International conference call for business leaders to seek new ideas and engage younger generations

Business leaders should appeal for ideas for alternatives to current offerings and more sustainable and less environmentally damaging business models
By: Adaptation
Prof Colin Coulson-Thomasl
Prof Colin Coulson-Thomasl
PETERBOROUGH, U.K. - Jan. 25, 2019 - PRLog -- Responsible business leaders should appeal for fresh ideas and engage more with younger generations upon whom the future of mankind depends, according to Prof Colin Coulson-Thomas speaking at the 13th International Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility. According to the author of Winning Companies; Winning People: "We need to open up to them and engage, involve and trust them. We need to inspire them by articulating challenges and opportunities in terms of causes that capture their imaginations and motivate them."

Addressing fellow directors Coulson-Thomas argued: "We need to be role models of more socially responsible leadership. We need to pass on the batons of creative enterprise, inspired entrepreneurship and more inclusive capitalism. We need to build the cultures and working and learning environments and put in place the mechanisms and models that will allow younger generations to use current and future innovations, their time and natural resources wisely."

Coulson-Thomas suggested: "Our investigation shows young people are sometimes cynical and wary in their views of business. They see a gulf between the rhetoric of concern for the environment and widespread practices such as built-in obsolescence, shortening the life of products and withdrawing servicing and support to force disposal and replacement purchasing rather than repair. They see current business priorities, practices and models continuing largely unchanged, while the actual and potential costs of coping with the consequences of climate change and other maturing risks rise exponentially with every year of delay."

The Professor issued a warning: "Thinking young people ought to be worried. Will they spend their later years scavenging for rare minerals on mountains of our contaminated waste? We need to reassure young people that we are not mortgaging their futures - and our children's and grand-children's futures - for our own short-term benefits. Incremental improvement of current practices and models may not be enough to address many of the challenges we face and seize related opportunities. We need "get out of jail" cards. Creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship could be the answer if we embrace them."

Coulson-Thomas believes: "We may need to look beyond the usual suspects and those whose views of what is possible derive from a previous era. Throughout history some of the biggest breakthroughs have come from outsiders. As business leaders, we need to inspire creativity, encourage and enable innovation and support entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship. As directors we should appeal for ideas, including ideas for alternatives to our current offerings and ideas for more sustainable and less environmentally damaging business models."

The Adaptation chairman pointed out: "Actively trading companies often have premises, accounts and HR departments and - importantly- direct access to potential customers. They hold licenses to operate and they have a trading history. We have all of these things that most start-up entrepreneurs lack. We could offer to work with selected entrepreneurs to help them commercialise promising ideas. In some cases we could do this on a collaborative basis and take an equity stake."

Alongside multiple challenges Coulson-Thomas who also leads the International Governance Initiative of the Order of St Lazarus believes there are also historic possibilities, such as to remove the threat of leprosy: "The disease which is now curable has been a scourge of mankind since when the founders of the world's great religions walked upon this earth. There are opportunities to increase awareness, early detection and treatment, stop discrimination and promote inclusion.

Prof (Dr) Colin Coulson-Thomas, Adaptation chairman and President of the Institute of Management Services, has helped directors in over 40 countries to improve director, board and corporate performance. An experienced director, board chair and process vision holder of complex and mission critical transformation programmes, he holds a portfolio of national and international leadership roles, has held public appointments at national, regional and local level, and has had professorial roles in Europe, North and South America, Africa, the Middle East, India and China. He is a Fellow of the Institute for Responsible Business and received the CSR Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 CSR Leadership Summit. His recent publications can be obtained from policy publications:

Adaptation / Colin Coulson-Thomas
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