The baying mob in full cry, circling alleged perpetrators of great wrongs, is not a pretty sight. Sudden swarming, like nests of disturbed wasps, is bad both for corporate and political decision-making, and for justice. In an era of 24/7 news-channels, internet and social media, the potential for swarming is dramatically magnified – as we have seen in the last three weeks.
Recently The Economist ran the cover story "Welcome to the Anthropocene – Geology's new age."
"Rather than placing us still in the Holocene, a peculiarly stable era that began only around 10,000 years ago, the geologists say we are already living in the Anthropocene: the age of man."
For many years, ABN AMRO Brazil was a leading exponent of sustainability. Happily, now that it has become part of Banco Santander in Brazil, the tradition continues. As well as seeking to become a more sustainable business itself, Santander Brazil has regularly been running sell-out, day-long workshops for its business customers to learn from the bank's experience in embedding sustainability.
On Thursday Rachel Barton and thousands of other Marks and Spencer staff across Britain will be hoping that you will take your used Marks and Spencer clothes back into a Marks and Spencer store.
Corporate CEOs are busy people. Their time is at a premium. They have to focus on the most important things. When it comes to ensuring that sustainability and responsibility are becoming embedded in their business, one of the most important things they can do, is to have some "crucial conversations."
"Business schools need to teach students more about sustainability." I have lost count of the number of times I've heard this declaration from business leaders around the world.
Jo da Silva is a social intrapreneur. A social activist who absorbed her parents' strong sense of community, coupled with a deep sense of compassion cultivated through early travels in Turkey, the Middle East and India, Jo is committed to developing and applying her engineering skills to solving societal problems.
Madonna and I have at least two things in common. We both like her music. And we are both defined as “older people” by the UK government. I recently reflected that if Madonna and I count as “older people”, perhaps society needs to adjust its perceptions and language, in preparation for what some commentators have described as the world’s ageing tsunami.
MBA students frequently ask me if businesses can ever be truly sustainable. Or if behind the mantras like “people, planet, profit”, do businesses really always want more people to consume more? Students seem genuinely troubled over whether enhancing shareholder value and true sustainability can be really reconciled. I believe they can.
Organisations can no longer choose if they want to engage with stakeholders or not; the only decision they need to take is when and how successfully to engage. When organisations don’t engage stakeholders successfully, they can lose out, with consequent negative newspaper headlines.
Stakeholder engagement is relevant to any type of organisation: business, public or civil society. It is particularly important in the context of running an organisation responsibly and is integral to the concept of Corporate Responsibility.