More than the Swiss town experience of Davos, with its beautiful promenade and picturesque snowscape, what I find most charming about the World Economic Forum (WEF) is the opportunity it presents to mingle with impressive people from fields completely outside my own. There is an energy at Davos that these impromptu conversations capture. I always leave feeling inspired and eager to apply what I’ve just learned
When I heard that Davos would be digital this year, I wondered, what will a digital Davos look like? It will be less serendipitous, for sure: no unexpected run-ins with global leaders and change-makers, no quick meet-and-greets or catching up over coffee. But these are unusual times, and adapt we must. So, this year, amidst virtual sessions and meetings, some recorded, some live, I hope you will all join me in looking for ways to recreate that energy of Davos, and share new ideas for each other to try.
One idea I’ve been interested in is the concept of better business, which is one of the seven themes for Davos 2021. When the pandemic halted economies in 2020, it forced a kind of global reset. Organizations adopted new ways of working. Consumer behaviors suddenly changed. And a powerful question emerged: How can we move beyond unbridled consumerism to promote compassionate, sustainable capitalism? Better business stems from this question, building on the idea of stakeholders beyond shareholders with an all-inclusive approach that prioritizes employees, communities and the planet.
Central to this effort is rebuilding trust. Faith in institutions is at a low point right now. People are questioning the veracity of everything from breaking news and history to vaccines and masks. Business leaders need to regain the trust of the general population by modeling behaviors of good corporate citizenship. This means truly listening to the needs of the people and committing to behaviors that will address those needs, now and down the line: inclusion and diversity in the workforce; enriching the communities in which businesses operate; promoting sustainable environmental, labor, and economic practices.
Commitment is the key word here: Better business is not a one-time push. It’s an ongoing effort, but the payoff for those who make that commitment is bound to be substantial. Here at Wipro, our commitment to sustainability — from the way we use our resources to the way we build and run our organization — has earned us a place in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index(DJSI) for eleven consecutive years. For the past nine years, we’ve been recognized as one of the most ethical companies in the world because of our focus on corporate ethics and our commitment to integrity in business. Led by our founder-chairman, two-thirds (67%) of Wipro's economic interest is pledged to charitable causes in education and community-building, making us arguably the most giving organization in the world. We’ve been building our habits for years.
What does better business mean for you, your customers, your community? How are you and your colleagues adapting to meet this moment? I look forward to hearing your ideas for the future, and hope you’ll join me in making ‘better business’ the new normal.