60 posts categorized "Current Affairs"

January 17, 2013

When men and mountains meet

Barry outside at Davos 2012The 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?

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June 23, 2012

Rio+20 demonstrates that we’re “headed in the right direction”

Dttl_antsonbranchAs 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

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June 22, 2012

Integrating sustainability and the environment into an effective business education

Green appleRio 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.

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June 21, 2012

Ready Set Go! Rio+20 starts

Green bottlesAnd 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.

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June 20, 2012

Rio+20: Deloitte + Me, Contributing to the global sustainability dialogue

Rio de JaneiroThe 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. 

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February 21, 2012

Reflecting on 'The Business Case for Women’s Economic Empowerment' workshop

BIAC, AMCHAM France and OECD workshopThe 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.

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February 06, 2012

Ladies first

Ladies First ad banner

Ladies first: An old adage, but one that was top of mind on 2 February 2012 at the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC), AmCham France, and OECD joint workshop on the economic empowerment of women. And so it should be. Women are a critical resource in facing the challenges of our global economy, both as an emerging market and as a significant pool of human talent.  Further, gender diversity creates the potential for better, more informed decision-making in our societies, an educated and diverse source of talent for private and public institutions, and role models who can be an inspiration to billions of women and men worldwide.

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February 02, 2012

Call to action: Bringing together politics, business, and individuals for global solutions

Blog_wef_annualmeeting_gathering“Knowing is not enough; we must also apply. Willing is not enough; we must also act.”

This quote by German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe has accompanied me through the days in Davos at this year's World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. Seeing the pressing issues to be resolved has filled me with a sense of responsibility, corporate as well as personal. Yet no one person, company, or nation can achieve this alone. Change will only happen through dialogue and mutual respect; Davos offers a perfect forum to foster this conversation and build this respect.

Only together can we address and hope to resolve the big themes our world is facing:

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February 01, 2012

Harnessing the potential of women in the workforce

Yoriko Goto in DavosI have just spent a fascinating week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The theme for 2012, The Great Transformation: Shaping New Models, covered several topics such as shifts of geopolitical and geo-economic power, multiculturalism, technological innovation, and job creation. For example, academics and business leaders put forth the idea of job creation that focuses on the hundreds of millions of people that will enter the job market in the next decade. Businesses that will gain a competitive advantage in the future will be those that focus on talent by fostering entrepreneurial risk-taking and achieving true gender equality.

Against this backdrop of gender equality discussions, one of the highlights of the week for me was the Gender Parity session on Friday. As the leader of the Japanese Financial Services Industry practice at Deloitte Japan and the first female represented on the Deloitte Japan Executive Board, I am passionate about shaping employment and leadership opportunities for women. I had the privilege of talking to leaders from around the world in this interactive workshop about their experiences, and how to improve opportunities and career paths for women leaders in the future.

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January 30, 2012

Optimistic in an uncertain world

Deloitte Davos installation - Why does your business exist?Last year, I described my Davos experience as being like going to Disneyland but not being allowed to try the rides. This year, attending as a delegate for the first time, gave me an Alpine rollercoaster experience – from the highs of meeting and hearing from inspirational innovators, entrepreneurs and experts in their fields, to the lows of some sobering economic debates.

The World Economic Forum has typically contained an element of future gazing – what is the 5-10 year outlook for business and society? This year, there was a much more short term feel, with a strong focus on solving the Eurozone crisis. Perhaps unsurprising, given the presence of Angela Merkel, David Cameron, and numerous finance leaders.

Davos is a great opportunity for me to spend time with the CEOs of our member firm clients, and to get a good sense of the latest thinking of political leaders, finance leaders, and regulators. It’s also a real opportunity to hear from experts in fields I wouldn’t normally hear from, for example, on the future of medicine. This broader agenda is not only personally interesting, but gives me new perspectives and challenges my thinking.

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