Dr Isabel Buitrago-Franco

Research Fellow

Australian Institute for Business and Economics
Faculty of Business, Economics and Law
isabel.buitragofranco@uq.edu.au
+61 7 344 31280
0404512757

Overview

Full Name: Isabel (Buitrago) Franco

Preferred Name: Isabel B. Franco

Languages: English, Spanish and Portuguese (CELPE-BRAS - Portuguese Language Certificate for Foreigners)

E-mail: isabelfranco@uq.edu.au ; connect@drisabelfranco.com

Personal Website: DrIsabelFranco.com

Research Impact Website: Exceptional Women in Sustainability Connector (eWisely.org)

Isabel is an emerging leader in International Sustainable Development, Sustainability Science, Policy and Practice. She is curious about exploring the role of corporations and their stakeholders in fostering the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. She does this through the development, refinement and application of sustainability assessment tools, methods, models and techniques. She has applied such tools to various industries namely, extractives (mining), gemstones, higher education, finance and banking, public sector, international development, fashion and the third sector (NGOs), in geographical contexts as diverse as Australia, Japan, China, Thailand, Colombia, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Zambia and Angola.

As a researcher, she is currently engaged in industry-based research at the Australian Institute for Business and Economics, The University of Queensland. Isabel explores how corporations, in partnership with higher education institutions, governments and civil society organisations can better action the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Prior her current appointment, she worked for the United Nations University - Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) (2017-2019). Her investigation explored the role of higher education and its stakeholder networks in achieving the SDGs. Before joining UNU-IAS, she conducted PhD research in the field of Governance and Corporate Sustainability at the Sustainable Minerals Institute and the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences (SEES), The University of Queensland, Australia (2011-2014). Grounded on her work experience on sustainable human capital development, at the British Council Colombia and the Ministry of Education of Colombia (2008-2010), her investigation examined the role of the extractive industry (mining) in forging sustainable livelihoods in resource-rich regions of Colombia, Latin America. After completing her PhD research, Isabel was appointed Adjunct Research Fellow at the University of Queensland (2016-2017) to support the establishment of the Centre of Excellence in Sustainability in Mining in Colombia. She was responsible for delivering a research project on the role of the emerald mining industry in sustainable community development, particualrly in the context of postconflict regions of Colombia. Interested in collaborating with Isabel. Find out more about her work on her Lab DrIsabelFranco.com

As a Lecturer, Isabel has also lectured across various areas of international sustainable development, sustainability science and policy, globally. Some of the universities and think tanks she has collaborated with, are but not limit to: the United Nations University – Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), Japan, The University of Queensland, Australia, Meiji Gakuin, Japan, University of Zambia, Universidad Nacional de Colombia and Universidad Autonoma de Mexico. She has also engaged in several capacity-building initiatives at the University of Western Sydney and Universidad Catolica de Chile. Isabel was also awarded ‘Best Sessional Lecturer at the University of Queensland in 2014.

As a practitioner, Isabel has consulted for various corporations and United Nations agencies in Latin America, Asia-Pacific and Africa. She has worked for the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and The Pacific (UNESCAP, Thailand) (2014-2017), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP, Angola) (2015-2016) and more recently for the United Nations University – Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS, Japan) (2017-2019). During her appointment at UNESCAP in Thailand, she engaged in policy-relevant research on sustainable business models in Asia and the Pacific. She also advised the EBAC Business Network, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, amongst other corporations, on socio-envionmental aspects of corporate sustainability. These collaborations resulted in tangible outcomes, such as two UN books on socially responsible business – which she co-authored and edited: ‘Socially Responsible Business: A Model for a Sustainable Future’ and the ‘Corporate Agenda of Sustainable Development’.

Prior her appointment at UNESCAP Isabel worked in Angola, Africa for the UNDP, managing and delivering large multilingual projects (English-Portuguese-Spanish). She also advised the Ministry of Mines and Geology of Angola and CATOCA mining company on how to integrate sustainability principles into business operations, in alingment with the African Mining Vision - a continental policy for sustainable resource development. In collaboration with the Ministry of Planning and UNDP, she also led Angola's Implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries. Isabel is passionate about connecting with sustainability leaders (individuals and corporations) to forge a sustainable future for all. Find out more about her work on her Lab DrIsabelFranco.com

