Tag Archives: business

Why Words Matter

Created with WordItOut.

Created with WordItOut.

Researchers have recently identified 23 words they term “ultraconserved,” meaning they haven’t much changed since the end of the Ice Age 15,000 years ago. These words—mother, man, fire, worm, and spit, among others­—sound and mean the same in most Eurasiatic language families. The most commonly shared word is “thou” – the singular form of “you”. Imagine that. Among the nearly 700 languages in these families, stretching from Great Britain to Western China, the Arctic to southern India, all of them share a very close version of this word.

Words matter because they allow us to communicate clearly. A decade ago, no agreed-upon phrase existed in Arabic for corporate governance, making debate and reform difficult. An issue can’t be addressed if it can’t be clearly defined. To that end, a CIPE-led effort resulted in the first standardized term for “corporate governance” in the Arabic language: hawkamat ash-sharikat. Developing a common term opened the door for broad-based dialogue on corporate governance in the Arab world.

Sometimes it seems that CIPE has its own language. Look at the word cloud above, created from CIPE’s 2012 Annual Report. Democracy, business, governance, public sector, private sector. These words are probably familiar, but it might not be immediately clear how they work together.

If you look at it more closely, however, you’ll see they are parts of a fully functioning, democratic, free market society. All of the pieces move together—an empowered, informed electorate can hold its government accountable. A strong private sector forms the engine of job creation and economic growth within a society. A true democracy is dependent on its citizens, its private sector, and its government to act in good faith and with good intentions.

Words matter for what they represent. The words in the image above represent the hard work of CIPE’s partners over the last year. Their stories and successes are inspiring, and we hope you’ll take the time to read about them here.

The Role of Women in Global Business Value Chains

The ability of women to drive change is greatly improved when they are empowered in the economic decisions of their communities. Few videos explain this as much as this one, talking about the girl effect.

Next week, Anna Nadgrodkiewicz, my colleague here at CIPE will attend a forum in New York, hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the United Nations Office for Partnerships, that will bring together thought leaders and policymakers to discuss the role that women’s economic empowerment plays in development, and how this can be expanded through partnerships. I for one am very excited to hear about what Anna learns in New York, and I look forward to sharing it with you when I get the full report!

On March 8, the U.S. Chamber Business Civic Leadership Center and United Nations Office for Partnerships will celebrate International Women’s Day at the Ford Foundation headquarters. This annual forum brings together leaders committed to the economic empowerment of women. In 2012, these leaders included Lauren Bush Lauren of FEED projects, author of Half the Sky Sheryl WuDunn, Charlotte Oades from Coca-Cola Company, Sarah Thorn from Walmart, and many more who spoke about the role of business in empowering women globally.

In 2013, this forum will expand upon 2012 and explore the influential role women play in the global business value chain. As more women formally enter into the economy, positive macroeconomic externalities include increased productivity for business, increased school attendance for civil society, and higher economic growth rates in host countries—externalities seen in Rwanda and China. However, woman and girls still face many challenges in attaining economic independence. This forum will highlight the influential role women play in the business sector and how companies and their partners are working to catalyze the economic empowerment of women in global markets.

Learn more about the conference at BCLC’s website.

Colin Buerger is Program Officer for Global Programs at CIPE.

The Business Case for Corporate Governance

From board selection and strategic decision making to day-to-day operations and legal compliance, corporate governance is a way for companies to create a framework for sound business practices, sustained growth, and risk management. At its core, corporate governance entails an internal control system for transparent decision-making that protects shareholders’ value. However, the significance of corporate governance goes far beyond this basic definition.

First, even though corporate governance has traditionally been associated with large publicly listed companies, it is also of crucial importance to other types of businesses, including family firms, state-owned enterprises, and even small businesses. Those companies also need good corporate governance for long-term sustainability and to become integrated into the global supply chains.

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Making the Most of an Advisory Board

In his recently published book, Essays on Governance, CIPE Board member Andrew Sherman looks at the myriad issues facing entrepreneurs and business owners. Good governance is crucial to building and sustaining a business in a complex, shifting operating environment. Mr. Sherman, a partner at the international law firm Jones Day, excerpts a chapter from the book in CIPE’s most recent Economic Reform Feature Service article. In it, he interviews Verne Harnish, a thought leader on global growth strategies and founder of Gazelles International, who discusses the importance of “The Council,” a concept first introduced by author Jim Collins in his seminal book, Good to Great. Read the article here.

Article at a glance

  • A reliable set of advisors is crucial when a leader plans to expand the business globally.
  • Leadership teams sometimes must work in untraditional ways to develop a deep level of understanding and trust.
  • Disagreement can be productive and can lead to strong management decisions.

 

2012 Global Corporate Citizenship Conference

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is hosting a corporate citizenship conference on October 10 and 11, 2012, in Washington, DC. The conference, sponsored by the Chamber’s Business Civic Leadership Center, will feature briefings on international development trends, regional development assessments, and U.S. government and multilateral initiatives and will provide many opportunities for companies, organizations, and individuals to network, share, and learn.

Literacy, nutrition, poverty, hygiene, corruption, violence, disease, pollution are not just social issues, they profoundly affect the business landscape. As companies increasingly cultivate business opportunities in emerging markets, they encounter these challenges and are developing strategies and innovations that are improving social, environmental, and governance conditions. Businesses are changing the way that they work with governments, development agencies, and key stakeholders; applying technology in new ways to old problems and re-framing problems to come up with new solutions.

The organizers are also accepting speaker proposals.

Find out more about the conference, register, and see video from last year’s conference here.

The Road to a National IT Policy in Pakistan

P@SHA Chairman Nadeem Illahi (center) speaks to the press about national ICT policy. (Photo: P@SHA)

The recent buzzword in developing countries is “digital economy,” and Pakistan is no exception. But for the last several years the government’s efforts to prepare a National Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Policy have moved slowly.

Recently, however, intense support from private-sector players such as the Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA), which acts as a representative body for the information technology sector, and other engaged stakeholders from civil society, the telecommunication and services sectors, academia, media, socio-political activists and various government entities has helped to move the process forward. Input from all of these groups was essential in preparing this important roadmap.

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The Business View of Rio+20

I’ve been enjoying GreenBiz’s coverage of Rio+20 this week. In their piece about environmental public-private partnerships, writers Tensie Wheland (Rainforest Alliance) and John Williams (Domtar Corporation) write:

There’s no lack of skepticism about the UN Rio +20 Earth Summit, and when it comes to political leadership, no real progress has been made. But that’s not the whole story. … Rio+20 has been a showcase for the role of the private sector and the importance that building the global green economy has for taking sustainability to global scale. … collaborations have evolved to the point where businesses and NGOs working together have become the biggest, most important factor in spreading sustainable production and sourcing practices across the world.

More on business-NGO environmental collaborations here, in “Some Good News, and Next Steps to Take, from Rio.”

GreenBiz executive editor Joel Makower has also put together this great short video about the Business View from Rio+20. Interviewees from companies including Dow Chemical Company, DuPont, Johnson Controls, and Microsoft noted their reasons for being in Rio, such as being part of a gathering of top businesses and the most creative people in the world, working to find and create new collaborations, and experiencing the acceleration of leading countries and leading companies “getting serious.”

Rio+20 attracted the largest number of businesses in the UN’s history of convenings. Watch more of the business perspective below.

This post was originally published by the BCLC Leadership Center blog.