Corporations and industries need a purpose beyond profit, says Sunil Mathur, the Managing Director and Chief Executive of Siemens in India and South Asia. ‘Companies’ purposes are critical,’ he says. They should include a commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); meeting environmental challenges; diversity in the workforce; and ethical values.
Mathur was the opening speaker on a panel at the first conference of the Caux Forum Online, marking the 75th anniversary of the Initiatives of Change centre in Switzerland. The two-day business forum, from 12 to 13 July, focused on ‘Corporate governance in the 21st century, responding to systemic crisis’. It was organized by the Initiatives of Change Business & Economy Programme, which also convenes monthly meetings on the implications of sustainability for business.
Walk the talk
Mathur heads a £1.2 billion engineering and infrastructure company with a workforce of nearly 10,000 employees. He acknowledged that ‘shareholder expectations are increasingly challenging’, when they clash with the long-term goals of boards of directors. ‘The stock exchange is ruthless,’ he said.