Winds-of-Change Blowing Through Industry: The Fourth Industrial Revolution & The 21st Century Company in Focus…

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Winds-of-Change Blowing Through Industry: The Fourth Industrial Revolution & The 21st Century Company in Focus…

SustainabilityHQ Highlights (04.12.2016)
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SustainabilityHQ Highlights (04.12.2016)
Thursday, April 14, 2016 - 10:00am

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us, writes Tim Nixon, managing editor at Greenbiz.  He sees the important characteristics of the revolution including greater overall transparency and much more information made available in business and other walks of life; and, disruptive technology accelerating to send ripples of change throughout society.  Imagine disruption on steroids.  The major players in the revolution are investors, customers and regulators. 

Customers, making conscious decisions about their purchases considering the providers’ sustainability performance (especially in B-to-B)…an “impact economy,” with companies finding ways to grow without harming the environment or society.  Investors, increasingly seeking less carbon-intensive, more environmentally- & society-friendly opportunities for their portfolios. Regulators, developing new frameworks around carbon and diversity and other factors.  (Editor Nixon provides examples of each.)

What wonders are ahead for us in a Fourth Industrial Revolution?  We think back to the 1760s, when the brilliant Scotsman James Watt tinkered with steam condensation, hooking up a friend’s brass syringe to a tin can.   From this basic experimentation would come the mighty steam engine, powering railroads, electric generation, giant industrial factories, and more.  Andrew Carnegie, the 19th Century steel and railroad magnate, in 1905 described this humble beginnings of a dramatic breakthrough as “…from such an acorn a mighty oak was to grow…”  That metaphorical oak tree was the Industrial Revolution, with manufacturing put on steroids worldwide (no longer were goods to be made by individual artisans in rural cottages).

And so to the Fourth revolution:  Will we look back at some point and say, “at the heart of this was the intense focus on sustainability, and the society moving toward the low –carbon economy, new forms of power and energy, the embrace of new values that underpinned the breakthroughs that made us a better society (ideologically and spiritually)?”   Read our Top Story to learn more about Tim Nixon’s perspectives -- and let us know what you think!

Speaking of the future and dramatic changes taking place, G&A Institute and Skytop Strategies have teamed to present experts’ views at an upcoming conference -- “The 21st Century Company – How It Creates Value and for Whom?”  G&A’s Hank Boerner and Louis Coppola are co-chairs.  One of our sessions is “The Changing Relationship Between Corporations and Society:  The Definition of Good Corporate Citizen Reconsidered (in the 21st Century); another is “The Millennial Revolution:  Leveraging Public Companies as Instruments of Social Change.”

This is just a sample of some of the articles from this weeks SustainabilityHQ Highlights. You can view the full Highlights by using the following links. Sustainability | ESG, Highlights for the Week of April 12, 2016

Keywords: Media & Communications | Corporate Social Responsibility | G&A Institute | GRI | Governance & Accountability Institute | SWF | Sovereign Wealth Funds | SustainabilityHQ | business & trade | csr | environmental