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News

Global Compact LEAD Symposium Imagines the Future Corporation

(New York, 20 November 2014) – With a transition underway by global business towards sustainability, companies and sustainability experts today helped to sketch an outline of The Future Corporation during the Global Compact LEAD Symposium, held at UN Headquarters in New York.

The annual Global Compact LEAD Symposium is designed to engage LEAD companies – a small group of companies committed to achieving leadership sustainability performance – and global experts to exchange experiences and views on advanced aspects around corporate vision, strategy and practice.

Imagining “The Future Corporation”

Today’s discussions build on the understanding that companies must play a key role in meeting the social, environmental and economic needs of our planet. While business strategies and practices are beginning to change to address sustainability challenges, many more companies need to join the movement and sharpen the focus on transformative initiatives and strategies.

Participants in today’s event were challenged to identify key characteristics of what the sustainable corporation should look like in the future – how it will create value, be governed, and engage with stakeholders. At its core, the future corporation should respond to the real needs of people and societies, take a long-term and holistic approach to value creation, and fully account for externalities and the company’s impacts.

Key aspects of business leadership were recognized as critical to realize the corporation of the future:

  • Get full support at the highest levels of governance and decision-making. As the highest level of governance in most large corporations, Boards of Directors can help realize “the future corporation”.  
  • Align business strategies with sustainable development priorities such as the forthcoming Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Better analyze and communicate the impact of corporate sustainability on financial performance in order for investors to reward the most sustainable companies in the marketplace and to address short-termism in capital markets, companies must.
  • Demonstrate leadership by identifying new forms of partnership and collaboration that address challenges that no entity or sector can solve alone.

Building on this theme of leadership, the UN Global Compact launched an innovative programme to bring sustainability issues into the boardroom, so that companies can better manage risk and opportunities. Developed by Global Compact LEAD and the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), the first of its kind Global Compact Board Programme supports Boards of Directors to effectively oversee and drive a strategic approach to corporate sustainability, and to respond to the interests of all their key stakeholders while protecting and creating financial value.

Today’s Symposium also featured the online participation of a global audience of business school students and faculty through a live webcast. This collaborative effort with PRME – a network of business schools worldwide – offered future business leaders the opportunity to share their vision of The Future Corporation and to engage with LEAD participants on discussions related to the event.

About Global Compact LEAD – Innovation through Action
Global Compact LEAD is an exclusive platform designed to engage the most committed companies within the Global Compact to lead the way to a new era of sustainability. With participation from sustainability leaders from all regions and sectors, LEAD brings a wealth of expertise to the challenge of achieving higher levels of corporate sustainability performance. See full list of over 50 LEAD participants and learn more at www.unglobalcompact.org/LEAD.

Contact

Ole Hansen
Head, Global Compact LEAD
hansen4@unglobalcompact.org

20 Nov 2014

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