Leadership essentials for the sustainability challenge
Leadership Essentials for theSustainability Challenge . Presenter: Arnold Smit Centre for Business in Society Leadership is morality magnified Joanne B. Cuilla
A World of Paradox Progress Trouble• Scientific and • Population trends technological progress • Inequities, disparities and• Global injustices interconnectedness • Degeneration of social through markets and and environmental media systems• Unprecedented growth in • A new era of conflict wealth and prosperity Our challenges accumulate faster than our ability to come up with solutions
Explanations? • The fruit of modernity: a fractured worldview • Social and ecological disengagement • Breakdown in value systems and bridging mechanisms • A crisis of the human spirit: individually and collectively
Earth overshoot day 21 Aug 2010 “For the rest of the year, we are accumulating debt by depleting our natural capital and letting waste accumulate.”
Two imperatives• Biological: to learn to live sustainably – the laws of nature dominate• Political: to aspire to improve our material standard of living – alternative economic paradigms compete Jonathan Porritt
Two alternative futures From breakdown to collapseFrom breakdownto breakthrough Jonathan Porritt
Economy Society Environ- ment Paradigm shift Eco- nomy Sustain- ability Environ Society ment
Easier said than done…• The nature of business competitiveness is changing – Global East accelerates economic growth – Global North tightens up on environmental issues in supply chains – Global South fights poverty and social instability
More questions than answers…• Can we maintain the traditional concept of growth?• Is growth through technological innovation a viable way forward?• Is long term economic growth sustainable at all?• Is economic growth the answer to SA’s challenges regarding poverty, unemployment, health, etc?• Is the answer perhaps in kerbing consumption instead of promoting growth?
The moral imperativeto make big changesis inescapable. Al Gore Sustainability is here to stay or we may not be. Niall Fitzgerald
How do we respond? Sustainability? Responsibility? Accountability?
The language of responsibility• Corporate responsibility – is the responsibility of the company for the impacts of its decisions and activities on society and the environment through transparent and ethical behaviour that: • contributes to sustainable development, including the health and welfare of society; • takes into account the legitimate interests and expectations of stakeholders; • is in compliance with applicable law and consistent with international norms of behaviour; and • is integrated throughout the company and practiced in its relationships. King III
• Responsible leadership from the perspective of King III – Good corporate governance is essentially about effective, responsible leadership – Responsible leaders build sustainable businesses by having regard to the company’s economic, social and environmental impact – Responsible leaders reflect on the role of business in society
– Responsible leaders do business ethically rather than merely being satisfied with legal or regulatory compliance– Responsible leaders do not compromise the natural environment and the livelihood of future generations– Responsible leaders embrace a shared future with all the company’s stakeholders
• Responsible leadership from the perspective of the GRLI: – Re-visiting raison d’être of the firm • Create economic and societal progress in globally responsible and sustainable way – Leadership and ethical fitness • The grounding of actions in a system of values which recognise societal interdependence and long term sustainable development – Responsible corporate statesmanship • The organisation as an active contributor to societal well-being and evolution
• Another set of questions: – What makes a leader responsible? – What kind of leader is responsible? – Is responsible leadership a factor of • Personality in terms of profile or style? • Attitude in terms of values and virtues? • A factor of context in terms story and development trajectory?
• Responsible leadership from the perspective of language and metaphors – Maak & Pless (2006): A relational approach to responsible leadership within the context of a stakeholder society • “Leadership then, could be described as the art of building and sustaining morally sound relationships with all relevant stakeholders of an organization.” (p 39 – 40)
• New metaphors (continued): – Servant: an ethics of care towards staff, society and environment – Steward: custodian of social, moral, and environmental values and resources – Coach: facilitate development, enable learning, foster collaborative interaction, develop skills in individuals, teams and the organisation as a whole
– Architect: build an inclusive integrity culture with reference to meaningful work, management processes and structures, moral infrastructure and external stakeholder dialogue– Storyteller: creator and communicator of moral experience and systems of meaning through stories that make ethics and values become real– Change agent: initiate change towards a value- conscious and sustainable business in a stakeholder society.
• The development of responsible leaders – Maak & Pless: “developing responsible leaders, then, is on the one hand a question of identifying the right people and on the other hand a question of educating and developing them through appropriate means” (p 49)
• Appropriate means? – Mainstream responsible leadership into executive and management development programmes – Create experiential learning opportunities in cross-sector partnerships that serve as “business- in-society” incubators (cf Maak & Pless) – Coaching for responsible leadership in terms of role definition and development
Summary• Can we change our worldview?• Can we imagine a sustainable world?• Can we develop a new language?• Can we reframe leadership?
“All of us – the private sector, civil society,labour unions, NGOs, universities,foundations and individuals – must cometogether in an alliance for progress.Together, we can and must move fromvalue to values, from shareholders tostakeholders, and from balance sheets tobalanced development. Together, we canand must face the dangers ahead and bringsolutions into reach.” Kofi Annan
USB-ED Centre for Business in Society• Focus areas: – Globally Responsible Leadership – Business and Sustainability – Social Regeneration• Services: – Development programme – Consulting and advice – Research and thought leadership
• Programme highlights for 2011 – Certificate in Sustainable Corporate Responsibility Strategies – Certified Sustainability Assurance Practitioner (CSAP) – Business Engagement at the Base of the Pyramid – Leadership and management development for NPOs Dr Arnold Smit Executive: Centre for Business in Society Tel: +27 21 918-4404; E-mail: email@example.com
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