Leading Global Academics Create New Corporate Sustainability Approach to Build Innovation and Global Collaboration

1/16/2008, 1:00 AM (Source: GlobeNewswire)



Recommended Approach Balances Needs of Investors, Society and the
Environment

SAN JOSE, CA and LONDON--(Marketwire - January 15, 2008) -
Organisations that wish to grow profitably in the future must focus
their efforts to benefit shareholders, society and the environment
simultaneously. Concentrating on any one of these areas at the
expense of the other two may compromise a business's long-term
success. A focus on sustainability provides the best means to
implement this triple-pronged strategy simultaneously, enabling
organisations to innovate, differentiate themselves and succeed.

These are the key conclusions of a new paper published today by a
group of international academic experts on corporate responsibility
and sustainability, which offers a new approach to how sustainability
can build innovation and global collaboration across organisations.
The paper, "A New Mindset for Corporate Sustainability," was
sponsored by Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) and BT. Drawn from respected
institutions in China, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom and
United States, the academics offer business leaders concise advice
based on a systematic appraisal of case studies, including Cemex,
Marks & Spencer and Shenzhen Water, and prevailing academic thinking
on the subject worldwide. The paper also outlines the 10 steps
required for organisations to become sustainability-driven
innovators.*

Offering a new approach, which the academics have named S²AVE
(Shareholder and Social Added Value with Environmental Restoration),
emphasises the role of sustainability in increasing innovation across
the business and maintains that sustainability should be a strategy
rather than an objective. It concludes that the achievement of
sustainability goals does not require extensive re-engineering of the
corporate structure. Instead, it requires conviction and vision at
the very highest levels of the organisation so that a set of values
coherent with corporate responsibility and sustainability are
instilled throughout.

While the academic team met in person several times, no international
travel was required. Using Cisco TelePresence, the high-definition
virtual meeting solution, the group was able to come together and
discuss their research as though in a conventional face-to-face
meeting, whilst reducing travel so as to minimise any negative
environmental effects of the collaboration.

The following experts were involved in producing the paper:

-- Professor David Grayson, director, Doughty Centre for Corporate
Responsibility, Cranfield School of Management
-- Professor Zhouying Jin, director, Center for Technology Innovation and
Strategy Studies of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; chairman, Future
500, China
-- Dr Mark Lemon, Centre for Resource Management and Efficiency,
Cranfield University
-- Dr Miguel Angel Rodriguez, director of the Base of the Pyramid
Learning Lab, and Lecturer in General Management, IESE Business School,
University of Navarra, Spain
-- Professor Sarah Slaughter, senior lecturer, Behavioral and Policy
Sciences, Sloan Management School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
-- Professor Simon Tay, Singapore Institute for International Affairs,
National University of Singapore


Professor Sarah Slaughter of Massachusetts Institute of Technology
said: "The method by which this paper was produced gave all of us a
unique opportunity to share views and collaborate in an entirely new
way. Crucially, our ability to share experiences from around the
globe enabled us to identify the importance of courageous, visionary
leadership in achieving innovation through sustainability. The paper
shows how, with the right direction, organisations can harness
sustainability to open up and take the lead in markets that would
otherwise have remained closed to them, securing their long-term
future as they do so.

"Our conclusion is that the 'triple bottom line' should no longer be
a tangential activity, with shareholder value the main consideration.
Instead, strategies should be focused on all three areas
simultaneously as an integrated system because, as our case studies
demonstrate, each strand can yield benefits for the other two," she
said.

Professor Zhouying Jin of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
comments: "This was a unique opportunity for us all to collaborate
and produce a document of genuine use to organisations everywhere. It
is clear from our discussions that if we can share sustainability
best practices then organisations will gain commercial benefit
faster. Sustainability should not be seen as a cost to the business.
Rather, it should be viewed as an opportunity. Indeed, we believe it
provides the best route for organisations to innovate and safeguard
their future."

A unique collaboration

Francois Barrault, CEO, BT Global Services, said, "BT and Cisco
wanted to jointly create a project on a topic both companies felt
strongly about. Also, we wanted it to be truly global, combining the
technology solutions and infrastructure that we market together. We
think that the academics' findings bring into clear focus the
challenges facing BT, Cisco and other companies around the world. Not
only should we make sustainability an integral part of our
strategies, but doing this will make our companies better and more
competitive as a result."

Phil Smith, VP for technology marketing at Cisco, added, "It's
essential that sustainability is at the heart of the strategic
direction that businesses and organisations need to follow. The
ability to collaborate across virtual teams, globally, will be the
practical step to make this direction a reality. As this
'world-first' project demonstrates, it is possible to create deep,
innovative thinking across global teams using innovative new
collaboration tools such as TelePresence."
To download the paper visit
www.biggerthinking.com/sustainability/innovation.

About BT and Cisco: Working Together

BT and Cisco have a shared vision for the future of IP (Internet
Protocol) services. Built on their insight as market leaders across a
variety of networked IT and communications services, the two
companies have an unrivalled offering across the globe to customers
migrating towards convergence. Based on a relationship established in
the early 1990s, BT and Cisco work together to offer world-leading IT
and communications technology. Through the relationship, BT provides
world-class Cisco technology backed up by market-leading integration
services. And together, through their mutual understanding of complex
network environments and solution provisioning, the relationship
delivers superior capability, service and value for money.

About BT

BT is one of the world's leading providers of communications
solutions and services operating in 170 countries. Its principal
activities include networked IT services; local, national and
international telecommunications services; higher-value broadband and
internet products and services and converged fixed/mobile products
and services. BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT
Global Services, Openreach, BT Retail and BT Wholesale.
In the year ended 31 March 2007, BT Group plc's revenue was £20,223
million with profit before taxation of £2,484 million.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of
BT Group and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the
BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New
York.