EDUCATION

  • 2011- 2014 - Ph.D ‘Governance and Corporate Sustainability’,The University of Queensland, Australia
  • 2008-2010 - MA Educational Management, University of Barcelona, Spain
  • 2017 - Small Business Management, TAFE Queensland, Australia
  • 2010 - GradCert Governance and Public Policy, The University of Queensland, Australia
  • 2004 – 2008 - BA (Hons) Education and Languages, National University of Colombia, Colombia
  • 2000- 2006 - BA (Hons) Public Administration, School of Public Administration and Political Sciences (ESAP), Colombia

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS

  • 2018-2019 -Contributing Author - United Nations International Resource Panel Report: Land Restoration for Achieving the SDGs Report; United Nations International Resource Panel
  • 2017 – 2018 - Adjunct Research Fellow; Sustainable Minerals Institute, Centre for Water in the Mining Industry, The University of Queensland, Australia
  • 2018 - Guest Lecturer in Education for Sustainable Mining; University of Zambia
  • 2018 - Guest Lecturer in Women in Global Mining and Sustainability; Universidad Catolica de Chile
  • 2015 - Guest Lecturer in Mining and Natural Resource Management; School of Mines, Universidad Nacional de Colombia
  • 2013-2016 - Fellow Member; Global Change Institute, Australia
  • 2013-2016 - Guest Lecturer in Sustainable Resource Governance; The University of Queensland, Australia
  • 2015 - Guest Lecturer Sustainable Resource Governance; Universidad Autonoma de Mexico

AWARDS

  • 2018 Exceptional Woman of the Year (Awarded to Women Leaders in their fields) Women Economic Forum, India
  • 2015 TEDxUQ Talk Speaker: “Beautiful women: The Ugly Reality”, Australia
  • 2014 Best Sessional Lecturer Humanities and Social Science School (HASS), The University of Queensland, Australia
  • 2014 Global Leader Award The University of Queensland, Australia
  • 2011-2012 International Student Ambassador for Colombia Brisbane City Council (Appointed by Brisbane’s Lord Mayor), Australia

FUNDING AND RESEARCH GRANTS

In her early research career, Isabel has successfully managed sustainability research, policy, capacity-building and consulting projects, with half million AUD dollars in research funding support as a named investigator.

2017-2019 - Project: Global Stakeholder Networks for Impactful Sustainability Research and Education

​Status: Concluded Dr. Isabel B. Franco, Principal Investigator; Funding Body: Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), Postdoctoral Fellowship for Foreign Researchers Funding: JPY 10,850,000. ​ Partners: Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, United Nations University - Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability, Keio University, JSPS.

2017 - Project: Photo Documentary Research Grant: It is not just a Women's Issue

Status: Concluded Role: Dr. Isabel B. Franco, Principal Investigator; Funding body: Mineros S.A

Funding: US 3,000. Partners: Mineros S.A, Exceptional Women in Sustainability (eWisely)

2015 - Project: Decentralisation, Corporate Community Development and Resource Governance: A Comparative Analysis of Two Mining Regions in Colombia

Status: Concluded Dr. Isabel B. Franco, Principal Investigator; Funding body: The University of Queensland, Sustainable Minerals Institute, Writing Fellowship.

Funding: AUD 5,000. Partners: Sustainable Minerals Institute, The University of Queensland

2012 – 2013- Project: Artisanal Mining and Livelihoods

​Status: Concluded Role: Dr. Isabel B. Franco, Principal Investigator; Funding body: International Mining for Development Centre (IM4DC), Student Action Research Grant

Funding: AUD 20,000 Partners: International Mining for Development Centre, Sustainable Minerals Institute, The University of Queensland

2013 - Project: The Global-local interface: Governance Dynamics for Sustainable Human Capital Capacity-building in Colombian Mining Regions

​Status: Concluded Role: Dr. Isabel B. Franco, Principal Investigator; Funding body: The University of Queensland, Field Research Travel grant – School of Earth and Environmental Sciences​

Funding: AUD 3,000. Partners: The University of Queensland, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences​ (SEES)

2011 - Project: Community Capacity-building and a Social License to Operate in the Mining Industry

​ Status: Concluded Role: Dr. Isabel B. Franco, Principal Investigator; Funding body: The University of Queensland, International Conference Grant, Sustainable Minerals Institute

Funding: AUD 3,000. Partners: Sustainable Minerals Institute, The University of Queensland

2011- Project: Socially Responsible Business: A Model for a Sustainable Future Status: Concluded

