|January 2006, Issue
NANOTECHNOLOGY, ECONOMY, ICT, WATER, PHILOSOPHY, URBAN DEVELOPMENT, EDUCATION,
MEDICINE, FOOD, MOBILITY, MUSIC, INTERNET, ENERGY, MEDIA, RELIGION, BIOTECH,
POLITICS, BRANDING, TECHNOLOGY, ENTERTAINMENT, KNOWLEDGE SOCIETY, TRADE,
ARCHITECTURE, LEARNING, SENIOR CITIZENS, DEMOCRACY, SCIENCE, CULTURE
Return and Responsibility
SUMMIT FOR THE FUTURE
Return and Responsibility
Association of British Insurers
by Roger Cowe
has advanced rapidly since the mid-1990s, and especially since
the ABI published guidelines on corporate disclosure in 2001,
designed to help institutional investors monitor corporate
performance. But in general, financial markets have been slow
to integrate the concepts into their assessments of risk and
responded to the guidelines by beginning to publish useful
information for investors, but more is needed from smaller
public companies and more focus is required on what is material
to each company, rather than general issues.
- Early attempts to gauge the "business
case" for corporate responsibility focused on revenue and cost
benefits. But there is now greater awareness of the importance
of risk as well as returns, including risk to reputation. Social,
cultural, demographic and technological changes mean that social
and environmental risks are now more significant than in the
past and more volatile.
- Growing awareness of the importance
of corporate responsibility is a global trend, with significant
developments in many markets, including Australia, South Africa
and the US. The European Union has taken a close interest and
created a Forum to advise on necessary action.
- Three important trends are beginning
to make it easier for investors to address these issues:
- attention to corporate responsibility
has spread from a relatively small group of highly-exposed
companies through the business world
- it has begun to penetrate
into the core of businesses rather than being concerned
with relatively peripheral issues
- companies have begun to identify
issues which are specific to themselves and their sectors
- An emerging set of standards is
beginning to build a general approach to reporting on corporate
responsibility, but specific impacts are likely to be most important
for investors. These will be addressed in the UK in a new Operating
and Financial Review (OFR).
- UK pension funds have been encouraged
to address social, ethical and environmental (SEE) issues since
the amendment to the Pensions Act came into force in 2000, but
have been slow to translate statements of principle into specific
mandates for investment managers.
- A confluence of corporate governance
and socially responsible investing (SRI) has stimulated activity
in financial markets. As well as developing analytical skills,
investment managers are also collaborating in specific areas,
notably climate change.
- Research has shown that incorporating
social responsibility can reduce portfolio volatility and increase
returns. The evidence is not conclusive, but rejects the view
that screening will damage the risk/return performance by narrowing
the available investment universe.
- SRI is seen increasingly as an
investment style, but one which can add value to other styles
such as value or growth.
- Most SRI activity "engages" with
companies on their corporate responsibility, rather than screening
for companies which meet or fail specific criteria. Evidence
suggests that this kind of approach, which integrates analysis
of social and financial performance, can yield the best results
for equity portfolios.
- These results also apply to bonds
and credit ratings.
- So far as underlying corporate
performance is concerned, risk aspects of corporate responsibility
are as important as bottom line impacts. Companies need to incorporate
these matters into strategic risk management, because they can
have important implications for drivers such as brand value,
market acceptability, human capital and new fields such as biotechnology
- Many companies are not yet managing
these systemic risks adequately, posing threats to shareholder
value which investors need to take into account.
- Many studies have found direct
financial benefits for companies embracing corporate responsibility.
Although the evidence is not conclusive, it strongly suggests
benefits in areas such as corporate reputation, consumer acceptance,
employee loyalty and environmental management.
- The benefits are not uniform across
all companies or sectors, which makes it more important for
investors and financial analysts to understand which companies
are most affected and which are most effective at managing corporate
You can download the full report
as a *.pdf :
CoreRatings’ weightings of the four risk
for the Future on Risk
May 3-5, 2006
Corporate Governance & Political and Economical
Good governance continues to gain prominence in public debate
but it is not clear how this can be provided on a global scale
or what institutions are necessary for it to emerge. Global companies
balance risks that are economical &
political, research-based, market-oriented, organizational and
technical. What does this mean for the board of directors
- in terms of board composition, the duties of its members, their
level of commitment and remuneration? And in terms of capacity
for ongoing self-transformation? What does this mean for the sustainable
creation of value - for the company, its stakeholders, clients
and society at large?
