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"Boards set the tone for the CEOs, and CEOs set the tone for the leadership"- Mr. Richard Lesser, Global Chair, Boston Consulting Group
May 11, 2022

It is important for companies to be purpose driven now then ever before. The companies that move faster with regards to climate change, get greater access to both talent and finance, stay ahead of regulations, and show better shareholder returns. It is important that companies invest along with tailwinds, rather than against the headwinds. This was stated by Mr. Richard Lesser, Global Chair, Boston Consulting Group. He was speaking at the 1st CII ‘Being Future Ready’ Business Summit 2022 which was being held today in the virtual mode.

Highlighting how humans have made dramatic changes to the Earth, Mr Lesser, pointed out how the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere which was constant for 2000 years has shot up massively in the last few hundred years. In order to address this problem, the pledges being made by countries and companies are real and meaningful, and India’s commitment at the COP (Conference of Parties) is particularly encouraging, he further added.

While recognizing the challenges which developing countries like India face when dealing with climate change, Mr Lesser underscored how this also brings an opportunity. “India is a country with a lot of sunshine and lot of wind. And the world is looking for alternatives to lower carbon products, for hydrogen and its derivatives. It is a great opportunity for India to be a source of momentum in this”, he stressed.

“To me, we only have to remember three words: Commit, Act and Engage”, said Mr. Lesser. First, we need to commit to transparency in measuring and then we need to make decade wise progress on them. It is essential for companies to engage not just themselves, but also their suppliers. There is need for companies to send out a clear message to their suppliers that the company will make their decisions based on commitments to sustainability.

Highlighting the importance of positioning sustainable practices at the core of their business agenda, Mr Lesser, stated that there is a need for companies to think what unmet need in the world there is that the company is trying to fulfill. This needs to be not just through the CSR activity but be embedded in its core strategies. This Mr. Lesser stated would bring meaning to colleagues, energy to organizations and open up new ways to solve old problems. “Boards set the tone for the CEOs, and CEOs set the tone for the leadership”, he added further while emphasizing that this change in mindset can start right at the top.

Mr. Nitin Prasad, Chairman, CII National Initiative for Cleaner Air, Better Life and Chairman, Shell India while speaking in conversation with Mr Lesser, opined that though there is pessimism world over with Covid, the war, the refugees, but it is equally important to realize and recognize the challenges of climate change like wildfires, heat waves among others, that we face now. Emphasizing on the importance of forging greater government and business collaboration, he further stressed that the governments must set clear standards on how reporting on sustainable practices should be done, which the industry can then follow.

11 May 2022

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