[Davos, Switzerland] Investec Asset Management (IAM) announced today that CEO Hendrik du Toit joins a select group of international business, labour and civil society leaders as member of a new global commission to highlight the massive rewards to businesses who take a lead in poverty reduction and sustainable development.
Launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos today, The Global Commission on Business and Sustainable Development was established by Unilever CEO Paul Polman and former United Nations Deputy Secretary General Mark Malloch-Brown. The Commission will work over the next year to articulate and quantify the compelling economic case for businesses to engage in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including:
- Massive economic rewards – through new markets, investment opportunities and innovations – if the world tackles challenges including poverty, inequality and environmental stress
- Risks to business performance and stability, and increased fragmentation, resource competition and fragility, if the world fails to address these risks
- The necessity to work with governments, international organisations and civil society in order to build a future where businesses can perform – with inclusive, sustainable growth and widespread job creation
Commenting on his appointment, Du Toit said: “If 2015 were the year of Sustainable Development, 2016 is the year we ensure that the current bear market does not divert us from the sustainability challenges of the world.
“As stewards of long-term capital on behalf of this generation, we cannot ignore the welfare of future generations. In looking to a better tomorrow, how we marshall the power of institutionally-mobilised capital and its considerable capacity to evaluate investment opportunities to secure a sustainable future for humanity is a question for the industry to address as a whole. We need to come up with practical ways to finance and encourage the required shift.
“Today’s investors, and the financial industry as a whole, need to look ahead, even beyond today’s market prices and policies to the market prices and policies of the future.”
The Commission aims to test the proposition that businesses which join global efforts to end extreme poverty and protect the planet’s finite natural resources can reap great rewards and protect their long-term performance through conducting foundational research, and engage in fact-finding dialogue with a diverse cross-section of key stakeholders, including business leaders, investors, civil society representatives, social entrepreneurs and academic experts.
The initiative aims to explore current and future disruptive business models, understanding what they mean for sustainable development; and to map out new financing mechanisms the world will need to reach the SDGs. It will investigate changes in core business operations and behaviours that go far beyond traditional corporate social responsibility and voluntary partnerships.
The UN Foundation, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the Overseas Development Institute and The B Team are supporting the effort, to help mobilie the business community and the next generation of entrepreneurs, to support achievement of the global goals by 2030.
In addition to Du Toit and co-founders Malloch-Brown and Polman, members of the Commission include: Laura Alfaro, Professor, Harvard Business School, Peter Bakker, President, World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD); Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC); Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom; John Danilovich, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC); Hendrik du Toit, CEO, Investec Asset Management; John Fallon, CEO of Pearson PLC; Ken Frazier, CEO of Merck & Co.; Mo Ibrahim, Founder of Celtel and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation; Donald Kaberuka, President, African Development Bank; Sam Mostyn, President of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID); Roberto Oliveira de Lima, CEO of Natura; Dr. Amy Jadesimi, Managing Director and CEO of Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL); Lise Kingo, Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact; Arif Naqvi, Founder and Group Chief Executive of The Abraaj Group; Vineet Rai, Co-Founder and Chairman, Intellecap and Gavin Wilson, CEO of IFC Asset Management Company LLC.