The 18th World Productivity Congress has just closed. It was a remarkable success – in terms of both its technical content and the quality of discussion surrounding the programme. The WCPS wishes to thank JAFCON, the local host organiser, for making the Congress such a success. Further details, including the Congress Declaration, are in the Congress archive.
The Board of WCPS met in Bahrain to discuss the forthcoming World Productivity Congress to be hold in Bahrain in November 2106 (from 26th – 30th). For details, click <HERE>
The theme for the XVIIth Congress held in Halifax, Nova Scotia from 19th – 21st October was Big Data for Productivity: Everything Changes. The Congress was held in partnership with the Big Data Congress and was a big success – importantly establishing the productivity impact of Big Data … but recognising the context in which Big Data needs to be viewed and analysed if that impact is to be maximised. A brief report on the Congress, together with the Congress Declaration is available in the Congress Archive.
WCPS has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with JAFCON Ltd of Bahrain to host a World Productivity Congress in Bahrain in 2015. The picture shows John Heap, President of WCPS signing the agreement with Mr Ebrahim Radhi, representing JAFCON,
The Board of WCPS met in New York to finalise plans for the forthcoming World Productivity congress in Halifax, Nova Scotia and to consider a proposal to hold the next Congress in Bahrain in 2016. This proposal was approved and the Board looks forward to taking the Congress to the middle East for the first time.
One of the long-standing friends of WCPS – Georg Kell – has sent us this letter. We thank Georg for his friendship and reassure him that WCPS remains committed to the ideals of the Global Compact. George Smith – who remains our principal point of contact with the UN – in particular wanted to thank Georg for all his work and for explaining complex issues patiently and effectively to so many people, who, as a result, became involved and active within the Global compact.
Dear Dr. Smith,
Later this year I will step down as Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact. I wish to take this opportunity to thank you for the trust, time and effort you have extended to the Global Compact over the years.
After 15 years of growth and innovation, I look back with pride and ahead with confidence. What was intended as a policy speech by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan has grown into the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, with over 12,000 business and non-business signatories from more than 160 countries. Our philosophy of “shared responsibility for a better world” turned out to be not just a sensible proposal to business, but one that works. We have proven that when you engage business and all key players on issues of common importance, progress can be made.
I have no doubt that the Global Compact will continue to flourish as an initiative, and increasingly help you as a participant to better navigate today’s risks and opportunities, while at the same time producing greater social and environmental benefits. The Global Compact today has a solid foundation. It is welcomed by all Governments. Our unique public-private structure ensures that the best of both sides can be leveraged and that our voluntary character will be retained. Of course, your commitment to action and your financial support will continue to make this all possible.
In 2014 a number of developments stood out.
First, the business case is strong. What we have been preaching for 15 years is becoming mainstream thinking. Investors everywhere are finally realizing what enlightened business leaders have long known: financial success goes hand-in-hand with environmental stewardship, social responsibility and good governance (ESG). Our sister initiatives – the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) and Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) – are now powerful drivers for corporate uptake of responsible practices. For example, PRI now includes 1,200 investment institutions representing over US$45 trillion in assets under management. Each has committed to take their fiduciary responsibility seriously by integrating ESG issues into analysis and decision-making.
Second, our Local Networks have significantly stepped up their activities in all parts of the world, including Africa. Our 86 Local Networks are helping companies to fulfil their commitment to the Global Compact and to better understand what responsible business means within a national context. In the past year alone, over 600 activities were carried out through the networks – related to learning, networking, policy dialogue and partnerships.
Third, we have seen increased activity by business and other stakeholders in our issue platforms and programmes, allowing you to collaborate more and scale up good practices. Notable progress has been made in areas such as human rights, climate change, women’s empowerment, supply chain sustainability, anti-corruption, water stewardship and children’s rights. Our newly launched platforms on peace, food and agriculture, and rule of law have seen remarkable uptake. And our leadership initiative, Global Compact LEAD, is breaking new ground – for example, producing innovative approaches like the Board Programme and better connecting responsible business to the world of finance through ESG Investor Briefings.
