Leading change: embedding sustainable development in business decision-making

Published: 7 Oct 2019
Type: Publication

This year, our Leadership Program brought together 46 participants, from WBCSD member companies, over an eight-month period under the theme of “Leading change: embedding sustainable development in business decision-making”. Businesses are taking the lead in accelerating the transition to a sustainable world. It’s critical for the next generation of leaders to understand the importance of sustainable development, integrating associated opportunities and risks into

their core business strategy and decision-making.

During the year, participants wrote individual and group reports. This document provides a summary of the seven group reports:

  • Creating stakeholder value through a clearly defined organizational purpose
  • Is reported ESG information useful for investor decision-making?
  • Embedding ESG-related risks into enterprise risk management
  • Building business capacity to value nature in decision-making
  • Human capital and social capital can create business value
  • Can blockchain contribute to sustainable development?
  • How to become a more energy-efficient, low carbon and circular business

Businesses face continuous and multi-fronted challenges of waning trust from the public, threats of disruption to existing business models and wars for talent as they attempt to attract and retain the brightest and best employees and future leaders. An ever-challenging and changing geopolitical landscape to operate in, the emergence of the millennial generation in the workplace and shifts in what they expect from gainful employment, the creeping ability of social media to make or break an organization’s reputation overnight, and a gradually awakening awareness of wider society to the importance of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues and, in turn, increased expectations of business to play its role in addressing these mean that, in order to be successful, businesses and their leadership must be ready to adapt their corporate strategy – quickly – to this shifting landscape and execute on this strategy consistently.

A well-articulated and understood organizational purpose statement provides all stakeholders potentially impacted by a company’s operations with guidance on a company’s direction. Those organizations with a clear purpose often find it easier to engage with their workforce, customers, communities and suppliers – essentially with all of their stakeholders.

View the report

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