The UN Global Compact turns 20 and opens its virtual forum today. One background document by executive search firm Russell Reynolds looks at “Leadership for the Decade of Action”. It recalls a 2019 UNGC/Accenture study showing that 92% of CEOs believe integrating sustainability is critical to business success but that only 48% are doing it. It points to a 2019 Russell Reynolds study analyzing 4000 role specifications across industries and countries showing that while 15% of them make reference to sustainability (up from 9% in 2015), only 4% actually have sustainability experience and mindset as a requirement for getting the job. These numbers tell us that there is a still work to do to walk the talk in the private sector. To complement these findings, Russell Reynolds conducted in-depth interviews with 55 CEOs and found that sustainability pioneers are 3 times more likely than the control group to have worked in two or more continents, are more than twice as likely to have had experience in two or more functions, and are more likely to have had experience in operations and supply chains. It finally argues that all sustainability pioneers in business have a “sustainable mindset”. That means that they display the following leadership attributes: multilevel systems thinking, stakeholder inclusion, disruptive innovation, and long-term activation – a lot of catchy words thankfully unpacked and exemplified in the report.
Since the beginning of the crisis, hundreds of CEOs have announced that they would share the pain with their employees and take salary cuts. Financial Times Fan Fei and Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson analyzed – for 554 companies – how these salary cuts compared with returns from equity awards CEOs would be receiving this year. They show that these awards would far exceed the “solidarity” salary cuts as stocks continue to recover. That’s also because salaries only make a small portion of the income CEOs take home.
This graph is from the Institute for Economics and Peace’s ”Global Peace Index (GPI) 2020”. The index is made of 23 indicators and covers 99.7% of the world population. The report shows that global peacefulness has deteriorated 2.5% since 2008, calculates that the global violence price tag is $14.5 trillion dollars, says that COVID-19 adds more tension and uncertainty, and argues that civil unrest and environmental problems could further affect the situation in the future. The graph below shows the percentage changes for each GPI indicator from 2008 to 2020. 15 indicators have deteriorated. Two indicators significantly changed in opposite directions: UN peacekeeping funding improved while terrorism impact worsened.
My quote this week is from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on the Daily Show [1’18’’]: “Feminism is about justice for everyone but you have to name the problem. And the problem is that it is women who have been excluded. So, we need to call it what it is.” And Trevor Noah’s response: “In many ways that’s what people say about Black Lives Matter.”