The keynote speakers are
Gutmann, Chairman, Praxis International, Advisers in
They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
Pierre Delsaux, acting Director,
DG Internal Market, EU Commission, Free movement of Capital, Company
Law and Corporate Governance
Elisabet Sahtouris, Evolution
Biologist, Futurist, Living Systems Design
The Biology of Business: Key to a Sustainable
Jaap Winter, Partner, De Brauw
The power of uncertainty: non-mandatory
corporate governance rules
And the catalysts: Neville Hobson,
Accredited Communication Practitioner, ABC [Trend Watcher], Geoffrey
Klempner, Philosophy for Business [Philosopher] and
Clare Huffington, Director,
Tavistock Consultancy Service [Psychologist]
Moderated by Erika Stern,
Utrecht School of Governance
of Amsterdam blog
of Amsterdam blog
now wit! Whither wander you?
The Future of Software Architecture
future of Futurist Tools
for the Future on Risk
about the future of Corporate Governance
The Doing Business database provides
objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement.
The Doing Business indicators are comparable across 155 economies.
They indicate the regulatory costs of business and can be used
to analyze specific regulations that enhance or constrain investment,
productivity and growth.
In late 2005, ACGA and CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets released "CG Watch
2005", our third joint annual survey of corporate governance in
Asia (and the sixth that CLSA has carried out). Titled "The Holy
Grail", the report assesses the quality of corporate governance
in 10 Asian markets and provides aggregate data from 496 listed
Major results include:
- Singapore remains in first place at 70%, but is now only fractionally
ahead of Hong Kong at 69%. Singapore’s score fell five percentage
points this year.
- India and Malaysia remain in third and fourth place, respectively,
at 61% and 56%.
- Taiwan’s ranking has moved up from sixth to fifth - at 52%.
- Korea has slipped below Taiwan and shares sixth place with Thailand
- at 50%. While the scores for both Korea and Thailand fell this
year, Korea’s score fell the most.
- The last three countries in the survey are, once again, the Philippines
(46%), China (44%) and Indonesia (37%). China continues to score
slightly lower than the Philippines on account of its generally
weaker body of CG laws and rules and, in particular, its accounting
and auditing standards. But we think that their relative rankings
will change over the next few years.
about the Future
Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
first genetically modified trees were produced in 1987, and by 1998
there had been at least 116 confirmed GM tree trials around the
world.28 Organisations such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth,
which have long expressed their fears about GMOs in agriculture,
have been joined in their campaigns against ‘Frankentrees’ by groups
like the Native Forest Network, which claims that ‘native forests
... are threatened worldwide by genetically engineered tree plantations.’
But are they?
There are a variety of reasons why biotechnologists
are attempting to develop genetically modified trees. Around a third
of a plant’s energy supply is used in reproduction, and researchers
hope that the introduction of sterility into transgenic - genetically
modified - trees might help to improve growth rates. Biotechnologists
are also looking for genes that code for the enzyme that breaks
down lignin. Up to a third of a tree’s dry weight is lignin, which
must be removed at considerable cost when pulpwood is turned into
paper. Plantations of low-lignin trees could help reduce pulping
costs. It is claimed that this would also be good for the environment,
as lignin removal is an environmentally hazardous process. The possibility
of inserting herbicide-resistant genes into trees is also attracting
considerable attention. There is the possibility, too, that genes
could be inserted into trees to endow them with resistance to insect
pests. This means that trees would manufacture their own insecticide,
which would be good both for the bottom line and for the environment."
to dominate future home entertainment spending
by Informa Telecoms & Media
New research shows that the world's households each spend an average
of $182.4 on home entertainment. This is set to rise to $225 by
2010, and means there will be an average increase of 4.7% for every
year since 2000.
Global average annual spend by home entertainment category ($)
Event: Wednesday, January 25, 16:30-19:15
future of Futurist Tools
how to improve your strategy and planning processes
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
De Entree 201, 1101 HG Amsterdam Zuidoost, [next to the football
Michael Jackson, Chairman, Shaping
Business Futures in a Digital Age
Patrick Crehan, CEO and Founder,
Crehan, Kusano & Associates, Director, Club of Amsterdam:
The Death of A Strategist
George Pór, Founder, CommunityIntelligence
The New Wave of Futuring: Co-Sensing –> Co-Presencing –> Co-Creating
and our Moderator Bert van Lamoen,
Dean, EBBS International Business School
slowLab is a not-for-profit
organization based in New York City and with activities worldwide.
The mission of the organization is to promote 'slowness' as a positive
catalyst of individual, socio-cultural and environmental well-being,
engaging the innate creative capacities of individuals and leveraging
the collaborative potential of communities to spur networks of cooperation
that incite new thinking and approaches.
To achieve this, slowLab has initiated and is growing a network
of creative, civic-minded individuals from all areas the general
public to exchange ideas and resources, share knowledge and cooperatively
develop projects that positively impact the lives of individuals,
the communities they participate in and the planet that we share.
projects recommended by slowLab:
Architecture of Subtraction
was the thesis of architect Karmen Franinovic at Interaction Design
Institute Ivrea. Franinovic developed a collection of projects
to explore ways that technologically-enhanced interaction between
humans and environment can impact our perception of place and
social interaction in cities, with the goal of engendering "experiences
of subtraction" in the midst of the fast-moving urban flow.
