Beyond Business As Usual: Systemic Risk and Opportunity

Monday, October 14, 2013 8:54
Posted in category Citizens and Heroes, Corporate
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Following the successful Limits of Growth events in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Singapore, the Beyond Business as Usual series will look at how firms are practically tackling the strategic issues of sustainability and then recalibrating their models.

It is a process that may start off with philanthropy, efficiency, and offsets, but one that needs to quickly needs to move towards strategic actions that look the length of their value chain, identify areas of risk and opportunity, and catalyze action.  Action that will are focused on improving  product, people, and processes in a way that insulate firms from the from external shocks, and improve competitiveness, when surpassed limits to growth lead to crisis.

Held in partnership with our sponsors, EATON and Haworth, we invite you to join us at events  held in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Singapore, where we will bring global leaders, local entrepreneurs, and policy makers to the stage to share the actions they are taking to reduce their risk and increase their opportunity as business leaders.

They will be evenings filled with case studies, and examples of how proactive leadership is working to rein in risk, identify opportunities, and find a more sustainable model, and we hope that you will join us.

So, please take the time to check the schedule of events below and join us for what promises to be an evening of interesting discussion, networking, and the transfer of knowledge. So that when you return to your home or office, you are able to take your own steps towards reducing your risks, or increasing your opportunities, for when the Limits of Growth are reached.

Confirmed Speakers include:     

Shanghai     Hong Kong Singapore
Frank Rexach, Glenn Frommer, Mario Van Der Mulen
Asia Pacific EMEA Vice President & General Manager, Haworth Chief Sustainable Development Manager, MTR LDK
Jeni Senyang, Iolanda Meehan,
Founder of Eco & More (Confirmed) Director of Strategic Services, Hawort

Dates:
November 26, 2013 - Shanghai
December 3, 2013 – Hong Kong
December 5, 2013 – Singapore

Sponsors:

Partners:

The 6 “Re”s of a Successful Recalibration

Monday, September 16, 2013 6:02
Posted in category Corporate
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When speaking of the need for recalibration, many executives are still struggling with developing a process that they can leverage to move the core of their firm into a place where the risk of environmental, social, and economic shocks are mitigated, and where they are positioned to take advantage of new opportunities.

It is a process where no templates exist, and depending on the firm’s structure, industry position, and capacity, they will need to develop something highly customized, but in working with our clients we have observed that there are 6 “Re”s that firms must all go through as they make the recalibration.

1. Rethink: Explore and analyse your value chain to identify areas of risk, opportunity, and action. For many firms, this is a critical first step that provides the data needed to identify and understand where the firm is misaligned with best practice options for sustainability aligned with market opportunities and internal capacity. Define what sustainability means for your own company in your own terms as a guideline for all you do rather than accept a boiler plate definition.

2. Re-Vision: Be committed to a crystal clear vision and purpose. In the cases of Interface, Unilever, Whole Food Markets and many others, this vision came from the CEO and/or founder, who had to personally drive the move forward. For Ray Anderson, founder of Interface, the process has been ongoing for 20 years. Before his passing, Anderson had built the capacity within Interface’s ranks to maintain their path towards summiting “Mount Sustainability” and achieving their 2020 goals of zero waste and zero virgin material usage.

3. Restructure: Create the blueprint for applying the re-vision. In the case of Interface, this required a review of their processes to see where efficiencies could be found in reducing various wastes. This led to redesigning products so that processes could be eliminated and materials usage and wastes could be reduced. In turn this led to a restructure of equipment specification, buying practices and positively engaging employees, suppliers, and customers in the journey towards “good”.

4. Realign: Strategy needs to be closely aligned to stakeholder needs, interests, and capacity. Review where you make your investments for long term engagement. Short term CSR exercises should be reviewed and energies devoted to the focused development of a program that is aligned to the firm’s re-vision and purpose. Internal energy should be committed to engage employees and capture their interest and commitment so that everyone owns an agenda of re-alignment behind the re-vision.

5. Recalibrate: Conduct a series of pilot projects that are meant to test, tweak, and prepare for a systemic recalibration, of the firm over time, Interface is 20 years into their process, Wal-Mart and Unilever are both five years into theirs.

