Tomorrow's Global Company -- Challenges and Choices

ATCA Briefings

London, UK - 13 June 2007, 09:00 GMT - As the pioneering world-wide network for creating a wisdom based global economy, we are grateful to receive this submission "Tomorrow's Global Company: Challenges and Choices", from Mark Goyder, Founder Director and Tony Manwaring, Chief Executive, Tomorrow's Company -- the business-led think-tank committed to creating a future for business which makes equal sense to staff, shareholders and society.

intentBlog: Tomorrow's Global Company -- Challenges and Choices

Dear ATCA Colleagues

Their ATCA submission is based on the report to be published on Monday 18th June on Tomorrow's Global Company accompanied by a major launch event at Reuters in London. The report is the result of an 18 month inquiry by a team made up of senior figures from businesses and NGOs based in Europe, North America and Asia. These include: ABB, Alcan, Anglo American, Amnesty International Business Group, BP, Dr Reddy's, Ford, the International Institute for Sustainable Development, Infosys, KPMG, Leaders' Quest, McKinsey, Standard Chartered, SUEZ, and SustainAbility. It draws on their experience and on dialogues, workshops and interviews conducted across the world in countries including Australia, China, France, India, South Africa, United Kingdom, and United States.

The report details the complex global challenges facing all of us. These include environment and resource depletion, and issues such as justice and poverty. It then describes the role global enterprises can and must play in response to these challenges. It provides a distinctive approach that leaders of major companies can adopt in working with others to secure outcomes that are at once both profitable and sustainable. It argues that business cannot afford to stand outside these challenges, which will shape its future operating environment.

Dear DK and Colleagues

Re: Tomorrow's Global Company -- Challenges and Choices

We write to share with you the key findings of the major inquiry report "Tomorrow's Global Company: Challenges and Choices", which we will be launching in London next week on June 18th, and in India in July 2007.

We want to stimulate a Socratic dialogue on ATCA, which will ensure that the findings lead to practical action. The launch of the report represents the first step: we do not claim to offer a detailed road-map, but we do believe that the report outlines the principles from which, through dialogue, such a road-map can emerge.

The richness of this report is rooted in the powerful dualities that are harnessed: 'East meets West'; established and emerging global companies; and the creative tension between business and civil society. After over a decade of working primarily within the UK, Tomorrow's Company has only in the last two years started to weave together these rich global threads, through a process of research, interview, consultation and inquiry which underpins the Inquiry team's conclusions. Our conviction is that lasting global solutions can only come by harnessing and transcending difference: the design of this inquiry therefore offers real hope.

Facing the global challenges, arising from the analysis, the Inquiry Team draw the conclusion that companies must expand the space in which they operate: the mindset of business leaders needs to shift and to be extended: 'global companies can be a force for good and are uniquely placed to deliver the practical solutions that are urgently required to address these issues', and to do this in practice requires a focus on three inter-locking and mutually reinforcing priorities:

· Redefining success - defining and measuring success in a way that aligns and integrates the social, environmental, human and financial aspects of companies' work;
· Embedding values - defining, living by, and being judged by values that are publicly espoused and applied rigorously in challenging situations; and
· Creating frameworks - supporting sound national regulatory frameworks and international agreements, working with governments, NGOs and others to create them.

Expanding the space in this way must become integral to the way in which we do business in the future. "This is not about philanthropy or companies being seen to be 'doing good'. These are actions that serve the long-term interests of any company", the report argues.

The report celebrates the role of markets in providing 'the most powerful means of stimulating innovation and meeting immediate consumer needs for goods and services' but then goes on to argue that the "full creative potential of the market can only be realised if governments -- supported by companies and others -- put in place effective frameworks of regulation and incentives in the short-term. These are essential for companies to be able to compete on equal terms and to deliver new and innovative goods and services. It is therefore in the interest of global companies to be proactive and work in partnership with civil society, policy makers and others to help international organisations and governments create the frameworks necessary to strengthen and guide the market."

Countering climate chaos is of course a critical and topical example. Companies are developing a range of low-carbon energy technologies, from solar panels to biofuels - but for such solutions to be viable at scale, a new framework of regulation is required that rewards clean technologies and penalises the high-carbon ones.

It is in this context that our submission to the ATCA world-wide network is so important. Reading this submission to ATCA are exactly those global and local leaders of business, civil society and government, together with opinion formers and leading figures in the media and elsewhere, who are needed to work together to create these new frameworks, to redefine success, and to lead by living values, which will enable the power of the market to be harnessed, to generate the sustainable outcomes on which our people and our planet now depend for our futures.

