Innovation and entrepreneurship in a global and digital context: emerging challenges in the context of the climate crisis in the post-pandemic world

The main goal of the annual conference organized by the Scientific Association of Economics & Business Management (ACEDE, Asociación Científica de Economía y Dirección de la Empresa) is the creation of a meeting point where debate and scientific reflection take place on diverse aspects related to business management administration. The XXXI Congress edition will be developed on the motto “Entrepreneurship and Innovation in a global and digital environment: new challenges facing the climate crisis and the post-pandemic world”. This motto focuses scientific debate around the key challenges faced by corporations in the current new environment, characterized by slowed down global economies as the result of COVID-19, as well as by the effects of the climate crisis worldwide.

The extraordinary duration of the appalling consequences of the pandemic has pushed governments to intervene in most countries in the world. Measures such as expansive tax policies and reduced interest rates, together with the savings accumulated by consumers during the lockdown periods in their countries and reduced corporate debt - compared to the previous crisis in 2008 - seem to foretell a progressive economic recovery and a more optimistic scenario for business. However, the pandemic has unveiled new trends and challenges that will influence our business world in the near future: the plummeting of key sectors like tourism; the fragility of globalized supply chains; the competitive advantages brought by digitalization and robotics to businesses; increased commuting and remote work; the need to keep safety distances in workplaces and in the provision of services; the unstoppable growth of e-commerce; and, finally, the rise of innovation as a key success factor to overcome challenges, and disruption as the trigger to entrepreneurship. Moreover, the effect on the European economies and industries resulting from the distribution and execution of the EU “Next Generation” funds is also to be seen soon.

Adding to the effects and consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are the consequences of the global climate crisis. Indeed, human induced climate change is causing the emission of greenhouse effect gases (GHG), generally associated with an unprecedented global warming, causing multiple destructive effects. Consequently, EU governments have assumed multiple diverse goals aiming to alleviate such harmful effects. For instance, goals have been set aiming to reduce GHG by 55% and to reach a 32% of consumption of energy from renewable sources by 2030. Additionally, the objective for 2050 is for Europe to become carbon neutral. According to the European Commission, the required determination for fighting against climate crisis can result in, not only health and environmental benefits, sustainable economic growth, reduced unemployment and improved global competitiveness, but also in new opportunities for innovation and technological growth. Businesses must respond to this crisis not only for corporate responsibility, but also in order to adapt their offerings to the growing demands of investors, consumers and public administrations. Thus, it seems obvious that climate change will become, in the short run, a key element in business strategies and corporate culture. In this regard, diverse initiatives are growing aiming to minimize the effects of climate change: sustainable/green investments, based on Environmental, Social and Governance criteria; the development of more sustainable supply chains, such as zero waste production; green packaging solutions, responsible consumption patterns, sustainable mobility or even the digitalization of processes; renewable energy substituting fossil energy, circular economy and increased investment in R&D.

The ACEDE 31st Conference organizing committee invites national and international scientific communities, in the areas of business administration and management, to contribute to the development of knowledge and improved business practices in the current post-pandemic and global climate challenge environment. The invitation applies to the different research areas (strategic management, marketing, corporate finances, talent management, operations, etc.), with the goal of providing discussions and scientific debates to improve current knowledge (state-of-the-art), through the submission of contributions to the Conference that will take place at the IQS School of Management-Universitat Ramon Llull, Barcelona, on the 19th, 20th and 21st of June, 2022.