Businesses don't control the world; they are its servantsby Prospect Team / October 8, 2015 / Leave a comment
In the prologue to his new book, Connect: How Companies Succeed By Engaging Radically With Society, John Browne, the former CEO of BP, remembers walking through the lobby of a hotel in Fort Worth, Texas in late May, 2010. A row of televisions, each tuned to a different network, was showing the same image of oil gushing from BP’s stricken Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico. “For a second,” Browne writes, “I felt relieved no longer to be in charge. Quickly, though, these images and the scathing commentary made me angry. How had this happened? BP was going to be torn apart.”
When, at the beginning of October, Browne addressed a Prospect roundtable supported by the Institute of Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability (ICRS), and held at the London HQ of the Chartered Management Institute, there was a similar sense of “There but for the grace of God go I.” A few days before the meeting it had emerged that German car giant Volkswagen had been cheating emissions tests in the United States.
During their research for the book, Browne and his co-authors, Robin Nuttall and Tommy Stadlen, surveyed company executives, 89 per cent of whom believed that “companies have a moral responsibility to address societal and environmental issues that go beyond legal requirements.”…