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Sustainability an opportunity to re-imagine and re-invent a better world: Nadir Godrej
May 12, 2022

Mr Nadir Godrej, Managing Director, Godrej Industries Ltd, addressed issues of diversity, business continuity and resilience and sustainability while speaking on the theme ‘Governance Principles for Business Resilience and Continuity’ at the 1st CII ‘Being Future Ready’ Business Summit 2022. Stating that there was a lot to gain from diversity in terms of ideas, challenges, responses and solutions, he shared the advantages of a Board that is diverse, in terms of gender, competencies, experience and skills. Mr Godrej asserted on the importance of onboarding directors with tech talent and the ability to react and be seized of a situation immediately after it has happened.

Speaking on the sublime role of planning for the future in business continuity and resilience, particularly in family businesses, he highlighted that succession planning needs to factor in business, family and management into count to be successful. Sharing learnings from the pandemic, he said that we needed to have secure and reliable supply chain by being self-reliant, flexible, and having multiple sourcing, incorporating backward integration, and focusing on R&D, amongst others. Additionally, he noted the positives that resilience and agility brought in during the period. Calling sustainability, a striking opportunity to re-imagine and re-invent a better world, he emphasised the importance of green initiatives and shifting dependency on renewable energy sources for resilience and continuity.

Speaking at the Summit, Mr N. Venkatram, Member, CII National Committee on MNCs & CEO, Deloitte observed that in the backdrop of the pandemic, the world is witnessing the onset of the BANI (brittle, anxious, non-linear, and incomprehensible) world. Corporates today, he shared, are expected to engage with stakeholders and face challenges proficiently. Additionally, they are required to be more trustworthy, and undergo a mindset change from chance outcome to strategic outcome, and to plan for digital transformation and the non-linear tomorrow. In terms of regulatory changes, he pointed out companies must prepare and be conscious of the onerous responsibility of making proper disclosures in new areas, namely, climate change and cyber. The Boards should focus not only on outcomes (short-term) but also on the ‘outcome of the outcomes’ (long-term) and on scenario planning, he concluded.

Mr M D Ranganath, Independent Director, HDFC Bank, stressed that technology was central to today’s business. Differentiating from operational IT discussions, he observed that strategic IT discussions required Boards to identify in advance the issues causing disruptions, prepare, and find possible solutions. Further, issues of what technology to invest in, leveraging technology, providing services, etc, also needed to be addressed from a long-term perspective. Research has shown that top IT talent preferred entrepreneurship requiring companies to devise unique career progression for tech talent, he shared. With the days of complacency with one technology expert on Board behind us, he observed that today the core requirement was for every member to be digitally literate. Concluding with his insights on Board culture, he felt that constructive criticism, disagreements and challenging the status quo was a necessity, along with continuous upgradation of skills.

Earlier delivering the welcome remarks, Mr Shailesh Haribhakti, Chairman, Shailesh Haribhakti & Associates highlighted the need for broad processes with highest levels of integrity, participation, collaboration, and having meaningful debate, giving Board a chance to apply solutions in the context of macro economy, to make business resilient in the face of black swan events. Given the importance of sustainability, he underlined the importance of converging developments, including technological, into conducting oneself economically. Advising Boards to focus on being effective and innovative, he stated that they needed to have defined roles, metrics for evaluation, facilitate integration, have zero latency in making proper disclosures to stakeholders, adopt ecosystem based thinking, manage interpersonal relationships, and indulge in continuous upskilling.

12 May 2022

New Delhi

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