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Responsible Business Leadership and Corporate Citizenship

Responsible Business Leadership and Corporate Citizenship

Coulson-Thomas, Colin (2019) Responsible Business Leadership and Corporate Citizenship. In: 13th International Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility, 17-18th January, 2019, Ballroom, Hotel Taj Lands End, Mumbai (India).

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International conference call for business leaders to seek new ideas and engage younger generations.

Business leaders should appeal for ideas for alternatives to current offerings and more sustainable and less environmentally damaging business models.

Responsible business leaders should appeal for fresh ideas and engage more with younger generations upon whom the future of mankind depends, according to Colin Coulson-Thomas speaking at the 13th International Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility. According to the author of Winning Companies; Winning People: “We need to open up to them and engage, involve and trust them. We need to inspire them by articulating challenges and opportunities in terms of causes that capture their imaginations and motivate them.”

Addressing fellow directors Coulson-Thomas argued: “We need to be role models of more socially responsible leadership. We need to pass on the batons of creative enterprise, inspired entrepreneurship and more inclusive capitalism. We need to build the cultures and working and learning environments and put in place the mechanisms and models that will allow younger generations to use current and future innovations, their time and natural resources wisely.”

Coulson-Thomas suggested: “Young people are sometimes cynical and wary in their views of business. They see a gulf between the rhetoric of concern for the environment and widespread practices such as built-in obsolescence, shortening the life of products and withdrawing servicing and support to force disposal and replacement purchasing rather than repair. They see current business priorities, practices and models continuing largely unchanged, while the actual and potential costs of coping with the consequences of climate change and other maturing risks rise exponentially with every year of delay.”

He issued a warning: “Thinking young people ought to be worried. Will they spend their later years scavenging for rare minerals on mountains of our contaminated waste? We need to reassure young people that we are not mortgaging their futures - and our children’s and grand-children’s futures - for our own short-term benefits. Incremental improvement of current practices and models may not be enough to address many of the challenges we face and seize related opportunities. We need “get out of jail” cards. Creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship could be the answer if we embrace them.”

Coulson-Thomas believes: “We may need to look beyond the usual suspects and those whose views of what is possible derive from a previous era. Throughout history some of the biggest breakthroughs have come from outsiders. As business leaders, we need to inspire creativity, encourage and enable innovation and support entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship. As directors we should appeal for ideas, including ideas for alternatives to our current offerings and ideas for more sustainable and less environmentally damaging business models.”

He pointed out: “Actively trading companies often have premises, accounts and HR departments and - importantly- direct access to potential customers. They hold licenses to operate and they have a trading history. We have all of these things that most start-up entrepreneurs lack. We could offer to work with selected entrepreneurs to help them commercialise promising ideas. In some cases we could do this on a collaborative basis and take an equity stake.”

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Plenary)
Additional Information: Plenary speech delivered on 17th January in the Ballroom of the Hotel Taj Lands End, Mumbai (India) at the 13th International Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility
Uncontrolled Keywords: Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR, Leadership, Responsible Business, Responsible Leadership, Responsible Business Leadership, Corporate Citizenship, Stakeholders, Contemporary challenges, Trust in business, Younger people, Global warming, Leprosy, Creativity, Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Social entrepreneurship, New technologies, Institute for Responsible Business Leadership
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Business
Faculty of Business > Department of Human Resources & Organisational Behaviour
Faculty of Business > Centre for Work and Employment Research (CREW) > Leadership & Organisational Behaviour Research Group (LOB)
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Last Modified: 14 Feb 2019 17:35

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