Eccles, Ioannou and Serafei, experts in integrated reporting at Harvard Business School, have provided evidence that “High Sustainability” companies significantly outperform their counterparts over the long-term. They say that firms perform better on return on equity (ROE) and return on assets (ROA) and that this out performance is more pronounced for firms that sell products to individuals (i.e., business to customer [B2C] companies), compete on the basis of brand and reputation, and make substantial use of natural resources.

6. Remain Committed: Building a ‘good’ business demands the wholehearted adoption of ethical and sustainable business behaviours – who wants to deal with a dishonest firm? Going beyond a basic CSR agenda to a higher purpose for your business will build trust. People recommend companies and brands that they trust to be honest with them and care about their well being as customers. Customers decide which companies and brands are trustworthy in this way based on what they see of their corporate behaviour.

Limits of Growth – Hong Kong

Friday, August 23, 2013 6:13
Posted in category Uncategorized

While messages of rising carbon emissions, global warming, and planetary alarm seem to be a regular occurrence at the global level, in China the discussion is centered around a more tangible set of limits.

Hosted by Haworth, and sponsored by EATON, this round of Beyond Business As Usual will be focused on the Limits of Growth so that participants can develop a deeper understanding of the issues that Asia faces, and how business leaders can prepare themselves and their organizations.

For Hong Kong, a city that is among Asia’s densest and most expensive, its ability to maintain growth and economic prosperity has long been tied to its service sector. However, as has been reported, Hong Kong is beginning to find it difficult to retain talent as the concerns of quality of life, pollution, healthcare, and economic opportunity grow.

To address several key issues, energy, affordable housing, and waste, and we have invited the below leaders to come and share their views on the issues as they see them and how they are positioning themselves and their firms going forward.

Invited Speakers include:
Glenn Frommer – MTR, Chief Sustainable Development Manager
Ediwn Keh – CEO of Textile Exchange
Patrick Cheung – The Jade Club

As with previous sessions, our aim is to turn inspiration to action, and as such we will be allocating a significant amount of time to discussion. So, please come prepared with your questions, your business cards, and ideas about how we can all take a step forward towards Beyond Business as Usual

Sponsors:

Partners:

To learn more about the Limits of Growth series, or the Beyond Business As Usual platform, please visit the Beyond Business As Usual page, or To learn more about sponsoring the Beyond Business As Usual Series, please visit our sponsorship page

 

Beyond Business As Usual: The Limits of Growth

Friday, August 23, 2013 5:27
Posted in category Uncategorized
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While messages of rising carbon emissions, global warming, and planetary alarm seem to be a regular occurrence at the global level, in many part of the world, the discussion is centered around a more tangible set of limits: the availability of water, air pollution, the pressure of growing populations in the urban environment, and finding the energy supplies needed to keep the global economy on a growth trajectory.

Held in partnership with our sponsors, EATON and Haworth, we will be bringing global leaders and local entrepreneurs to the stage to share their views on what are they see as the Limits to Growth across Asia, and the actions they are taking to reduce their risk and increase their opportunity as business leaders.

It is an event that draws between 75-125 participants per city into an active discussion, and we hope moves participants from inspiration to action.

So, please take the time to check the schedule of events below and join us for what promises to be an evening of interesting discussion, networking, and the transfer of knowledge. So that when you return to your home or office, you are able to take your own steps towards reducing your risks, or increasing your opportunities, for when the Limits of Growth are reached.

Previous Events:

Sponsors:

Partners:

To learn more about the Beyond Business As Usual Series, please click here

To learn more about sponsoring the Beyond Business As Usual Series, please click here

Limits of Growth – Shanghai

Friday, August 23, 2013 5:25
Posted in category Uncategorized

While messages of rising carbon emissions, global warming, and planetary alarm seem to be a regular occurrence at the global level, in China the discussion is centered around a more tangible set of limits.

For China, a country whose goal is to surpass the U.S. as the largest economy in the world by 2030, finding a balanced economic model that protects its environment and meets the increasing needs of the urbanized masses is a vision that needs to be realized.

