<> Holistic and Sustainable Digital Transformation Conference | Arden University

Holistic and Sustainable Digital Transformation Conference

The Inaugural free-to-attend conference is hosted by the School of Leadership and Management at Arden University. The conference will run in Coventry on Thursday 1st June 2023.

Digital technologies are increasingly being utilised in higher education institutions (HEIs) and the corporate business world as a means for social change, democratising learning, and adding value to business performance by solving the challenges of time, space, inflexibility, and accessibility. However, there is a gap yet to be filled; empowering graduates and employees with the digital capability (digital, green, and social skills) to thrive in a digital global economy. Today’s HEI and corporate business leaders must reconfigure and optimise their practices to thrive in a digital technology-dominated "new normal" world, especially after the COVID pandemic reshaped the world economy.

Indeed, since the global shutdown, which accelerated the adoption of digital technologies, HEIs are striving to learn from environmental challenges, what and how they can contribute to society and business, specifically in transforming the traditional approaches to learning to produce career-ready graduates. Moreover, there is a greater need to explore how digital transformation can be applied as sustainable evolutionary processes that enable education and business models to adapt and optimise value more efficiently and effectively.

In this context, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 4 requires that education providers “Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.”  While Principle 1 of UNPRME challenges HEIs to “…develop the capabilities of students to be future generators of sustainable value for business and society at large and to work for an inclusive and sustainable global economy.”

Professional, Statutory, and Regulatory Bodies (PSRBs) acknowledge the need for embedding digital transformation and sustainability in the core curriculum as reflected in the QAA Subject Benchmark Statements for business and management covering undergraduate and postgraduate UG and PG programmes. Thus, HEIs are increasingly under pressure to form partnerships with students, industry corporations, alumni, research, and local communities to develop new innovative knowledge transfer initiatives from more sustainable practices that benefit society, the environment, and the economy.

Underpinned by the PSRB requirements and UN goals, the conference seeks to address the following overarching question:

“In the advent of digital technologies, how should we reconceptualise, redesign, and reconfigure educational and business practices to produce green- and digital first-ready graduates, business leaders, and society?”

This conference presents a platform for academics and practitioners to collaboratively explore and challenge the role HEIs play in sustainable development and digital transformation. We invite contributors to interrogate the application and practices of sustainability and digital transformation by academics and practitioners.

Call for Paper 1st June 2023.

Prospective authors/speakers are encouraged to contribute to and help shape the conference through submissions of their research abstracts, papers, presentations, and e-posters. Also, high-quality research contributions presenting original and unpublished results of conceptual, constructive, empirical, or theoretical work on the below themes.  

This conference is aimed at calling attention to and facilitating a collaborative response from academics and practitioners to the following challenges:

  1. The development of frameworks that enable businesses to devise scalable initiatives to address sustainability and climate change and generate sustainable stakeholder values.
  2. The deployment of scalable digital technology-driven responsible management education learning models that enhance the capabilities of graduates to be future generators of sustainable value mutually beneficial to stakeholders.
  3. Developing effective and scalable frameworks for deploying technology as a force for social democratic change to drive the equality, diversity, and inclusion agenda in learning and corporate practices.
  4. Development of scalable, innovative, technology-driven partnership initiatives between HEIs and SMEs to enhance SMEs' leadership, creativity, innovation, and adaptability capabilities to generate mutually beneficial sustainable value for a more sustainable and climate change-sensitive future world.

Theme 1: Sustainability and Climate Change

The combination of increasing climate change, rising income inequality, the Covid-19 pandemic, and geopolitical conflicts are creating a perfect storm of challenges to how businesses and economies are run. Consequently, companies are taking sustainability seriously, setting ambitious goals and targets and launching sustainability initiatives at an unprecedented pace. However, despite sustainability becoming a new corporate imperative, many initiatives still need to scale, indicating that there is still a considerable gap between ambition and action. How can the gap be addressed?


  1. Embedding sustainability into corporate practices.
  2. CSR & ESG - Transforming shareholder to stakeholder value.
  3. Students as agents for climate change transformation.
  4. Tracking carbon emissions downstream of supply chain operations.
  5. Challenges facing organisations in managing remote, hybrid employees and the growing trend of freelance employment.


Theme 2: Digital first (AU strategic vision)

Digital technologies are a potential force for social change that provides the means to democratise education by solving the challenges of time, space, inflexibility, and accessibility for the benefit of the global society. Improving the digital capability of the most marginalised and vulnerable members of our society is key to people’s ability to thrive in the challenging digital economies of the future. Theme 4 asks, "How should we use digital technologies to reconceptualise, redesign, and reconfigure blended learning for sustainability?"


  1. How to address the rising need for digital, sustainability, social, and emotional intelligence skills in the workplace-sustainability mindset.
  2. Digital Poverty - Bridging the digital divide.
  3. Embedding sustainability literacy into a hybrid curriculum.
  4. Digital technologies for the sustainable development of Higher Education.


Theme 3: Equality, Diversity, Inclusion (EDI) – Technological perspective

Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) play a significant role in organisations and ultimately benefit business development. Enterprises, both big and small, are showing their commitment to EDI. However, various businesses still need strategic values to enforce these principles. EDI in traditional business processes helps to increase diverse suppliers and reduce discrimination and harassment in workforce management. However, since the supply chain breakdown during the pandemic, sustainable development has been readdressed by how well all suppliers are engaged in the above activities.


  1. Using technologies to enhance inclusive learning and business practices.
  2. How to incorporate equality, diversity, and inclusion to support sustainable business practices.
  3. Supply chain diversification, digital transformation, and sustainability.
  4. How to embed inclusive learning in hybrid learning and deal with the threat of digital poverty.


Theme 4: Entrepreneurship & SMEs

SMEs, which make up more than 90% of all businesses worldwide, face a critical challenge in their sustainable innovation, creative leadership, and digital transformation in the post-pandemic period. It requires SMEs to act, scale up their impact, and become part of the solution for sustainable development. It is urgent to discuss how SMEs integrate their business planning with the goals of unlocking new opportunities in terms of sustainability, promoting higher levels of productivity, and contributing to economic growth.


  1. Sustainable Innovation & Digital Transformation in SMEs
  2. Creativity, innovation, and Leadership of Entrepreneurship in SMEs
  3. Inflation and supply chain disruptions in SMEs.
  4. Remote working and flexibility in the SME workplace.

Please ensure your submission meets the conference's strict guidelines for accepting  Abstract Papers.

When submitting your abstract, please follow the guidelines below. Your abstract should include the following:

  • Title of the paper.
  • An introductory statement that outlines the background and significance of the study.
  • A succinct description of the basic methodologies.
  • A clear indication of the major findings of the study.
  • A concluding statement.
  • Five keywords listed in alphabetical order.
  • Do not include any references or figures.
  • The abstract must be written in the third person.
  • Do not exceed 250 words.
  • Add a brief biography about yourself [not more than 80 words].
  • Please choose the type of session that you would like to undertake.

Abstract Submission Deadline:

31st March 2023

Notification of Acceptance:

14th April 2023

Full Paper/ Presentation/Poster submission: 

12th May 2023

Conference Registration via Eventbrite:

For online Zoom attendance


Meet the keynote speakers