Sustainable Advancements (OPC) Private Limited recently attended the Responsible Leadership Conference focussing on ‘Responsible Leadership after the Crisis’ – 9th International Humbolt Conference on Sustainability and Responsibility, 2020 based on ‘How companies successfully combine economic growth, sustainability and responsibility’ organised by F.A.Z.-Institut digitally on September 15 and 16, 2020.
Infact, as a part of the same annual series, Dr. Nayan Mitra, Founder Director, Sustainable Advancements (OPC) Private Limited in 2018, was recognized for her ‘tireless dedication and creative efforts’ at a ceremony at the historical Town Hall of Cologne, Germany, in the presence of the Mayor of Cologne, Henriette Reker; Professor Elizabeth Frohlich, the President of the Cologne Business School; Professor Rene Schmidpeter, Chairman of the Conference and Head of the Center for Advanced Sustainable Management (CASM) and over 250 delegates from around the world. The Award was handed over by Professor Robert G. Eccles, Professor of Management Practice at Oxford University.
This year, the digital format had an equally exciting line-up of profound speakers who gave insights on, what it means to be a responsible leader and balancing success and sustainability. The Conference started on September 15, 2020 with Carsten Spohr, CEO of Lufthansa welcoming the participants followed by honouring the outstanding performing companies and great personalities through a digital awards ceremony. At the ceremonial highlight Georg Kell has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement by Prof. H.C. Joachim Schwalbach, founder of the conference and emeritus Professor of the Humboldt University of Berlin.
On September 16, 2020, the introductory session was followed by the first panel that was moderated effectively by Dr. Rene Schmidpeter, Founder of M3Trix discussing the State of the Art of Responsible Leadership Research. Dr. Edward Freeman (University and Olsson Professor, The Darden School, University of Virginia) shared the principles of connecting leadership to purpose and the 5 key ideas of business leadership as, purpose & profits, Stakeholders & shareholders, Society, Humanity and Ethics. While, Prof. Christof Miska (Associate Professor at the Institute for International Business at WU Vienna University of Economics and Business in Austria)discussed values and virtues as important considerations of Responsible Leadership, Dr. Oliver Laasch (Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Alliance Manchester Business School) shed light on the research and developments that has been made in this area.
In the next session, Sustainable investment – now more than ever! – Group Chief Investment Officer, Swiss Re Group Guido Fürer shared interesting tips on sustainable investment and how it has become more relevant in post COVID-19. He pointed out how with the growing environmental and social concern, now is the right time for sustainable transformation by making responsible investments and investing in companies having high ESG scores. This was followed by the keynote by Prof. Wayne Visser (Professor of Integrated Value and Holder of the Chair in Sustainable Transformation at Antwerp Management School) on The Age of Emergence. He mentioned about the relevance of Sustainable Transformation approach and laid emphasis on financially successful entrepreneurship. Dr Wayne Visser told how this transformation can be achieved by creating integrated values, stating: sustainability needs to be built into the core business model. He also gave a sneak peek into his upcoming book ‘The Age of Emergence’, the meaning, principles and process of emergence. He said leaders invest in: Culture, communication, catalysts, collaboration and capacity.
Thereafter a series of discussions by practitioners on the topic in German followed, opening up the floor to the parallel sessions in German and English simultaneously. This session by the State Secretary Dr. Philipp Nimmermann, Managing Director Communications & Sustainability at Procter & Gamble; Gabriele Hässig, PwC partner Hendrik Fink and Shop Apotheke CEO Stefan Feltens dealt with questions like how would sustainable responsible leadership play a significant role in the present and especially in the post-crisis period?
The German session by Prof. Christof Ehrhart, Executive Vice President Communications & Governmental Affairs at Bosch addressed tensions between man and machine, freedom and justice, profitability and sustainability.Dr. Thomas Melde, Managing Partner, akzente kommunikation und beratung GmbH and Ms. Miki Yokoyama, Managing Partner, TechFounderspresented how corporates often overlook that startup – corporate collaborations can drive responsible leadership, sustainability and innovation. They pointed out that organisations are gradually overcoming the challenges associated with collaborations. Thereafter, Jörg Forthmann, Managing Director, IMWF Institute for Management and Economic Research delivered on How sustainability becomes a “license to operate” for companies – and how to manage it”.
At the end, discussion on “Social vs. political responsibility?” was held with Dr. Johannes Bohnen, Managing Partner, Bohnen Public Affairs and Dr. Cristian Grossmann, CEO, Beekeeper AG. The conference concluded with the US scientist and author Prof. Sandra Waddock (Galligan Chair of Strategy, Carroll School Scholar of Corporate Responsibility) talking about the power of social imaginary art and how, to bring about any transformation through innovation everyone needs to appreciate art first.
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