Isabel B. Franco (IBF)


Isabel B. Franco, Ph.D, MA, MBAc (IBF) is an executive advisor, author and expert in the interface of business and sustainable development with +15 years experience, primarily gained in international development and corporate sustainability. Her purpose is to connect and equip corporations, governments, and international organizations to generate a measurable, sustainable impact. 

Dr Franco is the vibrant, game-changing creator and Executive Director of IBF where she oversees the International Innovation Board for Better Futures (IBF)’s support to 25+ countries on corporate sustainability, responsible business, risk assessment, climate change and sustainable development. Dr. Franco launched IBF, as a global connector in 2014. IBF has since grown into a decentralized consulting firm and the International Institute for Better Futures -a global collective and enterprise with multiple verticals across executive and policy advisory, forums, digital innovations and thought leadership. 

Dr. Franco is an international expert passionate about co-creating impact projects with organizations in business, government and civil society around the globe. Her role at IBF builds on international development, government and private sector experience, gained across six continents. She holds advisory, policy and scientific foundation, upon which she has applied sustainable solutions across multiple industries, such as extractives (mining, oil and gas), energy (solar), gemstones, higher education, fashion, finance and banking, public sector and international development, in contexts as diverse as Australia, Angola, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Japan, Peru, Thailand, Zambia, among others.

Her work has contributed to evidence-based decision-making at large, international, multilingual, projects valued over +30 billion, for iconic brands, such as the United Nations University – Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability, AAPowerLink Sun Cable, UNEP, UNESCAP, UNDP, UN Businesses Advisory Council, Hatch, Australian Agency for International Development (DFAT), Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), CATOCA Diamond Mining-Endiama, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, British Council where she has also held senior advisory positions supporting strategic and operational activities on large multilingual (English, Spanish, Portuguese), cross-regional projects. Up until recently, Dr. Franco was also a researcher at the United Nations University – Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability, Japan, The University of Queensland, Australia, the Earth System Governance Project, Utrecht University, Netherlands.

She is the Lead Editor and Author of the Book ‘Corporate Approaches to Sustainable Development: International Experiences and Insights. She has published +60 peer-reviews in the form of academic, knowledge pieces, industry and policy reports in outlets including UNEP, Sustainability Science, Sustainability, Extractives and Society, International Journal of Sustainability in Higher education, and The Conversation. She has been a Scientific Editor at Sustainability Science Journal and is the Expert Reviewer and Editor of Special Issues at Sustainability Journal. Dr. Franco is the Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Women, Sustainability and Leadership Studies (ISSN 2463 – 2945). She has advised Master and PhD thesis at the United Nations University, Japan, The University of Queensland, Australia, University of Zambia and Universidad Nacional de Colombia. She has acted as Expert Author for the United Nations International Resource Panel and been the Global Chairperson of the Women Sustainability Forum since its inception in 2014.

Dr. Franco has been recipient of multiple awards and fellowships, including the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Fellowship; The University of Queensland, Australia International Scholarship; an AsiaGlobal Fellowship at the University of Hong Kong (postponed); Exceptional Woman of Excellence, Women Economic Forum, India; Exceptional Woman in Sustainability, Women Sustainability Forum, Australia; 3 Brisbane, Australia Lord Mayor’s International Awards. She completed her MBA under the Brisbane, Australia Lord Mayor’s Multicultural Scholarship.   

Dr Franco has participated in +100 global engagements and investments intended to foster a sustainable future for all. Her work has been presented to and actioned by the UN Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development, the OECD Forum on Responsible Business Forum, the UN High Level Political Forum in New York, the UN University Global Conference on Regional Centres of Expertise for Education for Sustainable Development, to name a few.

Isabel B. Franco, Ph.D

Executive Director, IBF



Featured in


  • Sustainable Development 
  • Corporate Purpose & Sustainability Strategy
  • Sustainability Reporting & Materiality Assessments
  • Impact/Risk Assessments & Social Impact Management Plans (SIMP)
  • ESIA & IFC principles 
  • Confidential due diligence processes (mergers and acquisitions)
  • ESG Indicators
  • Climate Diplomacy & Risk Assessment (climate adaptation)
  • UN 2030 Agenda and SDGs
  • Extractives & Sustainable Resource Development
  • Stakeholder Engagement (identification & mapping)
  • Diversity and Inclusion


  • English 
  • Spanish 
  • Portuguese (CELPE – Bras Certified)
  • Learning French


  • Post Doctorate in Sustainability, Japan, United Nations University – Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability
  • Doctorate of Philosophy, Governance; Corporate and Social Sustainability, The University of Queensland, Australia
  • Master Business Administration 
  • Master Ed. Management 
  • BA Foreign Languages 
  • BA Public Administration


  • Research Fellow, Earth System Governance, Utrecht University (Netherlands)
  • Scientific Editor, Sustainability Science Scientific Journal (Japan)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, United Nations University – Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) (Japan)
  • Researcher, Keio University (Japan)
  • Research Fellow, Australian Institute for Business and Economics (AIBE)(Australia)
  • Researcher, Sustainable Minerals Institute, The University of Queensland (Australia)
  • International Advisor, University of Zambia (Zambia)
  • International Advisor, Universidad Nacional de Colombia (Colombia)


  • 2022 Asia Global Fellow, Hong Kong University (postponed) 
  • 2021 Brisbane, Australia City Council Multicultural Award
  • 2018 Research Fellowship, United Nations University – Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability, Japan
  • 2017, 2020 Multicultural Scholarship, International Business, Brisbane City Council, Australia
  • 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


  • Impact Assessment Certified, International Association for Impact Assessment, 2023
  • GRI Certified Sustainability Professional, 2019


Book a 60 Minute Session with Dr. Isabel B. Franco and/or IBF Board’s member expert and get:

1 PDF risk assessment
1 PDF Roadmap to better futures
Follow-up session
Bonus: 30% discount off IBF’s online courses