By the same token, governments are recognizing the importance of healthy businesses for their respective societies. To ensure that health, they are shoring up the prospects of their commercial sectors. In January 2013, for example, the Chinese government launched an anticorruption campaign that led to the removal of 17 vice-ministers and the punishment of more than 180,000 company officials deemed corrupt throughout China. 35 Corporate support for long-term investments with- out obvious short-term payback is controversial and requires the highest levels of executive support. In some cases, it takes downright courage. Consider Apple CEO Tim Cook. In February 2014, after representatives from the National Center for Public Policy Research demanded that Apple dis- close all of its activities around energy and sustainability and refrain from doing anything that doesn’t add directly to its bottom line, Cook’s re- sponse made the news. “When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind, I don’t consider the bloody ROI,” he said. “[Apple does] a lot of things for reasons besides profit motive. We want to leave the world better than we found it … If you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock.” 36 Bringing sustainability into the boardroom will offer guidance to senior managers as they grapple with the risks and opportunities that affect their futures. But more important, board support will ensure that the issues that matter most to organizations and their market environments are taken seriously with a long-term perspective. As Peter Solmssen, former counsel for Siemens, put it, “Sustainability is about survival. It means clean water and clean air, but it also means having an economic system that works for everyone. It means having re- sponsible citizens, both corporate and individual.” 37
JOINING FORCES • MIT SLOAN MANAGEMENT REVIEW 19 REFERENCES 1. Institute of Directors in Southern Africa. “The King Code of Governance for South Africa,” collection/94445006-4F18-4335-B7FB-7F5A8B23FB3F/ King_Code_of_Governance_for_SA_2009_Updated_ June_2012.pdf. 2. Jaeggi, O. “Human Rights: The Next Frontier.”http:// sloanreview.mit.edu/article/human-rights-the-next-frontier/. 3. “New UN program tasks corporate boards with heading sustainability efforts,” The Guardian, November 19, 2014, nov/19/united-nations-boards-directors-sustainability/. 4. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Na- tions. The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2014. http:// . 5. Macondo. Global Compact International Yearbook 2010. Munster: Macondo Publishing GmbH, 2010: 72. 6. Transformational collaborations were defined in the sur- vey as “changing rules and markets, i.e., engagement that changes the rules of the game.” 7. Survey respondents who characterized their collabora- tions as strategic or transformational “to a great extent” 8. Kiron, D., Kruschwitz, N., Haanaes, K., Reeves, M., Goh, E. “The Innovation Bottom Line: Findings from the 2012
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