The new rules of business leadership

The job of a CEO has always been challenging. Today it is tougher than ever, because the pressure to deliver rising valuations and ROI is matched by a new set of demands as investors, customers, employees and other business leaders call for profits to be balanced with social purpose.

After 20,000 of Google’s employees staged a walkout last November, the company overhauled its sexual harassment policies. Amazon was pulled into the spotlight late last year, when employees leveraged their stock options to submit petitions asking the company to create a plan to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. And when high school survivors of the Parkland massacre helped make gun control a subject of national debate, Kroger, Walmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods and LL Bean put new restrictions on their retail firearm sales.

As BlackRock CEO Larry Fink wrote recently in his annual letter to executives, “contentious town halls” where employees speak up for “the importance of corporate purpose” are becoming a fact of life. “This phenomenon will only grow as millennials and even younger generations occupy increasingly senior positions in business. In a recent survey by Deloitte, millennial workers were asked what the primary purpose of businesses should be – 63 percent more of them said ‘improving society’ than said ‘generating profit.’”

It’s no longer enough to post your values on the company intranet. You need to publicly and visibly put them to work.

Read more

Circularity has finally hit the mainstream as Nestle, Mars, Danone and Clorox join Loop to test reusable packaging

Credit: SABIC

Having lived and traveled in Southeast Asia for a number of years, I have seen and experienced the negative impacts of plastic pollution firsthand. I can’t count the number of times I’ve visited some of the world’s most breathtaking remote locations and couldn’t stop staring at the plastic everywhere.

Last week, I finally felt that we turned a corner on plastics. At the World Economic Forum several of the largest consumer goods companies announced Loop, a pilot system to test reusable packaging for everyday products like mouthwash, deodorant, household cleaners and certain food products.

Read more