Role: Dr. Isabel B. Franco, Principal Investigator; Funding body: United Nations ESCAP and The University of Queensland, Travel grant – SEES

Funding: AUD 2,000. Partners: United Nations ESCAP, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences​​, The University of Queensland

2011-2014 - Project: Enhancing Human Capital in Resource Regions - The Colombian Case

Status: Concluded Role: Dr. Isabel B. Franco, Principal Investigator; Funding body: The University of Queensland, UQ International Scholarship (UQI)

Funding: AUD 92,000. Partners: The University of Queensland

2010-2011- Project: Education for CSR in Mining Regions

Status: Concluded Role: Dr. Isabel B. Franco, Principal Investigator; Funding body: The University of Queensland, Sustainable Minerals Institute - Summer Research Scholarship

Funding: AUD 3,000. Partners: Sustainable Minerals Institute, The University of Queensland

Research Interests

  • Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030
  • Corporate Sustainability Performance
  • Gender Aspects of Sustainable Development
  • Sustainability Reporting and Accountability
  • Sustainable Resource Development and Extractives
  • Sustainability Science, Education and Capacity-building for Sustainable Development

Research Impacts

  • Connecting Leaders for a Sustainable Future

Isabel’s work contributes to the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and cuts across various areas of international sustainable development, sustainability science, policy and practice. She is passionate about connecting leaders (individuals and corporations) for a sustainable future! With 40+ scientific, policy outcomes and field experience in Asia-Pacific, Africa and The Americas, her work has been presented at the United Nations High Level Political Forum in New York, influencing the international agenda for sustainable development. Awardee of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Fellowship (JSPS) (a competitive funding scheme for international researchers), Isabel was engaged in policy-relevant research at the United Nations University – Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) (2017-2019). Her UNU-JSPS project 'Global Stakeholder Networks for Impactful Research and Education', resulted in scientific and policy outcomes on research impact and SDGs localisation. Some of her publications were co-authored in collaboration with the inaugural UNU-IAS Director and UNU-IAS Academic Coordinator. More recently, she served as a contributing author to the United Nations International Resource Panel Report on Land Restoration and SDGs. Isabel has managed and delivered large, multilingual, scientific, policy and consulting projects on international sustainable development, sustainability science, policy and practice. Her past clients, collaborations and global impact can be found on her Lab DrIsabelFranco.com

RHD Students: Isabel is open to discuss research proposals on sustainability science and SDGs. Find out what Isabel's students say about her here.

Corporations: GRI certified on sustainability reporting, Isabel advises socially and environmentally responsible business on how to integrate sustainability into their DNA. Find out more here

Researchers:Isabel is passionate about connecting with sustainability leaders across the globe. Find out more about potential research collaborations at her Lab DrIsabelFranco

  • Exceptional Women in Sustainability (eWisely.org)

Isabel is the Founder of the global connector ‘Exceptional Women in Sustainability – eWisely.org- the fastest-growing connector of women in sustainability. By connecting women in sustainability through global networks, eWisely contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG 5 Gender Equality) and SDGs interlinkages. eWisely has 20 networks in Latin America, 11 networks in Asia-Pacific and 8 Networks in Africa. The connector engages women in sustainability science, policy and practice across the globe to conduct collaborative, scientific and policy-relevant research that explores the nexus amongst women, sustainability and leadership. eWisely also helps women build more sustainable careers. Join eWisely Global Move here!

eWisely Leaders and RHD Students:Isabel is open to discuss research proposals that connect at least two of the following areas: women, sustainability, SDGs and leadership. Find out more about her students' testimonials here.

Corporations: Isabel helps corporations implement due diligence processes to foster sustainable gender inclusion and achieve the SDGs across the supply chain. Click here to found out more.

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland

Publications

View all Publications

Available Projects

  • About the project

    As raw material producers, women entrepreneurs and business owners, executives and professionals, retail employees, and consumers, women help sustainable and inclusive businesses succeed, grow and become more profitable. Yet, women continue to face barriers to unleash their full potential at work, in the marketplace, at the communities adjacent to business operations and in many other aspects of life. This not only prevents women from forging sustainable livelihood options for themselves and their families but it also compromises the growth and sustainability of businesses, economies, and communities at large. Investing wisely in women’s assets across value chains presents a unique business opportunity to create shared value and advance towards inclusive and sustainable development.

    eWisely Approach

    eWisely project encourages socially and environmentally responsible business to invest wisely by integrating sustainability into their DNA. We do so by helping them implement due diligence processes to foster sustainable gender inclusion across the supply chain. Based on background scientific research undertaken by our Founder Dr. Isabel B. Franco in collaboration with the United Nations and multi-stakeholder roundtables globally, eWisely team developed a corporate sustainability model that helps corporations achieve the Global Sustainable Development Goals in alignment with the 2030 Agenda. Our model has proved that through key enablers and the accurate sustainability strategy in place, organizations can create impact and add value to women, their families, organizations and communities they are embedded.