Demand for corporate sustainability is bound to keep growing. It increasingly is viewed as essential for long-term corporate success. And at the same time, our world’s challenges – ranging from climate, water and food crises, to poverty, conflict and inequality – are in need of solutions that the private sector can deliver.
Looking at the world around us, we have every reason to redouble our efforts. The framework conditions that enable markets to grow are eroding at the global level, with multilateralism on the retreat. Nationalism, populism and extremism are on the rise in many places, and so is violence and corruption. With power fragmenting and wealth concentrating, the spectrum of discontinuities has significantly increased. These social and political trends are only compounded by climate change consequences.
These dark clouds directly affect the ability of business to grow and prosper, and I believe that alarm bells should be going off in board rooms around the world. We are facing a serious threat to the foundation of global interdependence, open trade and rules-based commerce that, in recent decades, has driven growth and spread benefits and efficiency on a scale never seen before in human history.
The good news is that 2015 presents a unique opportunity to change course, as world leaders aim to adopt a new global sustainable development agenda – with related goals and targets, known as the SDGs – and also reach a global agreement on climate change.
This cannot be done without your help.
Internationalism is too important and complex to rest only in the hands of politicians. Moving forward, corporate leaders must be more cognizant of their pivotal role in the global marketplace – showing the power of responsible business to restore trust and help build markets that deliver a more sustainable future. This is our best hope to drive the profound changes the world needs.
Your commitment to the Global Compact is a critical step, and a sign to Governments and the world that business wants to be part of the solution. I therefore ask you to:
- Live the Global Compact principles. Drive good practices deeper into your organization and your supply chains, and then report your progress. This means, for example, embracing low-carbon solutions, celebrating diversity at the workplace, shining through transparency, and paying your fair share of taxes. Your ethical example will not just benefit workers and communities, but also come back to the advantage of the corporation broadly.
- Collaborate more. On systemic challenges, like corruption, climate or discrimination, look beyond first-mover approaches. Embrace partnerships and collective action efforts with peers and other stakeholders that pool resources, share risks and aim to find solutions faster. You can find opportunities through our Local Networks, our numerous issue initiatives, and our Business Partnership Hub.
- Become a corporate statesman. Speak up on issues of public concern and help shape policies that support solutions. This means aligning your public policy engagement with sustainability principles. When working through trade associations, urge them to leave behind old ideologies and embrace the future, moving from a defensive stance to one defined by proactive, pragmatic leadership.
- Be an ambassador for change. Too many companies are sitting on the fence or cutting corners. We need to win them over. The Global Compact can only deliver on its mission if a critical mass of companies is embracing universal principles. A tipping point is within sight, but we are not yet there. I ask you to help by recruiting peers and competitors through your supply chains and your associations.
More information on each of these areas can be found in our newly released Guide to Corporate Sustainability which lays out how business can move forward on sustainability and what the Global Compact is doing to help.
This year the Global Compact marks its 15th anniversary. We have come a long way from our launch in 2000 when 40 companies and civil society groups came to the United Nations, willing to test the idea that doing good business would be good for both business and the world. Today we are a truly global movement. And, while there is much work still to be done to achieve inclusive and sustainable markets, I am proud to say that the Global Compact’s blueprint for change has been tested and works.
In my time as Executive Director I have met so many wonderful entrepreneurs around the world, and want to thank you all for your courage and dedication. The Global Compact at its core is about knowing what is “right” and what is “wrong”. Our initiative stands strong thanks to your personal commitment.
I wish you every success for 2015 and beyond.
|Georg KellExecutive Director
UN Global Compact
We are very sorry to have to report the death of Edmund Sung, a long-time friend of WCPS, at the young age of 58. Edmund served as the local host organisation (Hong Kong Productivity Centre) program manager for our World Congress held in Hong Kong and Beijing in 2001 and worked tirelessly to make the event a success. Apart form his work on the Congress, Edmund contributed a great deal to the productivity movement in Hong Kong. His work and his personality will be missed by many. WCPS sends out condolences to his family and friends – but above all sends thanks for Edmund’s effort and enthusiasm in support of productivity development.
