Posts tagged Management

COMMENTS - Should we celebrate [sustainability] reporting of failure?

by Rory Sullivan on Ethical Corporation, Aug 15, 2011

Sustainability reports should provide essential information – good and bad – about companies, but the good reporters are not necessarily the best performers

In a recent article for Ethical Corporation [2], Paul Hohnen and Eva Riera highlight the difficulty faced by leading firms in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. They note that, for many of these companies, improvements in efficiency are being swamped by increases in production.

They then argue: “In the absence of greater government encouragement and incentives, it is only a matter of time before sustainability reports become evidence of unsustainability rather than the beacons of change, innovation and hope they could be.”

Their argument seems to be based on the assumption – or the hope – that companies that produce high quality sustainability reports will, or should, be more sustainable (as measured in terms such as reduced greenhouse gas emissions and reduced resource consumption).

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COMMENTS - The rise of social media is causing brand managers to act more ethically

By Paloma Lopez, for Ethical Corporation, Jul 29, 2011

In an age of social media and brand transparency, a new skill – brand value(s) leadership – is becoming increasingly important

Brand managers cannot ignore how their brands behave in their journeys from raw materials to final products or services.

As brand gatekeepers, brand managers must be accountable to deliver consistency on how the brand’s promise and values are delivered across the product lifecycle. In doing so, brand managers will not only protect the equity of their brands but also identify exciting product innovation and partnership opportunities that deliver strategic differentiation and sustainable growth for the brand.

The way we live, work, shop and influence one another has been transformed by the use of internet, smart phones and social networks. News, including information from those that rate and share opinions on brands, is only a click away. (…)

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ILLUSTRATION: Product safety… (By Scott Adams, comic strip for 01/27/2004 from the official Dilbert archive)

ILLUSTRATION: Product safety… (By Scott Adams, comic strip for 01/27/2004 from the official Dilbert archive)

COMMENTS: Sustainability skills and good business skills are increasingly the same thing

The University of Exeter is offering the first sustainable MBA. But shouldn’t all MBAs be teaching these skills?

By Duncan Graham-Rowe for the Guardian Professional Network


Are good business skills and sustainability skills really the same thing? Photograph: NOVASTOCK/REX FEATURES


It’s been described as one of the most pressing challenges that businesses are likely to face over the next five years, and one that could save them a collective £55bn a year in the UK alone – that is, the task of ensuring that business leaders and professionals have the skills they need to take their companies forwards into a sustainable economy. But exactly what kind of skills are we talking about?

The ability to collaborate, innovate, inspire and communicate are often bandied around, leadership qualities that are recognised as essential for transforming a business into a sustainable enterprise. But while the drive for change and cost reduction has led to a surge in demand for these kinds of skills, it is not entirely clear how they differ from the skills you would expect any competent business leader to possess.

But that’s the point, says Jean-Paul Jeanrenaud, international director of corporate communications at the WWF, which has jointly launched the first MBA geared towards sustainability, the One Planet MBA at the University of Exeter Business School. “It’s in your interest to put your business on a sustainable footing,” he says.

Jeanrenaud believes that the decline of religious influence on society is largely to blame for the business community’s unbridled quest for profit and growth. This absence of moral values is reflected in the way that business leaders are trained and educated, he says. “Most MBAs are really geared towards being successful in terms of profitability and increasing shareholders value.”

One Planet is attempting to change this business culture from the inside out, but not by teaching different skills about how to run a business. It’s more a shift in mindset, says Jeanrenaud. “It starts from the standpoint and recognition that business-as-usual is not desirable. Money is not evil, but it has to be put in the context of the broader good and the good of the planet, embedding those values into everything you do,” he says. (…).

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TOOLS AND FRAMEWORKS: The Business Case for Being a Responsible Business

"The aim of this guide/report is to articulate succinctly the business case for being a responsible business – a headline synthesis of the arguments being used and the most frequently stated business benefits"

Report by the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility and Business in the Community (March 2011)

It has long been argued that managing the risks and opportunities of environmental, social and governance is a proxy for good management. I would now argue that with this business case it is not a proxy for good management – it is good management, it is essential management.
David Grayson - Director of the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility