Posted: 04 Oct. 2020 4 min.

Deloitte ACTIVISM – launching an innovation hub

Topic: Sustainable Development Goals

I fled Iran during the revolution. As long as I remember, activism and the desire to change the world has been part of the conversation around my childhood dinner table. As an adult, I have seen how companies and organizations increasingly take on an activist role to find new, sustainable solutions to existing problems at the same time they make money.

I am thrilled to announce that Deloitte has made a big, bold move and put me in charge of it. As of today, I am the executive director of acacia – the Sustainable Innovation Hub. An experiment to create fertile ground for ambitious ideas to grow and eventually bloom into world-changing organizations built with sustainability at the core.

We have chosen to call it Acacia inspired by the acacia tree that thrives in the most desolate environments, bringing life where it didn’t exist before – and carving others’ path to do the same. And just like the acacia tree, we will pioneer growth in areas previously thought impossible. We will catalyze sustainable transformation and help businesses tackle the greatest challenges that our planet face.

We will use facilitation as the most excellent tool to challenge assumptions, igniting thoughts, and question the status quo.

I am confident that we can do this. My team has already assisted 60 companies with their eye-opening, innovative, and amazingly inspiring transformations for the past years. We have co-created Denmark's first commercial climate strategy, the world's first national measuring points for the Sustainable Development Goals, and three times facilitated UNLEASH, the world's largest innovation laboratory for sustainable development. Small lighthouses to cast the light and inspire.

The journey until today has been a bumpy road, with many mistakes and frustration, but also with joy and outstanding achievements. I have learned a lot. Many times, we have embedded organizational barriers that fundamentally challenge the reach of sustainable transformation. From our one-dimensional way of measuring value creation and traditional IP thinking that makes us reinvent the wheel again and again, to our lack of creating an ecosystem that can mobilize a systemic change.

Therefore, acacia will build on a different rationale. We will document everything we do in logbooks to inspire others. With our clients and partners, we will walk on the edge of the unknown, always taking on an experimental mindset to find new paths. To do so, we have defined a set of rules for ourselves to push the boundaries. We will only engage in projects that

  1. Can be used as a national or global showcase for solving the societal challenges embedded in the SDGs
  2. Requires an experimental methodology and approach
  3. Is co-developed with an ecosystem of partners
  4. Involves the public dissemination of knowledge, cases, or results
  5. Is financially an investment in the future

I am excited to embark on this new experiment. In the coming years, I hope we co-create more lighthouses, push new boundaries, and together create a more sustainable future.

Deloitte has made this investment in the future with Acacia. I am grateful for that: A company taking steps towards transforming itself and others in a sustainable direction. That is activism.

Mere om forfatteren

Bahare Haghshenas

Bahare Haghshenas

Executive director i Acacia

Spørg mig om: SDGerne, Samfundsansvar, bæredygtighed, CSR, innovation Bahare er partner i Deloitte og Executive Director i acacia – the Sustainable Innovation Hub. Hun er specialiseret i strategi og innovation og arbejder tæt sammen med danske virksomheder med henblik på at udnytte bæredygtighed og FNs verdensmål til at overkomme komplekse virksomhedsproblemer.