John Heap, President of WCPS, gave a presentation on “The Impact of Psychosocial Factors on Productivity” at a European seminar in Vicenza, Italy hosted by the Centro Produttivita Veneto. September 2014. The seminar was chaired by Anil Yilmaz, from Turkey, a member of the Board of WCPS.
John made the point that there is very little peer-reviewed research that establishes any direct causal relationship between the way in which an organisation addresses the psychosocial well-being of its workforce and the performance of the organisation. John went on to to identify the (positive) performance impact of pyschosocial factors – but based on his personal experience rather than on firm ‘evidence’.
A silver jubilee celebration was held for WAPS (World Academy of Productivity Science) in New Delhi, India. The Chief Guest was Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, Honourableble Minister of Steel, Mines, Labour and Employment and the Guest of honour was Shri S. K. Srivastava, IAS, Secretary to the Govt. of India, Ministry of Coal. A special souvenir issue of the WAPS newsletter was issued to mark the occasion.
John Heap, President of WCPS, was in Mauritius as advisor to the National Productivity & Competitiveness Council. On this visit he has been involved in a number of projects involving support for SMEs – including one supporting small, women-only cooperatives.
While there John gave a keynote presentation at a Board meeting of PAPA – the Pan-African Productivity Association. (See John’s blog for further information).
John also attended a workshop with Robert Kaplan – of Balanced Scorecard Fame – and was pleased to see a ‘meeting of minds’ on the strategic value of measurement. The Balanced Scorecard has evolved over time into a strategy support device, helping organisations plan, execute, monitor and evaluate strategic options. The WCPS thinking around measurement of SEE (Social, Environmental & Economic) productivity performs the same function.
John Heap, President of WCPS, was the moderator for a session on the theme of Innovation, Productivity, Excellence and Sustainability at the European Management Conference in Athens in April 2014.
John Heap, President of WCPS, gave the keynote presentation at Avant Garde 2014, a global conference on paradigm shifts in management and education, in Bangalore, India on March 19th. John’s presentation was entitled “What’s Wrong with the Paradigm We’ve Got”.
4th National Productivity Congress in Turkey
The 4th National Productivity Congress organized and hosted by the Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology, was held on December 10-12, 2013 in Ankara. Universities, public institutions and organizations, professional associations, nongovernmental organizations and representatives of the business world participated in the Congress. This major productivity event which was opened by an address from the Minister of Science, Industry and Technology lasted for three days and involved an ‘Undersecretaries Session’, an Academicians’ Panel on ‘The Role of Productivity in Overcoming The Middle-Income Trap’, 24 invited papers in 8 sessions and 57 refereed papers in an additional 16 sessions.
Throughout the Congress, all aspects of productivity were discussed concerning industrial labour, capital, technology, occupational safety and health and cleaner production. Productivity improvement methods and cases of good practise were presented, current productivity policies and strategies were discussed and recommendations were developed during the sessions. Invited papers were presented in the thematically organised sessions such as; “Macro Level Environmental Productivity Indicators”; “Current Situation of Sustainable Development in Turkey”; “Good Practices in Cleaner Production”, “Relationship of R&D, Innovation and Productivity”, “Relation Between Occupational Health and Safety and Productivity”, “Productivity in Public Institutions”, “Good Practices of Industry and University Cooperation in Productivity and R&D Implementations” and “Productivity and Sustainability in Agriculture and Food Sector”. Besides the invited papers, many refereed papers were presented within 16 sessions some of which can be listed as follows; “Productivity Promotion Implementations”, “Productivity and Economic Development”, “Productivity in the Finance Sector” etc.
The next national productivity congress is planned to be organised in 2015.
