Inaugural Council Meeting Agenda | Thursday, August 20, 2020
On August 19, 2019, the US-based Business Roundtable (BRT) issued a ground-breaking “Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation.” In the 300-word document, the primacy of generating profits for shareholders was called into question for the first time in nearly 50 years.
Times are changing. Social and environmental problems are intense and growing. Most employees are disengaged. Income disparity is at a historical high. Consumers are distrustful. Business – especially big business – is held in low regard, if not seen as a primary culprit for these and other ills. The BRT statement suggests that business leaders are taking note.
While there are cynics that suggest that global corporations are saying only what is required to appease the public and regulators, others suggest that we’ve entered a new era in corporate social engagement. To solve the many problems that increasingly plague our world, a growing majority believe that the private sector – not the government –must rise to the occasion both in the interest of self-preservation and in the name of socio-economic sustainability.
The advent of COVID-19 has perhaps, not surprisingly, accelerated the effort to redefine the role of the corporation in the 21st century.
Getting an accurate fix on evolving expectations for corporate stewardship is a big challenge, as the public sphere is both noisy and sensationalized. The situation is even more murky in Asia. Against this backdrop of increasing activism and hyperbole, what should CEOs and Boards extrapolate for Asia from US and European trend lines in corporate purpose?
This inaugural Council meeting will unpack the rising tide of “stakeholder” activism, the current and foreseeable flashpoints in stakeholder concers, and the relative preparedness of Asia-based leadership teams and Boards to anticipate, manage, and respond to these challenges.
Focal questions for the session will include:
Members will share their perspectives, plans and initiatives to inform collective thinking and generate collective insights and get-rights.
8:15 Hellos and Coffee
8:30 Council Opening
David Hoffman will introduce the context and purpose of the Council, frame a set of key issues, outline envisioned long-term impacts, and discuss key elements for a Council Charter document. Objectives and outcomes for the meeting will be discussed and agreed with the group.
David Hoffman, Senior Vice President Asia, The Conference Board
Steve Stine, Council Program Director
8:45 Current Corporate Purpose Realities – Overview & Round Robin
Steve Stine will present his initial findings from one-on-one discussions with Council Members leading up to the inaugural meeting, establishing for the group a set of criteria and year one objectives. Council members will then discuss areas of critical importance and explore the best way forward as a collective. Each Council member will then have the opportunity to:
10:00 Setting the ACLC Research Agenda
Sunil Puri (Center for Creative Leadership) and Anurag Banerjee (Quilt.ai) will provide Members with an overview of the Year 1 research agenda.
The Asia Corporate Leadership Council (ACLC) is agenda driven and research led. It features a continuous primary research program designed to:
10:50 Wrap up and snapshot of upcoming activities
11:00 Meeting Formally Adjourned
11:30 End of Call