Businesses in every sector, especially global corporations, have been waking up to the fact that the only way forward is to convert to sustainable practices – mostly because, as the saying goes, there is no “Planet B.”
As firms shift their focus from long-term growth to the long-term survival of their businesses and industries, many decision makers have been consulting with recognized experts who are teaching them new ways of doing business that will positively affect the planet and their bottom lines. Among those experts are four global thought leaders who continue to serve as advisors and teachers through consulting meetings, workshops and keynotes.
Here, they share thoughts on what must be done to sustain growth while protecting and restoring resources and communities.
Green Economic Transformation Through Public/Private Sector Partnerships
Renowned Public Sector Consultant Focused on Developing Government-led, Mission-oriented Investments and Professor, University College London
The world is approaching a tipping point on climate change when protecting the future of civilization will require dramatic interventions. Avoiding this scenario will require a green economic transformation – and thus a radical overhaul of corporate governance, finance, policy and energy systems, says Mariana Mazzucato, esteemed global authority on economic and innovation policy and author of the upcoming book “Mission Economy” (January 2021).
Mazzucato points out that even before the COVID-19 pandemic, capitalism was stuck. It had no answers to a host of problems, including disease, inequality, the digital divide and, perhaps most blatantly, the environmental crisis. She uses the ‘moonshot’ programs as an example of successful coordination between public and private sectors and calls for applying the same level of boldness and experimentation to the biggest problems of our time.
In her work as an advisor to high level decision makers, Mazzucato urges governments to move from subsidization to a goal-oriented approach to investing in green technology, focusing on how particular countries specialize in certain niches of the green economy. Her advice to policy makers is clear: build legitimate public/private sector partnerships – emphasizing the quality of investment over the quantity of funds – to ensure taxpayer money is invested wisely in programs of inclusive growth and innovation, all while helping stem the tide of environmental degradation.
Investing in Long-term Sustainable Prosperity Is Imperative
CEO, Social Progress Imperative and Renowned Global Economist and Expert on Quantifying and Implementing Socially Responsible Business Practices and Investments
Metrics such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) track an economy’s current market value but are unable to detect whether a population is happy, restive or on the brink of upheaval. Failure to understand long-term, sustainable prosperity can have a negative impact on businesses, governments and investors.
Even before the pandemic, the annual Social Progress Index (SPI) – published by global economist Michael Green and his team at the Social Progress Imperative – helped leaders make more informed decisions around policies and investments by highlighting where supply chains, economies and societies were truly sound, equitable and worth investing in. With COVID-19 ushering in a significant new variable, Green’s 2020 SPI report opens up a wider lens on what the future of work and life will look like across the globe and what businesses need to do to sustain and grow while preserving necessary resources.
“No country or community, no matter its wealth, health care infrastructure or demographic profile is immune to COVID-19 — but as the data suggest, some are more vulnerable than others,” notes Green. “For the world to respond effectively to the pandemic emergency, we must be armed with the right information so we can take decisive actions around the crisis.”
As an advisor, speaker and analyst, Green shows investors and organizational leaders where their capital will face the least long-term risk while having the most positive impact.
From Corporate Responsibility to Corporate Obligation
Global Authority on Sustainable Business Growth and Professor, Harvard Business School
“Capitalism is one of the great inventions of the human race, but in its current incarnation it has become radically unbalanced,” says Rebecca Henderson, organizational change advisor and author of the acclaimed new book “Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire.” “Too large a percentage of recent gains have gone to the top 1%, we’re at risk of destabilizing the climate and we seem unwilling to address widespread inequality. We need to take a good hard look at the rules that control capitalism and recalibrate.”
Henderson says companies like Walmart, King Arthur Flour and Unilever – firms who have built strong business models around adopting “high road” employment models while tackling environmental problems – are getting it right, gaining a competitive edge while protecting people and the planet.
In her new TED talk, Henderson calls on companies to step up and help fix the climate crisis they’re causing, adding candidly, “Business is screwed if we don’t fix climate change.”
Addressing Climate Change Must Be an Ongoing Collaborative Effort
New York Times Best-selling Author and Advisor on Advancing and Communicating Proactive Climate Solutions
Addressing the challenge of the climate crisis is an all-encompassing, collective and global effort. Every organization – whether corporation, nonprofit, philanthropy or government – must evaluate whether it is contributing to building a truly regenerative society.
Climate strategist and corporate advisor Katharine Wilkinson, co-editor of the new book “All We Can Save,” advocates for a “big picture” shift in how organizations of all types view climate change and their own role in addressing it. Pursuing a handful of separate initiatives on “clean energy” or “sustainability” is not enough, argues Wilkinson. Organizations must commit to across-the-board transformation and factor climate concerns into each decision they make.
Wilkinson advises organizational leaders in every industry on ways they and their employees can address the climate crisis individually and collaboratively.
Act Now, Thrive Later
As industries grapple with a growing need to protect the resources and people that support them and to comply with related regulations, decision makers are looking for guidance. If your firm needs help in these areas, contact Stern Speakers to arrange a virtual engagement with Mariana Mazzucato, Michael Green, Rebecca Henderson or Katharine Wilkinson.