It is with deep regret that we have to tell you that we have been informed of the death of Brita Borge, a past officer of WCPS. Brita did peacefully at her home in Norway back in November 2013. Our thoughts are with her family and friends. I will always value her contribution to our work and in particular the way in which she mentored and guided me in my early days with WCPS.
John Heap, President WCPS
Tor Dahl, a former president of WCPS, offers this brief assessment of Brita and her contribution…
It is rare for a Finlander to rise to the highest offices of a land not her own. Her influence was at times startling. She was the source behind giving the Norwegian Productivity Center a new lease on life from her important and watchful role in the Norwegian Parliament. That made the Oslo World Productivity Congress possible. At that Congress she proudly shared the results of the yearlong national productivity improvement project that she helped fund, led by Martin T. Tveit, where each dollar spent by the campaign increased the Norwegian GDP by 750 dollars above trend. After her long and distinguished political career she moved into an office provided for her at the Norwegian University School of Economics and Business Administration in Bergen, where I visited her often to brief her, and be briefed by Brita on her own amazing work on behalf of the WCPS in Norway and in many other countries.
From that office The Honorable Brita Borge led the Norwegian Chapter of the WCPS. Each year she, and her distinguished national council agreed on an exemplary company, or organization, that had earned the coveted Productivity Prize that she instigated. This annual event became a highlight for the WCPS Norway Chapter, and for productivity efforts in Norway in general, that gained momentum and encouragement from Brita’s good work.
Brita proudly wore her membership designation of the WCPS International Council on her business card. She became a spokesperson for productivity issues in Norway and other countries. She was unfailingly optimistic, courageous, fearless, and kind, and I never thought I had praised her enough, or honored her enough during the time I was President or Chairman of the WCPS. The WCPS was lucky to have had a distinguished member of the Norwegian Parliament dedicate her life and times to the causes of the WCPS, and subsequently also the WAPS. Just her experience with heads of states, the business community, (she also traveled the globe as Chief of Exports in the family firm which provided exquisite leathers to the world’s leading manufacturers of fashionable bags, purses, and shoes), the NGOs, and her extraordinary network was tremendous asset for those of us who had the privilege of working with her.
Brita also served as a Norwegian Representative at the UN General Assembly. In the early nineties, I had been asked to interview a United Nations High Commissioner in New York, and I asked Brita to help me set up a meeting with this “World Class High Performer” that had been selected for a large study. As expected, he was Brita’s good friend, she found a three hour opening in his busy schedule, and I finished an extraordinary interview on time. He was Martti Ahtisaari. Not long thereafter he was elected President of Finland. And in 2008 we was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Thank you, Brita!
Brita’s resume is very long, and very impressive. She was a delegate to the Nordic Council. She graduated from the University of Helsingfors with a degree in Science, and added statistics and quality control for good measure. She spoke any number of languages—at least 5 of them fluently. She served on the Norwegian Science Research Council. She was on the Boards of numerous corporations and NGOs. She chaired the Norwegian Association of Producers of Hides and Leathers. She chaired a number of committees and associations of the Conservative Party in Norway. But always you would find her relationships with our own organizations listed with dates and time of service on her current resume: Founding Fellow and Board Member of the World Academy of Productivity Science, Director of National Chapter Development for WCPS, Coordinator for WAPS Norway, Director of WCPS Norway, and her faithful attendance at World Productivity Congresses, and other WCPS/WAPS events.
For those who had the privilege to visit Brita at her spectacular home on the island of Osterøy, near Bergen, it would be a memory for life. It was a large, monumental structure in timber and stone, located on a quiet lake and surrounded by fragrant trees. A steep and winding road would take you to her home on the top of a hill with a view that would take your breath away. Her husband would have picked you up at the ferry in a car once owned by the King of Norway. And inside you would see the furniture and art from a much earlier age, the food will be the best Norway could offer, and the conversation would always turn to the work that needed to be done to realize peace and prosperity through productivity.
Rest in peace, dear Brita. We shall not forget you. We honor your contribution and your inspiring life. It has been said that the most important task we do in this earth is to walk each other home. Thank you for showing us the way.