Lecture on Responsible Capitalism

By 26/02/2013Events
Paul Polman

“the only way to guarantee long term prosperity is to grow our businesses in line with the needs and aspirations of the communities we serve.”

The Bata Lecture on Responsible Capitalism — named for the great Canadian businessman Thomas Bata — was delivered in Toronto on 11 February by Paul Polman, chief executive of British consumer goods giant Unilever.

In his speech Paul Polman said he was reminded of the words of the poet, Robert Frost: “Two roads diverged, and I took the one less travelled, And it made all the difference”.

He said it is time for us to take the road less travelled.  “Not just because it’s time for business to be givers and not takers from the system that gives us life in the first place…. .but because the only way to guarantee long term prosperity is to grow our businesses in line with the needs and aspirations of the communities we serve.

” There is a huge opportunity for businesses that embrace this new model of responsible capitalism. But it needs a different approach. This goes well beyond CSR.

” It’s about moving to a licence to lead, where:

  • business sees itself as part of society not separate from it;
  • the focus is on the long term, not on quarterly earnings;
  • the needs of citizens and communities carry the same weight as those of shareholders…”

He went on to outline the approach being taken at Unilever.

To read the speech in full click here.