I have the honor to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos as one of the five representatives from Deloitte this again year. Deloitte LLP, the U.S. member firm, was the first professional firm that launched an initiative for the retention and advancement of women in the United States. Started in 1993, the Women’s Initiative changed the firm culture to retain and advance female professionals with leaders’ solid commitment.
Within 20 years, the U.S. firm achieved quite a number of goals: closing the gender gap in retention and promotion (female partner ratio from 7% to 23% and female board member from 1% to 30%). This was, of course, a turbulent journey, but does prove that we can make it happen if we believe in it.
Continue reading "Bringing female perspectives in the boardroom – Challenges in Japan" »
“Innovate or Die” is not a phrase that is easily translated to be understood in Japanese. Everyone acknowledges that over time emerging countries or companies can catch up with developed countries by becoming more innovative. However, over the past 20 years many Japanese companies and citizens seem to have gradually lost their determination to innovate.
As a run-up to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Deloitte conducted a Millennial survey targeting those born after 1982 in 18 countries worldwide (300 targets per country). Overall, responses from Japanese indicate that they’ve lost confidence in their ability to be innovative. For instance, the positive response to the question “Do you work for an innovative company?” was only 25% in Japan compared to 60% for the global average. Also, of the positive responses to the question “Do you consider yourself as innovative?” responses for Japan were only 24% compared to 62% on average globally.
Will Japan keep losing its determination to be innovative? Of course, it shouldn’t. The country needs to revitalize by breaking through the barriers of innovation.
Continue reading "Nurturing innovation" »
Last year was the first time I attended the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. It was a unique opportunity to hear insights from influential world leaders about the most pressing business issues and to discuss the critical role America plays in the global economy.
While last year’s event was marked by uncertainty with the volatile global economy, decreased trust in business, and the U.S. presidential elections, I anticipate this year’s discussion will focus on how we move the global economy forward to achieve a state of resilient dynamism, the theme of this year’s Forum, emphasizing the need to be both adaptable and fluid. To do this, we will need a bold vision and even bolder action. In our post-fiscal cliff reality, encouraging partnership between business and government is critical to creating more effective policies, restoring confidence, and increasing certainty, while creating a solid foundation for future growth. I like to call this fresh take on partnership Collaborative Capitalism.
Continue reading "Collaborative Capitalism: The power of business and government working together" »
Launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos last year, we are asking CEOs and governments to sign a simple set of cyber principles, thereby personally committing to taking cyber risk as a top priority. The Principles are straightforward but powerful, asking leaders to recognize their interdependence, to acknowledge the importance of their leadership on this issue, the need to incorporate cyber risk management into their operations, and perhaps most importantly, the shared responsibility, and so to ask their partners, customers and suppliers to do the same.
This year we are bringing leaders from many different industries and nations together to build on our initial success. We’ve created a powerful community, one that can really move the needle to improve our global cyber resilience. I’ll ask this community during our meeting in Davos to collectively determine what success looks like, which issues need to be dealt with first, and what they will commit to.
Continue reading "Cyber resiliency at the World Economic Forum" »
The poet William Blake wrote that “Great things are done when men and mountains meet.”1 Despite this poem being more than 200 years old, and recognizing the dynamic collection of men and women leading business and society today, this line perfectly sums up my feelings of anticipation ahead of my return to the mountain in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, to participate in the 2013 World Economic Forum.
This will be my sixth year attending the forum whose theme this year is “Resilient Dynamism.” Each year I’m impressed by the quality and insightfulness of the event, and by the intelligence and passion of those who take part. Where else do you get the opportunity to interact with smart young innovators, top academics, government leaders, and senior executives … all in one place?
Continue reading "When men and mountains meet" »
As more than a week of activities at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) concluded yesterday, I think everyone who contributed thought leadership, put their and their organization’s support behind conference goals, and supported the sessions should be happy with where the conference ended: that is, happy that change is happening and that we are headed in the right direction, but not, in my opinion, content to think the work is done.
As you know from our messages over the past week, Rio+20 set out to help shape new policies to promote global prosperity, reduce poverty, and advance social equity and environmental protection. Along those lines, those of us who participated in a related conference over the past several days—the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum (CSF)—had three specific goals in mind:
- Set the stage for further growth for companies engaged in sustainable development
- Demonstrate that many solutions for sustainable development already exist
- Demonstrate concrete, tangible action on a massive scale
Continue reading "Rio+20 demonstrates that we’re “headed in the right direction”" »
Rio is an exciting cosmopolitan city but even this dynamic and festive city received a jolt of activity when 5,000 registrants arrived this week for the much-anticipated United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). One of my first activities after I arrived was to take part in the “Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) Summit” which preceded the official opening of Rio+20.
As many of you know, education is a primary global focus for corporate responsibility at Deloitte, so it was energizing to hear discussions around the future role of business management education in creating the society we all want and deserve. The PRME initiative is a partnership of a number of academic and public sector international organizations that support the notion of business schools having a unique niche at the forefront of innovation for sustainable development. These groups believe that action must be taken now to envision and implement a business education construct that adequately takes sustainability issues and the environment into consideration of how business gets done.
Continue reading "Integrating sustainability and the environment into an effective business education" »
And so it starts! What an especially exciting time to be in Rio de Janeiro! I am here for some of the numerous events being held over the next few days in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the original Rio summit on the environment held here in 1993. In fact, this week's much-anticipated event has been given the catchy name of "Rio+20," because of this milestone year. The more formal name is the United Nations Global Compact Corporate Sustainability Forum and it kicks off this evening with an opening ceremony and reception.
Continue reading "Ready Set Go! Rio+20 starts" »
The world is quite literally coming together in Rio for a few days 20-22 June to build consensus on a more sustainable course for our planet. The unifying event is the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, which has a much more catchy title: Rio+20.
Organized by the United Nations, Rio+20 will enable thousands of government participants as well as many from the private sector—including Deloitte—to play a critical role in creating some innovative business solutions with long-lasting social and environmental impact. A related event being held in Brazil’s second largest city in the days leading up to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development is the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum, which will focus more on the business contribution to sustainable development. The number “20” is a reference to the years since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio where many countries rallied for the first time around a blueprint for economic growth that would consider social equity and environmental issues.
Continue reading "Rio+20: Deloitte + Me, Contributing to the global sustainability dialogue" »
The recent joint workshop on the business case for women’s economic empowerment which I chaired at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris was, I hope, another small step to integrating women’s experiences, perspectives, and voices into the fabric of our organizations, systems, and societies. Over 120 experts from around the world had gathered, including the U.S. Ambassador to the OECD and the OECD Deputy Secretary General, and representatives of business, government, and investor communities.
It was a joint meeting between the OECD; BIAC, the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD; and the American Chamber of Commerce in France and the aim of the day was to provide a business perspective and best practice experience to the OECD’s Gender Initiative. A report on the shared ideas will go forward to the 2012 OECD Ministerial and Forum to be held in May.
The levels of engagement in the discussion reflected just how important an issue this is for many, and for many reasons. What was being discussed didn’t seem to be mostly about the research and the data. It was much more grounded in common-sense and shared experience. Several people mentioned President Obama’s recent remarks on the subject and used them as their starting point. He had said that what we are talking about when we talk of women taking a much greater place in the economic structure is very simply that we want the same opportunities for our daughters as we want for our sons. Put like that the issue becomes very simple and almost unarguable.
Continue reading "Reflecting on 'The Business Case for Women’s Economic Empowerment' workshop" »