The Recycled Soundscape project (shown at left) was designed as
a system through which to explore the auditory aspects of experience
in the city, while offering relief through sound and relational
design. The project, subtitled 'Sonic Relaxation and Play in the
City,' consists of 'a set of kinetic, human-scale interfaces'
which seek to facilitate reflective activity in the public sphere.
Engaged in diversions and concentrations of attention within the
sonic context of a specific location, people are invited to augment,
modify and perform acoustic landscapes by playing with surrounding
sounds, tuning the composition of a sonic environment, and listening
to/recording noises (human, natural, machine, electronic) that
are otherwise difficult to take notice of. The result is 'an interactive
system for public orchestration of an urban sound ecology' where
anyone can transform the existing sonic characteristics of a place
over time, recomposing its 'evolving memory in sound'.
The result of a 2-day slow design charrette at the Cranbrook Academy
of Art, 3D graduate students Mark Moskovitz, Jada Schumacher and
Fei Zha worked together to create Slow
Water, an exploration of slow design at the dinner
The students examined the perceived value of water to humanity
and how in cultures that have a surplus, there is often an instant
gratification and lack of thought given to water consumption.
They created a product that allowed for a build-up in anticipation
rather than a sense of entitlement as it relates to drinking water.
This table water system delivers water at a speed determined by
the liveliness and activity at the table itself. When conversation
and movement flow, so does the water, as the vibrations are translated
from the table to the "fountain."
The project presents a new program for the 'on/off' switch while
also enabling, through its sculptural form, a pause for contemplation
of one of the most vital elements in life.
The exquisitely slow dj project Scratch'nSniff
"mixes and bakes" ambient soundscapes, while at the same time
mixing and baking delicious cookies for the people who come to
Scratch 'n Sniff is two women: Serena Jost of Switzerland and
German native Cassis Birgit Staudt, both now living in New York.
Unlike most dj's, these two have the utmost respect for the source
of intellectual property -a noble model for the dj crowd and for
the digital realm in general!
The dj duo fosters relationships with a small group of innovative
composers and solely combines their source material with public
domain sounds from nature, the city, or real-time sonic material
in the immediate vicinity of their set. The result is a lovely
ambient mix that, along with the smell of fresh-baked cookies,
creates an inviting atmosphere of comfort and slow-ness.
for the Future blog
for the Future blog
Leadership in Trade and Associated Risks
Strategic Leadership: Achieving Your Preferred
The Human Adventure
for the Future on Risk
Art of the Long View: Planning for the Future in an Uncertain World
by Peter Schwartz
"Artful scenario spinning is a form of convergent thinking about
divergent futures. It ensures that you are not always right about
the future but-better-that you are almost never wrong about the
future. The technology is powerful, simple, and enjoyable, and so
is Schwartz's book." -Stewart Brand What increasingly affects all
of us, whether professional planners or individuals preparing for
a better future, is not the tangibles of life-bottom-line numbers,
for instance-but the intangibles: our hopes and fears, our beliefs
and dreams. Only stories-scenarios-and our ability to visualize
different kinds of futures adequately capture these intangibles.
In The Art of the Long View, now for the first time in paperback
and with the addition of an all-new User's Guide, Peter Schwartz
outlines the "scenaric" approach, giving you the tools for developing
a strategic vision within your business. Schwartz describes the
new techniques, originally developed within Royal/Dutch Shell, based
on many of his firsthand scenario exercises with the world's leading
institutions and companies, including the White House, EPA, BellSouth,
PG&E, and the International Stock Exchange.
face of knowledge transfer
Future face of knowledge transfer
Source: ProTon Europe
Achieving the EU’s Lisbon goals
of becoming the world’s knowledge powerhouse means, among other
things, being able to transfer know-how from its birthplace in Europe’s
labs and universities to where it can be put to good use in industry.
Knowledge transfer offices (KTO) have traditionally served this
purpose well, but as delegates at a recent conference learned, universities
are looking at faster, more pervasive ways to deliver their ‘knowledge’
product to market.
Nicolaus Copernicus, Johannes Kepler, Isaac Newton, Marie Curie
and in more recent times the internet Godfather Tim Berners-Lee
are names synonymous with scientific greatness. European inventions
put steam into the industrial revolution and drive some of the core
systems in the 21st century’s own industrial revolution – the telecommunications
boom. While displaying guts and determination in the laboratory,
Europeans’ stomach for entrepreneurship and innovation – converting
research to products and services – is not as strong as their counterparts
in the USA and some other knowledge-creating regions of the world.
