Leading commentators take stock of a turbulent year for responsible business in Ethical Corporation's review of 2018

For the past few years I have commissioned Ethical Corporation’s team of expert freelance journalists to produce a review of the top 10 issues of the year just passed.  For 2018, I decided to ask leading figures in Ethical Corporation’s formidable global community of change-makers to give their views on how the issues that they follow evolved over the past 12 months,  and signpost their expectations for the year ahead.

I was very grateful that 15 responded to the call, giving freely of their time to provide excellent insights on the most important issues facing responsible business as we go into 2019.

Forum for the Future’s Sally Uren, John Elkington of Volans, author Gib Bulloch, Matthew Yeomans of Sustainly, and Natalie Chan, a member of Ethical Corporation’s advisory board and managing director of PIE Strategy, highlight the new thinking emerging in the C-suite in the face of the extraordinary challenges business now faces.

John Morrison of the Institute for Human Rights and Business, Lise Kingo of the UN Global Compact, and Caroline Rees of Shift explain, in various ways, how the events of 2018 showed the need for a just transition, and for companies to up their game on social performance in 2019.

Mindy Lubber of Ceres, Paul Simpson of CDP, Catherine Howarth of ShareAction, Matthew Welch of SASB, and Dirk Forrister of IETA chart a banner year for corporate action on climate change, but point to the scorching consequences if business fails to lift its ambition much further in light of the latest IPCC report, and the US National Climate Assessment.

Lindsey Allen of Rainforest Action Network and Joky François of Rainforest Alliance explain how 2019 will be a key test of whether companies will get to grips with deforestation and gender issues in supply chains.

Finally, John Elkington ends this special issue with a tribute to Paul Polman, who leaves Unilever after 10 years spent pushing the boundaries of sustainability at the consumer goods giant, and for the entire business community.  He will be sorely missed, though he will doubtless continue to show leadership on the world stage.

It remains for me to thank all of Ethical Corporation’s talented journalists, insightful contributors, our sub-editor Karen Luckhurst and Laurence O'Hare-Carroll of Alex Chilton Design for helping to produce our magazine and all the rest of the content on our website this year. I also want to thank our loyal subscribers, without whom the magazine would not be possible, and wish everyone in our community a purposeful and prosperous 2019.

sustainability  CSR  supply chains  deforestation  sustainability climate change  Human rights  diversity and gender 

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