Question: Does a corporate sustainability program “cost” (and thus shows up on the “expense” side of the ledger) or are there measurable “returns” on the investments that companies are making to develop or adjust strategies, assemble teams and launch sustainability programs? (Especially those that have set goals and where progress is measured and then publicly reported.)
Global faith leaders can directly and indirectly affect significant changes in our global society. One leader with high visibility and strong opinions on important societal issues is the Holy Father in Rome, Pope Francis. The Roman Catholic Church as a collective institution is one of the largest owners and holders of assets in the world, including pension systems of various orders, Catholic charities, healthcare systems, and more.
At the recent IBM Think 2019 Conference, fascinating artificial intelligence (“AI”) innovations were showcased; these are approaches in development to help meet the needs of global stressed food and water ecosystems.
Forbes’ contributor Lee Bell outlined the work of scientists and developers at IBM’s research unit, telling the story from the conference with a “crop-to-trash” theme. These innovations are:
The Digital Twin – AI helping to accurately forecast crop yields (helping farmers to establish critical data points for arranging farm credit).
The European Union adopted a Sustainable Finance Action Plan in May 2018; the package of measures included a proposal for a regulation to establish a framework to facilitate sustainable investment. The aim is to create a unified classification system or taxonomy on what could be considered to be “an environmentally-sustainable economic opportunity”.
A 2018 survey by Morgan Stanley took the pulse of U.S. asset managers (with in-depth telephone interviews) to determine the level of adoption of sustainable investing approaches by asset managers in the United States.
Results: in the report “Sustainable Signals: Growth and Opportunity in Asset Management” a majority of managers said they now see sustainable investing strategies as a strategic imperative, explains Matthew Slovik, head of Global Sustainable Finance at Morgan Stanley.
Here we are in the new millennium, since 2000 or 2001 (the clear delineation has been debated) and the generation that straddles the 20th and 21st centuries has characteristics that may be quite different for employers (and as customers, investors, voters).
HBR Authors Share Some Research Findings Of Importance to Corporate Leaders and Asset Managers...
Strategy – the familiar word comes down to us over the eons from the language of ancient Greece. The roots of the original word (translated to “stratagem”) mean “the work of the generals, or generalship” which is to clearly say: to lead from the front..or the top!
“Ethical sourcing” – we see that a lot of companies are systematically addressing issues in their sourcing and supply chain management to better understand and address (and better manage!) the various issues that their investors, customers, employees, business partners, and other stakeholders care about. What is “ethical” behavior in the layers upon layers of suppliers in the usual globalized sourcing effort?
The world leadership gathering in Switzerland in winter every year – we see this in the “Davos meetings” in the many news report datelines – are part of the World Economic Forum (WEF) broad activities -- this is the WEF’s annual meeting. Heads of state, CEOs, invited thought leaders, leading academics and journalists, politicians of all persuasions, NGOs, heads of multilateral heads (Christina Lagarde, International Monetary Fund)…they were all gathered there this year.