(São Paulo, 14 April 2014) – Companies committed to reducing global problems need to adopt a sustainable business strategy, not just a sustainability strategy, according to Professor Robert G. Eccles of Harvard Business School. Eccles participated in a debate on sustainability co-organized by Global Compact Network Brazil and Global Compact LEAD.
The event included a presentation of his study – developed in partnership with the London Business School – which showed a comparative analysis of 80 high-performance companies in sustainability and 80 low-performance companies. Findings over 18 years discovered that the first group significantly outperformed the second on accounting performance. "This difference does not appear fast, only after 7-8 years", Eccles added. Results were also better among those companies that directly involved the Board on sustainability issues and better-linked remuneration of executives to good performance in this area. "We hope these findings help drive a change in posture and governance within organizations," noted Renata Seabra, Executive Secretary of Global Compact Network Brazil.
In a panel discussion moderated by Eccles, Sandra Guerra of International Corporate Governance Network (IBGC) said that Boards should be trained better for these issues. Business representatives in attendance remarked that organizations need to better situate the relationship with investors and learn how to share the value generated by sustainable actions, but conceded that keeping this value in the long-run was a challenge.
Representatives from the UN Global Compact Office in New York also presented on two important initiatives focused on leadership and partnership. The LEAD Board Programme – currently in its pilot phase – was introduced as a platform for supporting and empowering Boards of Directors to take a proactive and strategic approach to sustainability. Participants were also introduced to the UN Global Compact Business Partnership Hub, an online platform launched at the Global Compact Leaders Summit 2013 to gather partners around projects and solutions at the local level.
Global Compact Network Brazil