For more information, visit www.bt.com/aboutbt

About Cisco

Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in networking that
transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate.
Information about Cisco can be found at http://www.cisco.com. For
ongoing news, please go to http://newsroom.cisco.com

Cisco, the Cisco logo, and Cisco Systems are registered trademarks or
trademarks of Cisco Systems, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the United
States and certain other countries. All other trademarks mentioned in
this document are the property of their respective owners. The use of
the word partner does not imply a partnership relationship between
Cisco and any other company. This document is Cisco Public
Information.
For direct RSS Feeds of all Cisco news, please visit "News@Cisco" at
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Notes for Editors

About "A New Mindset for Corporate Sustainability"

The paper covers the following topics:

-- How organisations in both developed and emerging markets have secured
leading market positions through the innovations they have implemented
through their sustainability initiatives
-- What the impact of sustainability has been on businesses. The paper
argues that sustainability should be seen as a strategy rather than an
objective
-- How management can introduce and encourage innovation through their
sustainability programmes
-- Which tools leaders can draw on to accelerate the permeation of
sustainability throughout the organisation.


Case studies from around the world discussed in the paper include:

-- Leading UK retailer Marks & Spencer has implemented a knowledge
interchange with more than 12,000 suppliers to help it share best practices
on sustainability
-- Hyflux, Singapore's largest water company, has built a Singapore Stock
Exchange-quoted business spanning Asia, the Middle-East and Africa, having
exploited the country's requirement for alternative water supplies
following its split from Malaysia in 1965
-- Mexican cement manufacturer Cemex has created a business based on
helping low-income people to build their own homes by providing them with
credit, service and knowledge in addition to raw materials
-- Shenzhen Water, which supplies more than 7 million tons of drinking
water to homes around Shenzhen in China, has created initiatives in sewage
treatment, decontamination of bed-load and water recycling that now
contribute more than 21 per cent of the group's sales


*10 steps to turning your company into a sustainability-driven
innovator

(source: A New Mindset for Corporate Sustainability)

1. Make innovating for sustainability a part of your company's vision

Update your company's stated visions, mission and list of values or
principles to ensure that sustainability is at the heart, so that
your company is publicly identified, both internally and externally,
as sustainability-driven.

2. Formulate a strategy with sustainability at its heart

To really be effective, sustainability must be included in a new
formulation of your business strategy. Simply bolting it on to an
existing strategy is likely to leave it marginalised and
insignificant.

3. Embed sustainability in every part of your business

Create an ongoing process for getting each part of the company to
recognise and understand its environmental, economic and social
impacts, and get each part thinking about how they can use that
knowledge to innovate through a systematic and integrated approach.

4. Walk the talk

Top leadership in the business has to believe in it. Staff and other
stakeholders need to hear their leaders explain regularly what
responsibility and sustainability mean for the business and the
innovation possibilities they hold, and see the actual programs
implemented.

5. Set up a body with the power to make sustainability matter

Many of the leading sustainability-driven companies have a board
committee devoted to ensuring that things move ahead. Others have a
leading non-executive director in charge, while others still have a
mixed committee of executives and non-executives. Whatever the
arrangement, it is essential that the company regularly addresses
sustainability and its strategic opportunities at the very highest
level of decision making.

The most effective sustainability committees fulfil the following
purposes:(1)

1. Consider, review, evaluate and supervise integrated environmental,
social and ethical policies.
2. In collaboration with top management, make sure that responsibility
and sustainability are taken into account during strategy
formulations.
3. Advise the board of directors on responsibility and sustainability
issues.

6. Set firm rules

Establish a code of conduct on sustainability covering both your
employees and other stakeholders in your business, stating clearly
that anyone who doesn't adhere to it has no place in your company or
connected to your company.

7. Bring your stakeholders on board

Identify all the stakeholders in your business -- shareholders,
employees, suppliers, customers, the communities in which you operate
-- and engage with them on thinking about sustainability. Actively
encourage them to participate in your innovation and encourage them
to develop sustainable opportunities themselves.

8. Use people power

Ensure that sustainability is a clearly stated value at every stage
of your people management process, whether it's advertising for
staff, hiring, induction, performance appraisal, remuneration or
promotion. Create a training department that includes a strong focus
on creativity and innovation based on sustainability.

9. Join the networks

A growing number of organisations, networks and other bodies
dedicated to encouraging sustainable business are emerging. Get
involved with groups such as the World Business Council for
Sustainable Development, the UN Global Compact, the International
Business Leaders Forum and similar local bodies. Take part in
sustainability investment rankings and monitors such as the Dow Jones
Sustainability Indexes and the Corporate Responsibility Index.

10. Think beyond reporting: Align all business systems with the
company's vision of sustainability

Corporate social responsibility reporting helps focus the business on
S2AVE, but it should not be viewed as an end in itself.
Sustainability should run through every core system, from talent
management to supplier evaluation, customer relationship management
(CRM), and, of course, the balanced scorecard. This approach can turn
focus into coordinated action that matters.

(1) J.E. Ricart, M.A. Rodriguez, P. Sanchez and L. Ventoso, The
Sustainable Enterprise: Learning from DJSI Leaders, Fundacion BBVA,
2005
Contacts:

Cisco press contact:
Alison Stokes
+44 208 824 0926
astokes@cisco.com

BT press contact:
Harry Pirrwitz
+44 79 1871 7812
harry.pirrwitz@bt.com


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