The India CSR Network’s Brand Ambassador for Sustainability calls upon business leaders to innovate and collaborate and partner in the building of a more sustainable and socially responsible future
The COVID-19 pandemic is creating a global requirement and opportunity for innovation, repurposing and welcome changes of direction according to Prof Colin Coulson-Thomas, President of the Institute of Management Services and India CSR’s Brand Ambassador for Sustainability.
While presenting the scene setting keynote during the inaugural session of the 11th annual CSR Leadership Summit, the author of Winning Companies; Winning People called upon the CSR community to play a catalytic role in ensuring socially and environmentally responsible outcomes.
Coulson-Thomas stressed the importance of shared purpose, agility, flexibility, cohesion, trust and responsible and caring leadership. In the contemporary situation he emphasised the importance of resilience, “We need individual, family, organisational, community, network and social resilience. Resilience is about coping, responding and rebounding, but in relation to COVID-19 we should not return to where we were before the pandemic. The cost in terms of environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity, use of finite natural capital, and contribution to global warming and climate change would be too high.”
The professor questioned CSR Leadership Summit attendees at the first day of the three day event: “Were previous activities and lifestyles sustainable? Can we turn adversity and tragedy into an opportunity to move towards a more sustainable future? Should we look beyond a ‘new normal’? Can we evolve, transition and transform to a more sustainable and inclusive model of development that is less environmentally damaging? We need innovation – social innovation as well as business and economic innovation.”
The Adaptation chairman argued: “We must create and adopt simpler, healthier and less stressful lifestyles that safeguard natural capital. Crises like the COVID-19 pandemic can create a common and shared exposure to risk, threat, pressure and stress that can cause people to come together. Cohesion and consensus are important for holding people together, but we don’t want a dull uniformity. As well as collective effort we need individual initiative, inspiration and imagination. We need diversity, challenge and questioning. We require experiment and exploration if we are to bounce back to a better place.”
Coulson-Thomas emphasised the need for socially responsible innovation, enterprise and entrepreneurship: “The CSR community should build socially responsible innovation into the purposes, visions, values, goals and objectives of organisations. Remember your CSR roots, the ancient wisdom of India and our responsibilities to future generations. Living in harmony with the natural world can offer hope and shine lights into dark places. Collaboration and partnership are needed for Sustainable Social Development. Together let’s build a sustainable and socially responsible future.”
The three day 11th CSR Leadership Summit 2021 was organised by the India CSR network. Adaptation’s chairman and the network’s brand ambassador for sustainability has held public appointments at local, regional and national level and professorial appointments in Europe, North and South America, Africa, the Middle East, India and China. He is a fellow of seven chartered bodies and the World Academy of Productivity Science and an Honoured Fellow of the Institute for Responsible Leadership, Details of his activities and recent books can be obtained from https://www.adaptation.ltd/