event
  • Very professional
  • Well organized, interesting topics, solid presenters, good ambience
  • A great chance to realise how we can contribute to a better, more sustainable world