Hosted by Haworth, and sponsored by EATON, this round of Beyond Business As Usual will be focused on the Limits of Growth so that participants can develop a deeper understanding of the issues that China faces, and how business leaders can prepare themselves and their organizations.

We have invited the following speakers to share their thoughts and experience on the limits of urbanization, energy, and water that China faces:

Sean Chen – Eaton, Vice President
Tony Chan – ARUP, Senior Urban Planner
Shunong Yang – Ecolab, Vice President of Research and Development

As with previous sessions, our aim is to turn inspiration to action, and as such we will be allocating a significant amount of time to discussion. So, please come prepared with your questions, your business cards, and ideas about how we can all take a step forward towards Beyond Business as Usual

To learn more about the Limits of Growth series, or the Beyond Business As Usual platform, please visit the Beyond Business As Usual page

Sponsors:

Partners:

Limits of Growth – Singapore

Friday, August 23, 2013 5:24
Posted in category Uncategorized

While messages of rising carbon emissions, global warming, and planetary alarm seem to be a regular occurrence at the global level, in China the discussion is centered around a more tangible set of limits.

Hosted by Haworth, sponsored by EATON, and in partnership with Green Drinks Singapore and the Family Business Network, this round of Beyond Business As Usual will be focused on the Limits of Growth so that participants can develop a deeper understanding of the issues that Asia faces, and how business leaders can prepare themselves and their organizations

For Singapore, A city state that has just celebrated its 48th birthday, and one that is constantly looking for an opportunity to increase its competitiveness, Singapore has proactively looked at, and addressed, many of its physical limits to growth.

However, as has been seen in recent months, for Singapore to continue growing, it needs to address several key issues of energy, waste, and food, and to address those issues the following speakers will come and share their views on the issues as they see them and how they are positioning themselves and their firms going forward.

Moderator: Richard Brubaker – Founder, Collective Responsibility and Adjunct Professor, Sustainability, China Europe International Business School

Confirmed speakers include:
Curt Hutchins – EATON President, Asia Pacific
Kian Seah – Managing Director, Heng Hiap Industries Sdn Bhd
Andras Kristoph – Founder, Homegrow

To learn more about the Limits of Growth series, or the Beyond Business As Usual platform, please visit the Beyond Business As Usual page

Sponsors:

Partners:

3 Lessons on Internal Engagement I Learned from Interface

Monday, August 12, 2013 7:19
Posted in category Corporate
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In the first two weeks of June, through the Beyond Business As Usual platform, we organized and hosted six events with Erin Meezan, Vice President of Sustainability for Interface.  As one of the firms executives, and a key reason for why the firm is now a firm recognized leader for their efforts to build a business with a core of sustainability, I came away with a deep appreciation for the effort that a firm must expend when building internal engagement.

It is a topic that is very often overlooked in this field, or talked about only at the surface level, but more often than not it is the ability of the visionary to engage his or her organization that will ultimately determine whether or not the vision is carried out.

When discussing this very issue, Ms Meezan said that she believed that three things were done well.

  1. Ray Anderson’s personal engagement with executives, managers, and staff through regular visits and presentations of Mount Sustainability and Interface’s new mission.
  2. Remaining consistent through good times and bad, and making sure that no one walked away from message or strategy.
  3. Introduced programs and activities to change people’s thinking to overcome the fact that people are siloed and don’t see the “systems”

In recent discussions with several of our clients, it is often the second one that remains for them the most difficult.  Particularly in rough economic times when the mission’s emotional appeals can take second place to the practicalities of business.

But, from my experience, it is actually the first that is most crucial, and as I have seen recently with a number of firms whose efforts have been publicly questioned, it is often at this step that organizations really stumble.  In the case of one client, whose name shall remain confidential, they are widely recognized as a leader in their industry and have received a lot of good press on their efforts to roll out an ambitious sustainability plan.  A plan that is, in my opinion, one that is comprehensive in nature and rooted in a strong understanding of where their value chain is exposed to various challenges.

