A new report from leading voices in sustainability in the UK has found that bravery and a willingness to reject the status quo are vital if businesses are to respond in a meaningful way to the combined pressures of the global pandemic and the climate emergency.
By Janek Seevaratnum, Charities Aid FoundationIn July 2020, Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) and Forster Communications launched a collaborative report, “Bold thinking, brave action”, in which we interviewed 11 leading sustainable business figures from a host of organisations – from B Corps and corporate foundations through to major household brands and multinational companies.
This blog aims to provide a flavour of the report, highlighting some key quotes from our contributors; and to stress how crucial bravery is in tackling the world’s most pressing societal and environmental issues.
Early last year, the dial seemed to be shifting around how sustainability was being talked about. Efforts that took place in civil society, such as those of Extinction Rebellion and #Fridaysforfuture, began to shape conversations in the boardroom. I heard the CEO of Danone say in a keynote speech that brands must “be bold or die”.
The partnership between CAF and Forster began with a roundtable event for sustainability leaders from a range of industries to inspire action and greater collaboration within and beyond their organisations. During this discussion the notion of bravery was centrefold, which inspired us to explore what corporate bravery is and why it’s so crucial today.
What makes someone brave?
Thanks to the openness of our contributors, our research interviews unlocked a wealth of insights and rare pieces of advice. The breadth of expertise and diversity of experience showed us that bravery has many faces, but also enabled us to build a holistic picture of what it means.
We learned that all brave leaders share a set of common attributes: conviction, humility, imagination, integrity and passion. These attributes are then lived out through a group of five key behaviours, all of which have the end goal of challenging the status quo.
For me, the most engaging part of the report is the set of five composite characters we devised to help people reflect on what type of brave they need to be.