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12 responsible business management issues for 2012

The team at Ethical Corporation spend at least a third of their time on research into what companies are doing, and thinking, in the field of sustainable business.

Luckily, I get to spend about half my time on this.

It’s a lot of what my job entails: Work out what’s happening, try and turn it into conference or report products and fodder for this blog and the magazine.

Right now, amongst other research projects, we’re looking into the big management issues that company executives want to talk about at 2012’s Responsible Business Summit.

That’s our behemoth of a conference that takes place each year in May in London.

In 2012 it will be held on May 8-9 at the Novotel Hammersmith, a fantastic venue for debate and discussion.

Here are some of the issues we are looking at having CEOs speak about, or managers discuss, at next year’s conference.

I’d value your views on what’s missing, or appropriate from our list.

(Update: 12/10/11: Please note this is not a ranking, just a list, it could easily be in a different order)

  1. B2B Collaboration: How are leading companies working together, and when do they compete?
  2. Supply Chain Resilience: How can big companies help suppliers run safer, sustainable, smarter businesses?
  3. Collaborations with unexpected partners: skills to build and sustain with NGOs and Institutions
  4. UK Responsibility Deals – What’s the latest, do they work, is there an impact? 
  5. Behaviour Change: Internal and Customer – How are large firms engaging with this idea? 
  6. Stakeholder engagement to embed CR: Employees, Managers, NGOs and Media
  7. Emerging markets: Which are the companies set to manage sustainability best in the next five years?
  8. Global Compact / WBCSD / CSR Europe / IBLF / BITC: What is the distinctive role of the business led CR coalitions in the next decade? 
  9. China and the Party perspective: what frameworks will they set? 
  10. The role of boards: How do they exercise oversight? What skills do you need to have for and in your board? 
  11. What will the EU Commission‘s latest Communication on CSR mean for business transparency? 
  12. Engaging busy middle managers on a regular basis, how to track and incentivise progress

There will be many more to add to the list, here’s last year’s agenda
Look forward, as always, to your comments on what else should be on the programme.


  1. I'd put 5/6 at 1/2!

  2. Thanks Gareth, it's not supposed to be a ranking, just a list. Best, Toby

  3. Might be kind of neat to rank them, or set up a poll and have readers vote which points they thought were the most important 🙂