Global businesses have huge resources, deep capabilities and extensive reach. They also have day-to-day frontline experience of key problems such as poverty, environmental issues and human rights dilemmas. They can work in low-income markets - supported by Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) - to provide useful products at low prices - the so-called 'bottom of the pyramid' market. They can set standards in their operations that help to make decent working conditions the norm in developing countries. They cross boundaries and have greater scope than national governments. They also have greater power - though not necessarily greater influence or expertise - than NGOs. They need to be confident in showing how large a part they can play in providing the solution.

It is in this spirit that we look forward to engaging in Socratic dialogue with ATCA to discuss how best we can 'expand the space' - from next week we are happy to share with you and the distinguished ATCA colleagues the full findings of the report. We believe that its holistic perspective offers an important contribution to the creation of the wisdom based global economy to which ATCA is so rightly committed.

Best wishes

Mark Goyder and Tony Manwaring

Mark Goyder is Founder Director of Tomorrow's Company, a not-for-profit research and agenda-setting organisation responsible for the business-led Tomorrow's Global Company inquiry whose findings are to be published in June 2007. A business-led think-tank, Tomorrow's Company is committed to creating a future for business which makes equal sense to staff, shareholders and society. After 15 years as a manager in manufacturing businesses, Mark initiated the Royal Society for the encouragement of arts, manufacturing and commerce (RSA) Tomorrow's Company Inquiry, a business-led inquiry into 'the role of business in a changing world'. The objective was to develop a shared vision of the company of the future. In 1995 he founded Tomorrow's Company and, over the past ten years, has inspired and challenged the boards, leaders and managers of leading large and small companies with his clear vision and practical insights into the changing agenda for leadership, governance, and stakeholder relationships, most recently with the publication of Restoring Trust: investment in the twenty-first century (June 2004). A prolific writer and winner of the Institute of Management Studies (IMS) Tillers Millennium Trophy for best speaker, he has addressed audiences all over the world. Mark is also a member of the British Airways Corporate Responsibility Board, the BT Leadership Advisory Panel and the Camelot Advisory Panel for Social Responsibility. He also writes a monthly column in Ethical Corporation Magazine and Accountancy Age.

Tony Manwaring is Chief Executive of Tomorrow's Company. Tony has had a series of management, marketing and communications roles in the voluntary sector with NCH (formerly National Children's Home), Diabetes UK and most recently, the disability rights charity Scope, where he was chief executive for over three years. Before that he worked as head of The General Secretary's Office for the Labour Party, playing a key role in transforming its operational fortunes as it became New Labour. He also has a track record in CSR, working with a number of major companies in often ground-breaking partnerships. Tony has a degree in Economics from Cambridge and an MA in Industrial Relations from Warwick. He has a long standing interest in business, leadership and organisational change, having contributed to a comparative project on labour markets, whilst working at the LSE and the Wissenschaftszentrum, Berlin; and also the MIT study 'The Future of the World Automobile Industry', before taking responsibility for industrial policy at the Labour Party. He is currently completing a project on leadership and change with the think-tank, Demos.


We look forward to your further thoughts, observations and views. Thank you.

Best wishes

For and on behalf of DK Matai, Chairman, Asymmetric Threats Contingency Alliance (ATCA)

ATCA: The Asymmetric Threats Contingency Alliance is a philanthropic expert initiative founded in 2001 to resolve complex global challenges through collective Socratic dialogue and joint executive action to build a wisdom based global economy. Adhering to the doctrine of non-violence, ATCA addresses asymmetric threats and social opportunities arising from climate chaos and the environment; radical poverty and microfinance; geo-politics and energy; organised crime & extremism; advanced technologies -- bio, info, nano, robo & AI; demographic skews and resource shortages; pandemics; financial systems and systemic risk; as well as transhumanism and ethics. Present membership of ATCA is by invitation only and has over 5,000 distinguished members from over 100 countries: including several from the House of Lords, House of Commons, EU Parliament, US Congress & Senate, G10's Senior Government officials and over 1,500 CEOs from financial institutions, scientific corporates and voluntary organisations as well as over 750 Professors from academic centres of excellence worldwide.

The views presented by individual contributors are not necessarily representative of the views of ATCA, which is neutral. Please do not forward or use the material circulated without permission and full attribution.

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