Why is this so? Delegates at the ProTon Europe 3rd Annual Conference
in Berlin last month heard from a range of experts that Europe has
reason to be optimistic, but also a little pessimistic about its
innovation system’s performance as global competition for finance
‘hots up’. Entrepreneurs especially bemoan the funding gap – unflatteringly
called “Death Valley” – they face in the early stages of growing
a tech-based company in Europe. Venture capitalists who might fill
this gap site the poor and sometimes negative returns on such investments
as reason to steer clear of riskier start-ups.
Knowledge transfer specialists, working in universities, incubators
and tech centres, speak of the difficulty in switching researchers’
mindsets from ‘investigator’ to ‘entrepreneur’ mode – learning how
to develop the business end of the innovation and to handle the
intellectual property (IP) aspects, in particular.
Metal to gold
According to ProTon Europe, knowledge transfer in Europe increasingly
requires a means of integrating intellectual property management
into the scientific and business skills mix. Delegates at the Berlin
event learned of the importance of introducing senior management
into start-ups at the right time to help them tune their business
and investment plan in line with technological development plans.
In the past decade or so, knowledge transfer offices have sprung
up across Europe to provide university spin-offs with a range of
services, from basic financial and IP advice through to full-service
incubation and mentoring to budding entrepreneurs. But the idea
of a physical ‘office’ where a bright young chemist would pitch
her method for converting base metal to gold is not, it appears,
how Europe will become the world’s knowledge fortress.
John Latham who heads Coventry University Enterprise (CUE) told
delegates that Coventry University (UK) has turned the KTO concept
on its head. It set up a KTO because it was what universities were
doing a decade ago. But times are a changing, he suggested.
“Now, it’s not somewhere people go,” he said, “but something more
pervasive.” Knowledge transfer in Coventry is now a function of
the way people think. Taking the MIT model in the USA, which uses
industry liaison people to scout and develop ideas, as inspiration,
CUE is proactive in seeking out new opportunities to develop the
university’s know-how. And the approach has proven very successful.
Although wholly owned by the university, CUE is an economic player
in its own right, with around €15 million per annum turnover and
a staff of 125 and growing.
Latham said knowledge transfers needs to be built into the core
curriculum, with professors encouraged to act as external consultants
and not bound by internal red tape. This boosts their real-world
skills as well as the university’s credentials and reach in the
KTOs of the future, he opined, should be pervasive not cordoned
off in a musty room – and they must be underpinned by an “ours not
mine” attitude. They should have authority to act, be given appropriate
targets and be prepared to engage with the community. And if seen
as an “investment not a cost”, the returns to the university – and,
indeed, the KTO itself – should be sustainable, he suggested.
The Eden Project
What's Eden all about?
'To promote the understanding and responsible management of the vital
relationship between plants, people and resources leading to a sustainable
future for all'.
The Eden Project was established as one of the landmark Millennium
projects in the UK to mark the year 2000 and is structured as an educational
“The Trust’s interests lie in explaining how the natural world works
seen through the lens of plants, exploring how people might best organise
themselves in the face of this knowledge and thereby reach an understanding
of what sustainability might mean and, through best practice of these
principles, create an organisation that is sustainable to act as a
model for others.” (Tim Smit, CEO).
The Eden Project communicates its story in a ‘Living Theatre of Plants
and People’ based in a large crater in which nestle two vast greenhouses
(Biomes). These house plants, crops and landscapes from the humid
tropics and warm temperate regions and act as a backdrop to the temperate
landscape, which we call the Outdoor Biome. Eden uses exhibitions,
art, storytelling, workshops, lectures and events to put messages
across to both the public and formal education groups. The underlying
concept presents to the widest possible public audience the need for
environmental care through a celebration of what nature gives to us.
Eden is demonstrating behaviour change on site, holding a mirror to
our values and civilisation and encouraging respect for the things
that sustain us.
The Eden Trust is the registered charity that owns the Eden Project.
Money raised by the project is used to further its charitable aims.
As a registered charitable trust we qualify for Gift Aid, where the
government gives us 28p for every pound donated to us.
Eden is not for sale, it belongs to everyone. The Trust is unique
in that it has deliberately set out to operate in the commercial arena.
This is because we believe that only by demonstrating that ethical
commerce is viable that we can affect real change in the global businesses
that we would like to influence. We started locally with more than
200 suppliers and in our first year of trading put around £150 million
of additional revenue into the local economy and have laid the foundations
for concerted strategic action among our suppliers to deliver social
and environmental benefits such as Waste Neutral.
of Amsterdam Agenda
Season Events are Wednesdays 16:30!
16:30-17:45 Part I: Presentations
17:45-18:15 Break: Drinks
18:15-19:15 Part II: Discussion
of Amsterdam Season Events 2005/2006
the future of
- participatory democracy
Management - Reputation is
a new currency
- Ethics in Journalism
of Amsterdam Open Business Club
of Amsterdam Open Business Club
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