GUBERNA Summer School

GUBERNA Summer School - Boarding into Sustainability and Digitalisation


Our first GUBERNA Summer School – fully digital due to Covid-19 restrictions - successfully took place on 2 - 3 July. All participants and speakers followed the course from their comfortable home office, completely fitting in with the topics of digitalisation and sustainability.  

Day 1 - Digitalisation

Thierry Geerts (CEO Google) started strongly by providing an intriguing view on the “digital revolution”. How far have we come since the first industrial revolution? And how do we get even further? 

Prof. Dr. Steven de Haes (AMS) presented the academic research on digitalisation in the boardroom. Our engaged and outspoken audience highly appreciated the discussion and interactivity. 

The sessions on cybersecurity (Wouter Avondstondt), data management (Pieter Dubois, Wim Vochten and Bart Van Renterghem) and the legal aspects of digitalisation (Peter Craddock) brought theoretical background as well as practical take-aways. 

Day 2 - Sustainability

Day 2 focused on sustainability. Sandra Gobert highlighted the importance of sustainability in the board by framing it in a European and international picture: Sustainable Development Goals, the European taxonomy and many other facts and figures are now basic knowledge of our participants.

Prof. dr. Abigail Levrau and Prof. dr. Saartje Verbeke tested the newly acquired knowledge by introducing our participants to a board dilemma based on the Callebaut business case. The format gave rise to inspiring discussions on the balance between business-economic factors and sustainability, and the conclusion offered practical tips and tricks to bring (and keep) sustainability into the boardroom. 

In the afternoon, Emilie De Riollet de Morteuil and Astrid Van Parys presented the Colruyt Group way to sustainability: a testimonial demonstrating the challenges a company faces as well as how they can be overcome and make the organisation stronger. They further shared their perspective on the complementarity of sustainability and digital tools.

The GUBERNA Alumni Council closed the Summer School with a panel debate which showed the different angels of the impact of Covid-19 and sustainability: on project management, on the personal resilience of board directors, and on board composition. The multiple questions of the participants made it a lively debate.  

Key learnings

Looking back at the GUBERNA Summer School, we conclude that both digitalisation and sustainability demand a real mindshift in the board: it does not suffice to know a little bit about this or that, one really has to integrate both concepts in every layer of the organisation; from shareholder’s interests over board discussions to operational policies. We aim to continue to take our guiding position by supporting our members with content and information on digitalisation and sustainability.  

A great thank you to the participants of the GUBERNA Summer School. You really are exemplary of our mission: being a director is a lifelong learning journey. 

Thank you to our sponsor