Why I started a Think Tank on Sustainability and Corporate Governance
I’m not an expert in sustainability and my professional experience is not within academia or research. In fact, I spent most of my career in business development and management working with some of the largest and most prestigious companies.
A few years ago I became fascinated with the term “Shared Value Creation” (doing well by doing good) as a definition for corporate sustainability. The narrative of doing business is clearly changing.
This is why I developed The Sustainability Board Report.
I believe the real achievements of business are creating profits and contributing to the conservation of our environment and adding value to society and our communities. As Larry Fink wrote in his letter to CEOs, government is often not very helpful when it comes to solving systematic problems.
Some might argue that no matter how big a challenge, every person counts in making a difference despite their hierarchical status in an organisation. Whereby, I agree that every little helps. I like to think it is also universally agreed that large corporations and senior leaders have a certain power to fast track change.
Just think of the power of Facebook to spread information, the many big banks and their ability to finance change, or General Motors who are committed to making the future of cars electric. Being big can be a huge advantage. That’s why this report will be focusing on the world’s largest (public) companies.
So, who is holding the executive teams of these big companies to account? Certainly, it is their shareholders, investors, clients and stakeholders to some extent, but the mandate in the first place lies with their board of directors.
And this is what this report is about: What is the state of boards when it comes to sustainability direction? How comprehensive is their policy and how skilled are the directors?
The goal of The Sustainability Board Report is to showcase companies and individual directors, and to inspire organisations to learn from their peers and competitors. Perhaps, we can make the world a better place - through creating shared value with strong and committed corporate governance.
Lastly, I’d like to thank our guest contributors for their invaluable input to the report.