Green Week@ŠKODA on the topic of Sustainability and the Economy with the participation of academics from ŠKODA AUTO University

Consumer Attitudes Towards Sustainability and Green Behaviour, Education in Sustainability, Diversity & Inclusion. These and other topics were the subject of lectures presented by academics from ŠKODA AUTO University on the first day of the Green Week project.

In the introductory lecture “Sustainable Development as a Solution to Global Problems”, Dan Heuer from Fair Venture consultants, who is also an external lecturer at ŠKODA AUTO University, presented the global challenges facing the planet, such as climate change and loss of biodiversity. He followed this up with an introduction to Sustainable Development Goals, a UN programme which is designed to address these issues. In his afternoon talk, Dan Heuer then addressed the topic of Sustainable Development as a Business Opportunity. “The lecture shows four historical approaches to corporate sustainability. It explains, for example, what role companies play in the concept of sustainable development and why the term “corporate social responsibility” is being used less and less. The European Sustainable Finance Strategy was also presented, where green companies are favoured by banks and investors. Thoughtfulness therefore pays off economically and becomes an attractive opportunity,” says Dan Heuer, describing the range of topics presented.

The topic Consumer Attitudes Towards Sustainability and Green Behaviour was presented by Eva Jaderná from the Department of Marketing and Management at ŠKODA AUTO University, who added the following as regards content: “In the introduction, the presentation focused on theoretical definition of the essence of sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR). The CSR activities most commonly performed in the automotive industry were outlined and then the results of questionnaire surveys from projects from the Student Grant Competition at ŠKODA AUTO University were presented. These surveys focused on sustainable consumer and purchasing behaviour of the Czech population, including purchasing of sustainable products, preference for sustainable shops or attitudes towards electromobility. The audience could take part in a poll using and answer selected questions from the surveys. Their answers were then compared with trends in the environmental behaviour of Czech consumers and their purchasing habits in relation to sustainability.”

What is the price which customers subsequently pay for a sustainable product made up of? This question was addressed in a lecture by another of the academics and lecturers at ŠKODA AUTO University, Josef Horák, member of the Department of Finance and Accounting.

The afternoon block of lectures on the topic Maximisation = Inconsiderateness was kicked off by David Holman from the Department of Production, Logistics and Quality Management at ŠKODA AUTO University. In his presentation, he addressed the topic of Education in Sustainability (Thoughtfulness) and presented the educational model 21st EWA EDU, which he created together with his colleague Eva Švejdarová from the Department of Human Resources Management. “The aim of the contribution is to show how 21st EWA Education, which represents an innovation in education, can be used to go one better than the value represented by doing things to the maximum, as fast as possible, as much as possible and in the cheapest possible way. The idea that the best whole is the sum of the best parts, exemplified by the mantra of economic education that the goal of business and entrepreneurship is the maximisation of profit, no longer works. Not only does maximisation not lead to the best results, it also fails to take into account the surrounding environment in a considerate manner. Simply because the current educational model, built on transformation of data into information, information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom, does not sufficiently and systematically take into account the role and importance of the relevant surrounding environment. Thanks to new ability to understand things as a whole, we now know that the ideal properties and parameters of the whole do not stem from the properties and parameters of its parts, or from interactions. The ideal properties and parameters of the whole are determined by the relevant surrounding environment which defines the purpose and meaning of the given whole and further dictates the optimal parameters of the parts and interactions of the whole, i.e. in a global, interconnected world, a completely opposite logic applies, which explains why extremes (e.g. maximum profits or minimum costs) do not work."

"If we as a society want to be more considerate, not only towards the environment, we need radical innovation of the current educational model. The 21st EWA Education model of Agile Education as a Whole complements the existing educational model with a new skill –the understanding things as a whole – enabling a holistic understanding of the dramatically changing surrounding environment. The dynamically evolving, global environment of the early 21st century defines the purposes of entire wholes and thereby the optimal parameters of the parts and interactions of the respective whole under investigation. This innovative, educational model is already finding application not only on the university level, but also in other areas, including lifelong learning, optimisation management projects and internationally,” says David Holman, providing additional details about the presented educational programme.

Another guest in the afternoon block was Jorma Imppola from Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, a partner university of ŠKODA AUTO University. Professor Imppola gave a presentation on the topic of The Challenge of Sustainability in Finland.

Diversity & Inclusion as a path to respect for all. This topic was presented by Eva Švejdarová from the Department of Human Resources Management at ŠKODA AUTO University and Jana Tikalová from OPIM, an organisation which primarily focuses on diversity and inclusion. Jana Tikalová adds the following regarding the content and topic of the presentation: “Diversity and inclusion are topics relating to sustainability and the global goals of the UN’s 2030 Agenda. D&I Shapers is a platform for companies which have diversity, inclusion and equal opportunities high on their list of values. Together with ŠKODA AUTO University, one of our members and partners in the D&I Shapers platform, we have been able to give 25,000+ employees of ŠKODA AUTO a. s. an insight into this topic during the Green Week conference. Sustainability and the economy are at the heart of this conference where we are talking about diversity, equal opportunities and inclusion.”

“Authenticity, diversity and inclusion are not only the driving force behind creativity and innovation, but also the only sustainable way to reach our full potential. The opportunity to be yourself should not be the privilege of the chosen few. Authenticity is the first and also the most important step to harnessing our inner creativity – the engine behind all innovation. An organisation can only take full advantage of our work if we are working in a supportive environment. This can only be ensured if we understand the fact that each of us is unique. An environment of acceptance sustainable over the long term is created through inclusion, which helps us find ways and means to make the most of our individual talents. This step requires a growth mindset and for you to step out of your comfort zone, but the benefit is worth it. Because it is only through the individual that the potential of the whole organisation can be unlocked,” say both Eva Švejdarová and Jana Tikalová, who addressed this topic in their lectures. The day-long block of lectures led by lecturers from ŠKODA AUTO University ended with the presentation A New Approach to Elimination of Environmental Impacts in Industry Logistics given by Tomáš Malčic, member of the Department of Production, Logistics and Quality Management at ŠKODA AUTO University.

The week-long event, organised by ŠKODA AUTO a. s. and aimed at introducing sustainability topics and all of the pillars of the Green Future strategy, culminated in a volunteer event called Let’s Clean Up the Czech Republic.