However, even with a strong vision for the firm, and a plan that reflects that vision, engagement in Asia has been slow.  Very slow.  Part of the problem is that the visionary, the CEO in this case, is spending far too much time speaking externally about the plan, why they believe in the plan, and their achievements to date, and has failed to spend much time with the key internal stakeholders in key markets.   That process has been largely left to the business units themselves.  Which has had the effect of isolating staff on the ground, and the local management teams who are supposed to be delivering on “the plan”.

So, I hope that you will find the above three aspects of Interface’s internal engagement useful, and find a way to fold them into your own engagement strategy.

If you would like to learn more about the Interface series, the Beyond Business As Usual engagement series, or learn more about our work in developing stakeholder engagement strategies feel free to contact us anytime.

Follow Collective Responsibility on Google+

Monday, June 17, 2013 8:18
Posted in category Uncategorized
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While we recover from the latest round of Beyond Business As Usual Events, 6 in the last 2 weeks, I would like to invite you all to join us on Google+
.

Over the weeks and months to come, be hosting a number of dialogues with global leaders of sustainability as part of our offline to online platform, and we hope to see you there.

Good Brands Still Trump Good Companies With Consumers

Wednesday, June 5, 2013 9:14
Posted in category Corporate, Problems, Products
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I just scanned through the GlobeScan paper RE:Thinking Consumption, and I came across the chart above

It is a chart that struck me because it is supposed to show “How do consumers rate the environmental and social leadership of companies within their respective sectors”

Yet, Interface (one of the recognized leaders) still comes after Shell ,and a host of others that are far from being considered leaders in sustainability (or good) are leading the charts.

A powerful illustration of just how powerful “brand” is, and how hard it is to be recognized as a “good” company in a world where advertising campaigns (right or wrong) are a primary source of “information”

Upcoming Beyond Business As Usual Event: Sustainability, Design, and Innovation

Friday, May 31, 2013 22:57
Posted in category Corporate
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With many sustainability focused conversations speaking to the role of consumer habits, resources, and waste, in this session of Beyond Business As Usual, we will look at several cases of where firms have begun a process of recalibrating their business models through the (re)design of product, process, and people.

A process for each firm that will have begun with a single catalyst, but will have required different paths, and through these lessons we hope to engage, inspire, and equip participants such as CSR managers, Sustainability Advocators, Social Enterprise Practitioners, Change Makers who are looking to move their organizations beyond inspiration.

Moderator - Richard Brubaker
Founder, Collective Responsibility
Adjunct Professor, Sustainability and Responsible Leadership, China Europe International Business School
Acting as a catalyst to driving sustainability, Richard is focused on building platforms that promote long term organizational capacity to address the economic, environmental, and social hurdles that China faces as the country’s economic growth accelerates. Richard has overseen the development and execution of more than 200 projects focused on solving the social, environmental, and economic challenges that are faced in Asia

Keynote Speaker – Erin Meezan
Interface, Inc, Vice President of Sustainability
Interface is more than a carpet company. It is global in presence, thought, and action. With strong commitment in sustainability, Interface advocates “doing well by doing good”. Driven by the mission of “Design with a Purpose”, Interface incorporates quality product, visual aesthetic and thoughtful business strategy for the sustainability of our future.

Panelist – Raefer Wallis
Owner, A00 Architecture
Founder, GIGA Foundation
Founder of A00 Architecture and also principal founder of GIGA: an organization doing research in positive impact architecture and green building materials. Recipient of numerous awards for design and design sustainability, he was recently listed by CNN as one of the top 20 people to watch in Shanghai. The work of GIGA was also recently celebrated by the Clinton Global Initiative.

A00′s portfolio includes over 60 built projects in China, including URBN hotels (China’s first green hotel / Asia’s first carbon neutral hotel), Double-Hill Eco-Retreat and Naked Stables Eco-Retreat. A00 is also responsible for pioneering the use of modern rammed earth construction in China

Panelist – Christopher Tam
Cofounder, Evergreen

Evergreen is a social enterprise that makes it easy, fun, and rewarding to be eco-conscious in our everyday lives.  Through technology and a unique combination of education, motivation, and measurement, Evergreen helps us answer our perennial concern: “What can I do to help save the planet?” and enables us to actually start doing it!

Event Sponsor:

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