    About potential students

    Thanks for your interest in joining our eWisely. Below you can find some useful information. Please read carefully before contacting to inquire about postgraduate study at eWisely lab.

    - Degrees

    All lab students are postgraduate, either at the MSc or the PhD level. All students are affiliated with the Australian Institute for Business and Economics based in Brisbane, Australia.

    This is a heavily research-oriented programme both at the MSc and the PhD level.

    - Research interests

    You will find a lot of information throughout eWisely.org website about the research conducted within the lab. Any proposal connecting women, sustainability, SDGs and leadership would be considered. Please check testimonials from previous mentored and supervised students here.

  • About the Project

    I am interested in exploring the role of corporations and their stakeholders in fostering overall sustainability. I do this through the development, refinement and application of sustainability assessment tools methods, models and techniques. I have applied such tools to various industries namely, extractives (mining), gemstones, higher education, finance and banking, public sector, international development, fashion and the third sector (NGOs), in geographical contexts as diverse as Australia, Japan, China, Thailand, Colombia, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Zambia and Angola.

    About Potential Students

    I am seeking to work with students interested in exploring sustainability methods, tools and techniques across various industries. Any proposal targeting the Sustainable Development Goals, corporate sustainability performance and similar research interest would be considered. Please find out more about my interests in my site drisabelfranco.com

View all Available Projects

Publications

Book

Book Chapter

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • About the project

    As raw material producers, women entrepreneurs and business owners, executives and professionals, retail employees, and consumers, women help sustainable and inclusive businesses succeed, grow and become more profitable. Yet, women continue to face barriers to unleash their full potential at work, in the marketplace, at the communities adjacent to business operations and in many other aspects of life. This not only prevents women from forging sustainable livelihood options for themselves and their families but it also compromises the growth and sustainability of businesses, economies, and communities at large. Investing wisely in women’s assets across value chains presents a unique business opportunity to create shared value and advance towards inclusive and sustainable development.

    eWisely Approach

    eWisely project encourages socially and environmentally responsible business to invest wisely by integrating sustainability into their DNA. We do so by helping them implement due diligence processes to foster sustainable gender inclusion across the supply chain. Based on background scientific research undertaken by our Founder Dr. Isabel B. Franco in collaboration with the United Nations and multi-stakeholder roundtables globally, eWisely team developed a corporate sustainability model that helps corporations achieve the Global Sustainable Development Goals in alignment with the 2030 Agenda. Our model has proved that through key enablers and the accurate sustainability strategy in place, organizations can create impact and add value to women, their families, organizations and communities they are embedded.

    About potential students

    Thanks for your interest in joining our eWisely. Below you can find some useful information. Please read carefully before contacting to inquire about postgraduate study at eWisely lab.

    - Degrees

    All lab students are postgraduate, either at the MSc or the PhD level. All students are affiliated with the Australian Institute for Business and Economics based in Brisbane, Australia.

    This is a heavily research-oriented programme both at the MSc and the PhD level.

    - Research interests

    You will find a lot of information throughout eWisely.org website about the research conducted within the lab. Any proposal connecting women, sustainability, SDGs and leadership would be considered. Please check testimonials from previous mentored and supervised students here.

  • About the Project

    I am interested in exploring the role of corporations and their stakeholders in fostering overall sustainability. I do this through the development, refinement and application of sustainability assessment tools methods, models and techniques. I have applied such tools to various industries namely, extractives (mining), gemstones, higher education, finance and banking, public sector, international development, fashion and the third sector (NGOs), in geographical contexts as diverse as Australia, Japan, China, Thailand, Colombia, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Zambia and Angola.

    About Potential Students

    I am seeking to work with students interested in exploring sustainability methods, tools and techniques across various industries. Any proposal targeting the Sustainable Development Goals, corporate sustainability performance and similar research interest would be considered. Please find out more about my interests in my site drisabelfranco.com