While many companies have embraced responsible business practices, something new is on the corporate horizon: calls for the redefining of capitalism itself. And among the loudest calls are those coming from some of the world’s most prominent business chiefs.
The response in corporate boardrooms has been decidedly mixed. Directors can appreciate the desire of executives to look beyond the financial bottom line to include the needs of society and the planet in their corporate strategies, but it remains to be seen whether it’s possible to make meaningful changes within the market’s current constructs. Barring regulatory or legislative overhauls, many boards feel they cannot simply abandon their primary (and fiduciary) responsibility to focus on shareholder returns.
As the ground continues to shift, one thing at least is clear: this is a conversation all boards need to participate in. What core impacts, both social and environmental, and operational and strategic shifts will make the biggest impact on all their stakeholders? What practical steps can they take to move from making incremental changes to a fundamental rethinking of the way they do business? What are the hard choices that need to be made, and how can boards push executives to pursue long-term goals in the face of short-term market pressures?
These questions and more will be raised at the FT Moral Money Directors Exchange: Practical Paths to a More Inclusive Capitalism. Bringing together an elite cohort of corporate directors, this half-day event will explore the key issues board members face in navigating this evolving environment.