NZ Business - - COVER STORY -

Katell Le Goul­ven, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of The Hoff­mann Global In­sti­tute for Busi­ness and So­ci­ety, says that the most dam­ag­ing thing busi­ness could do across the globe is sim­ply con­tinue busi­ness as usual.

Hoff­man is a new INSEAD in­sti­tute ex­plor­ing the in­ter­sec­tion of busi­ness and so­ci­ety.

Le Goul­ven told Man­age­ment via email that with cur­rent lev­els of en­vi­ron­men­tal pres­sure, tech­no­log­i­cal vul­ner­a­bil­ity and geopo­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity, we have to in­no­vate, re­duce risk as much as pos­si­ble and find bet­ter and more sus­tain­able ways of do­ing busi­ness.

“As glob­al­i­sa­tion and tech­nol­ogy pro­lif­er­ate – and the world’s pop­u­la­tion grows to­wards ten bil­lion peo­ple mid-cen­tury – these pres­sures will be­come more acute.

“We have enough ev­i­dence to know that it is in the best in­ter­est of busi­ness to step up. By some es­ti­mates, sus­tain­abil­ity and pos­i­tive so­cial im­pact rep­re­sent more than US$12 tril­lion in eco­nomic op­por­tu­nity. Now is the mo­ment for busi­ness to go be­yond do no harm, look at their net pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tion and seize this op­por­tu­nity.

“Busi­ness lead­ers must avoid fall­ing into the trap of post-facto mar­ginal cor­rec­tion and start re­ally re­think­ing our global eco­nomic sys­tem.

“At INSEAD, we con­sider this part of our re­spon­si­bil­ity as ed­u­ca­tors of busi­ness lead­ers. The Hoff­mann Global In­sti­tute for Busi­ness and So­ci­ety is work­ing to re­flect the need for re­spon­si­ble lead­ers in how we ed­u­cate and in how we op­er­ate. So how can busi­ness be a force for good in the 2019 year? “We live in a time when there are more op­tions and in­cen­tives than ever be­fore to trans­form busi­ness in line with glob­ally agreed so­cial, en­vi­ron­men­tal and eco­nomic goals.

“Many of these op­tions work for the bot­tom line – en­ergy ef­fi­ciency, in­vest­ment in re­new­able en­ergy, in­creas­ing di­ver­sity, sus­tain­able sup­ply chains and re­spon­si­ble in­vest­ing. These op­tions can re­duce risk and en­hance per­for­mance. 2019 presents a great op­por­tu­nity for busi­ness to be a force for good,” she wrote.

“This year is the op­por­tu­nity for busi­ness to ex­am­ine their busi­ness mod­els and their op­er­a­tional re­al­i­ties, en­gage with for­ward­think­ing busi­nesses in their sec­tor and de­ter­mine their op­tions as part of a three-step process. • “Step one is to quickly im­ple­ment op­tions with the most im­me­di­ate

ben­e­fits to the bot­tom line. • The next step is to take a look at what more can be done to ac­cel­er­ate the long-term tran­si­tion to more sus­tain­able ways of do­ing busi­ness. • The fi­nal step is to make a long-term com­mit­ment that makes sense for your busi­ness – and your so­ci­ety. So for ex­am­ple if you rely on raw ma­te­ri­als, com­mit to sus­tain­able sourc­ing. For those with a ve­hi­cle fleet, com­mit to low-emis­sion, low-main­te­nance op­tions like elec­tric. Busi­nesses with phys­i­cal foot­print can com­mit to re­new­able en­ergy.

Com­bined with im­me­di­ate ac­tions that de­liver im­me­di­ate re­turns, vis­i­ble long-term com­mit­ments em­power ev­ery busi­ness as a force for good in 2019 and be­yond.”

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