A challenge to CEOs – what is your legacy?

Dr. Alan Knight, sustainability director at Business in the Community, will be speaking at the Future for Good Business conference taking place at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall on Wednesday October 17.

Alan has nearly 20 years experience of working with global and national companies, as well as with governments, on sustainability.

He chairs the British task force on peat, is a panellist on the independent panel on Forestry and is a founder of the Global Association of Corporate Sustainability Officers (GACSO). In 1998 he was awarded an OBE.

Here, he will challenge business leaders to think not only about enhancing shareholder value in the short term but also to consider their and their business’s legacy in the longer term.

“We in the business community should value legacy more. CEOs and other business leaders are currently judged by the short-term financial results of their organisation,” he said.

“This is clearly not wrong but it should be balanced with ambitions for a longer-term but less measurable, contribution to society as a whole.

“For CEOs, this means thinking about how sustainable their company’s products/services, supply chain and business model are in a changing world.

On a planet with finite resources and a growing population – yet where we all want to live well – the numbers don’t add up.

“With the global population set to increase by nearly 30 per cent over the next 40 years, every business must consider what its role is in delivering sustainable quality lives for the nine billion people forecast to be living on the planet by 2050.

“At face value, such a challenge is overwhelming and no one company can tackle this alone.

“However, if every company understood where its unique or most important contribution could be and could create a roadmap to deliver such a contribution that would make a significant difference.

“By 2050, many traditional business models will no longer be feasible, and certain products/services will become obsolete or their production will be untenable due to resource constraints and other changing external factors.

“Business leaders must develop their thinking to challenge conventional business models to ensure their business prospers by responding in the right way, and at the right time, to the issues that sustainability raises. “Sustainability is not just about a company reducing a little waste or a little carbon, it is about fully embedding transformational thinking into every aspect of the organisation.

“It requires leadership at the highest level and CEOs and other business leaders are best placed to deliver this.

“‘Shwopping’ is an important example of a new business model shaped by sustainability trends.

“Being the first major retailer to begin ‘closing the loop’ in terms of its clothing business will be the sustainability legacy of Marks & Spencer, its CEO and other leaders of the business.

“CEOs, I urge you to consider – what is your business’s unique contribution to make your business more sustainable for a changing future?

“This will be your legacy and it will be far more valuable for your business and for society in the long term than solely considering today’s bottom line.”

You will be able to hear more from Mr Knight at the Future for Good Business, sponsored by BT on 17 October at Belfast Waterfront Hall.

You can book online by visiting www.goodbusinessni.com or contact marie.atcheson@bitcni.org.uk on 028 9046 0606.

Source: irishnews.com