2010 London CEO Conference
Solving Social Problems through Business Strategy
On May 7, 2010, CECP hosted its first international Board of Boards CEO Conference in London, hosted by Bloomberg LP, focusing on the year's theme Solving Social Problems through Business Strategy. The closed-door event challenged an international audience to consider the emerging concept of sustainable value creation, a business practice in which companies select and commit themselves to solving social issues that simultaneously support the firm in creating and maintaining a distinct competitive advantage.
The session was led by Andrew Witty, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline plc and Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman of Nestlé , moderated by BBC Radio 4 Presenter Edward Stourton.
- Corporate leadership on social issues is appropriate when the company has a credible stake in the outcome.
- Action on social issues cannot be appended to existing business strategy; rather, it must be considered simultaneously and interwoven into larger business goals.
- The tension between delivering returns to investors while 'doing the right thing' for society dissipates when corporate CEOs spend their time on social issues tied directly to their bottom line.
- Companies must educate investors regarding the firm's long-range sustainability goals to minimize quarterly pressures that work against sustainable value creation.