Executive Network Business

Sustainable Sustainability | Why ESG is not enough

The cry for a more inclusive form of capitalism is growing. But the irony is we are using the same tools that caused the excesses of shareholder capitalism—incentives and regulations—to drive responsible behaviour. Eighteenth-century economist Adam Smith propagated profit maximisation as the incentive for businesses to create goods and services that society needs. He argued that free-market competition would ensure consumers get the best quality product at the cheapest price.

Two hundred years later, Milton Friedman agreed in his seminal 1970 New York Times op-ed that the sole responsibility of business is to maximise profits ‘so long as it stays within the rules of the game’. Incentives coupled with some regulations were to henceforth safeguard societal interests.

Instead, incentives created bad behaviour. Regulations were routinely bypassed with intelligent loopholes. Despite this—to encourage sustainability today—we are again using incentives and regulations. That’s predominantly what the ESG framework focuses on. And what do we see? Rampant greenwashing and box-ticking. To address today’s existential challenges, we need innovation of the highest order. Innovation can neither be legislated nor driven by extrinsic incentives alone. We need a valuesdriven revolution.

We invite you to join our keynote speaker, Rajeev Peshawaria, CEO of Stewardship Asia Centre, as he expounds on what will it take for organisations to achieve “Sustainable Sustainability,” which is also the title of his new book published by Penguin Random House.

Date

Wednesday, 10th July, 2024

Time

4.30 pm – 6.30pm

Location

The Sentry, Sonatus Building, 15 Le Thanh Ton Street, Ben Nghe Ward, D1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Price

Members: Free of charge | Non – members: 350,000 VND

Refreshments will be included

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Tim Burrill
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