The venerable British consultancy SustainAbility has released its latest Forum – a discussion among various members of its Core Team and a total of 35 members of its Faculty/Network (on which I’m honored to serve) – on this timely question:
Will globalization help or hinder the corporate responsibility and wider sustainability agendas?
The key findings (with lots of detail and discussion behind each):
1: Globalization (and “planetization”) will continue, perhaps even accelerate – but could switch to a very different direction by 2017….
2: One species, Americanization risks stalling…. This is a political challenge for the United States, but also for the rest of the world.
3: China’s role is seen as increasingly dominant, with many respondents seeing this as a potentially negative influence….
4: Many non-OECD companies, like Gazprom, “get away with murder”…
5: Activists fear being accused of “crying wolf,” so risk understating the challenges….
6: Corporate social responsibility will struggle, at least as currently defined, to stay on the corporate radar screen—being seen as a second tier agenda in terms of management priorities….
7: Supply chains will be vital in ensuring progress….
8: Business continuity will be prioritized as security and other threats grow….
9: Political leadership needs to be transformed if we are to have any chance of motivating individual citizens and putting the global economy onto more sustainable tracks….
10: Business, meanwhile, is often failing to act consistently as a good global citizen….
Rather than re-state my perspectives here, I’ll let you read and find them in the discussion. (A clue: it all depends of what kind of globalization, driven by what values and concerns. It’s never neutral.)

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