From 12 to 14 May, The Financial Times gathered a large group of so-called senior global decision makers from politics, business, technology and finance to debate online for three days. The FT-journalists measure the challenging times of this moment and especially how we will organize the economy afterwards. 

The most important conclusion of those three days of the “Global Boardroom panel” was that companies that still do not see the need to do business with an eye for people, the environment and society will eventually lose out. It is precisely this need that CEO’s 4C limate also emphasizes. Participants pointed out that companies with a strong commitment to sustainable development objectives also showed greater financial stability during the corona crisis. The think tank High Meadows Institute called it a striking trend that, during the corona crisis, quite a few directors of large corporations focused much more than before on sustainability. In this way, they saved the sustainability teams from redundancies. The Global Boardroom also indicated that sustainability and social responsibility, previously often only indirectly involved in business operations, are now shifting to the heart of the matter and becoming more and more part of the strategy. One of the reasons why companies with an emphasis on environment, social relations and corporate governance did better during the crisis is that even before the crisis, they had understood a number of challenges very well, such as the importance of a healthy supply chain and good relations with suppliers.

Paul Polman, the former CEO of Unilever, known for his pioneering role around sustainability, was also present at the online debate. According to him, it is especially important not to fall into the same trap as after the 2008 crisis. According to him, the money spent at that time to get out of the crisis went mainly to a small group, which increased inequality. Polman advocates that a significant part of the financial resources released by governments should be used for the environment and climate. The participants in this panel also point out that everything is connected to everything and that entrepreneurs also have a social responsibility. They also cite a study by Just Capital, which shows that companies that treat their employees well ultimately also benefit financially.

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