Global business summit aims for the hearts and minds of innovative leaders

Innovative business leaders, CEOs, senior policy makers and NGOs from around the world will gather in Zermatt, Switzerland for the inauguralZermatt Summit scheduled to take place on 3 – 5 June 2010.

It is the first annual business summit of its kind – which will be dedicated to placing the spotlight on the ‘human face of globalisation’ in the current economic crisis. The turmoil in the global economy has left key decision-makers facing challenges on a myriad of fronts, which has implications for every stakeholder. Most of them acknowledge that the current economic models arenot working and that urgent action is required to change it. Many feel that placing a band-aid such as further regulation does not tackle the real root of the problem. Having witnessed thebiggest corporate and financial collapses in history, many believe that we now need to encourage the next generation of business leaders to operate under a new and ethical mandate.

The current market economy has become increasingly ambiguous and contrarian. Whilst generating unprecedented levels of growth, we are producing more wealth than ever before, but atwhat cost? said Christopher Wasserman President of the Zermatt Summit. “In the pursuit of short- term profits we are alienating many people who are key stakeholders integral to long-termstability of the global economy through pollution, social injustice/exclusion and other irresponsible business practices.

This is why it is critical that we influence the hearts and minds of key decisionmakers who are responsible for formulating policy in business and government towards responsible leadership, in order to restore stability and identify new opportunities for growth in the world markets.

Business leaders with a strong set of values and principles, can inspire new behaviours and cultures and drive sustainable change.

The main objective of the Zermatt Summit is to formulate a roadmap and focus on three areas :

  • to revisit the corporate raison d’être of the firm
  • to integrate leadership and ethics
  • to make corporate statesmanship a reality

Colin Melvin, CEO of Hermes Equity Ownership Services, which is one of the world’s largest and most influential institutional investors, will be speaking at this year’s summit. Owned by the BT pension scheme, Hermes Equity Ownership Services has over $100bn worth of assets under advice and has been campaigning for a positive dialogue between company boards and their investors.

Colin Melvin says

It is vital that investors change the way they behave and interact with the companies that they own. As the world navigates through the current economic crisis, it is not more regulation that we need, but a greater level of accountability from businesses to their core stakeholders.

The purpose of companies operating in the new paradigm should be “wealth creation with progressive policies which place social responsibility and sustainability at the heart of their operations. The new focus of companies operating in the 21st century economy should be people and not just the pursuit of profits at any cost.

Speakers at the summit include:

Renowned economists such as Nouriel Rubini and Hernando de Soto who are the at forefront of the change of the economic paradigm, innovative business leaders whose firms are applying new business models and a pioneering group of business schools and firms such as the Globally Responsible Leaders Initiative representing 300,000 students and 1,000,000 employees.

The world debut of a new 56 minute documentary, “Doing Virtuous Business” will be shown to delegates.

Three days devoted to forming concrete recommendations

The Zermatt Summit will provide a unique forum for participants to ask deep questions on how key decision makers can be influenced to instigate change in company behaviours, cultures and at policy level. This will result in a series of practical recommendations, which will be widely published to ensure their implementation by business, political and civic leaders. A group will present a progress report on the implementation of these recommendations to the 2011 Zermatt Summit.


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