Tag Archives: Giles Gibbons

If not now, when?

I received this passionate and utterly brilliant message from Giles Gibbons, Founder & CEO of Good Business, earlier this week. Naturally, I agree with every word, and it’s just too good not to share in full:

Dear friends,

20 years and counting of the ‘sustainability movement’ – of which we count ourselves a part – and what have we achieved? Our honest answer right now is nowhere near enough.

If anything drives it home it’s the summer we’ve just had. We don’t think you can have lived through it without having a ‘stop and think’ moment. 46-degree heat in Paris. The hottest July the continent of Africa has ever seen. Populism breaking politics in Britain, and exploding onto the scene in France, Italy, Ukraine – and the list goes on…

Too many people feel that the world is stacked in favour of elites at the expense of everyone else. And so the two main challenges of our day – climate change and inequality – played out on the global stage in a clear, present and in-your-face way. Even the FT and corporate USA have started to argue that capitalism as currently construed isn’t working. And that’s before millions of people around the globe joined the biggest climate protest ever.

This must be the time not just to sit up and think, but to take action. Businesses have been delivering slow and incremental change in the name of business responsibility and sustainability when what we need is a thunderbolt of transformation.

We can’t keep saying we’ve got twenty years to save the world because the time will run out. From zero-carbon commitments to the SDG deadline, horizons for delivery are drawing ever closer, not so the action they demand. In fact we think that unless business steps up to the challenges we face, time will be called on the sustainability movement. It’s not delivering the capitalism the world both wants and needs.

But it absolutely can. And there’s never been a more compelling case for it to do so. Not least because there is a massive new wave of will for change. For the first time ever consumers and culture are in the lead on all this, demanding action. People want to buy from, work for, talk about and partner with organisations that deliver bold solutions for people and society. And for every established business that doesn’t deliver against this there’s a disrupter that will.

The message is clear. If you want your business to be part of the future you need a step change in thinking and action. Steady progress on sustainability will write you out of history. The winners will be those that embrace transformative change.

And if there’s ever a moment to mark a new beginning it’s upon us – January 2020. A decade to meet the 2030 agenda for sustainable change. The moment to draw a line in the sustainability sand, and springboard into a new era of action.

We know this is anything but easy. But it is essential. And we believe that everything we’ve learnt and done over the past 20+ years of working in this space has set us up for this moment.

If you agree, join with us. If you want us to help, please get in touch. We’re ready.

Transform your business, transform the world.


Founder & CEO
Good Business

Giles Coren, sustainability champion?!

As a serious foodie, with a penchant for sardonic humour, I’ve always been a fan of Giles Coren – especially his “The Supersizers Eat…” series with Sue Perkins, which is always good for a laugh.

Now, it seems, I’ve got another reason to like him…

As my old MBA buddy, Neil McCrossen, kindly pointed out to me today, Coren has recently begun incorporating sustainability criteria into his restaurant reviews for The Times, drawing upon scores awarded by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) – see here.

[A small aside: it turns out that the SRA’s co-founder is one Giles Gibbons, not only the founder of leading sustainable business consultancy, Good Business, but also one of the luminaries who saw fit to endorse my book. Small world or what?! Anyhoo…]

The SRA score is awarded according to performance against 14 different criteria – everything from the obvious issues of local, sustainable sourcing of ingredients and waste management to the social responsibility they take for staff and the local community.

What’s really great about what Coren is doing with this, though, is that he’s not just tagging that score onto his reviews as an afterthought. He’s fully integrating it into his overall rating for the restaurant, which, as he explains in his own inimitable style, means that…

…depending on the SRA’s audit, a restaurant’s overall rating could be affected by up to three points out of ten. I could have a great meal and give 8/10 for both food and service, and then a bum rating from the SRA could lead to its getting as little as 5, and being quite furious with me for giving so much credence to environmental issues, but then maybe thinking about changing.

That, my dear Mr Coren, is a master stroke, and I salute you for it!

Giles Gibbons on why banks should go back to basics

If you read my previous post, the importance of seeing the bigger picture, you’ll know I almost sparked a bit of a spat with an IABC colleague when I questioned what his employer’s programme to promote clean water and sustainable water use had to do with responsible banking. 

Nice, then, to read a great article in Ethical Corporation News today, in which Giles Gibbons – founder and chief executive of CR consultancy, Good Business – suggests much the same thing.

For him, too, it’s responsible lending and investment that comes top of the list in the materiality stakes. And it’s social issues such as the impact of debt on society, not the environment, that’s most relevant and important to a bank’s core business. (By all means address environmental issues, but not until you’ve dealt with the other stuff first.)

In fact, there are remarkable similarities between what he says and a number of previous posts on this blog.

You’ll know by now the tired drumhead I beat about “CR without HR is just PR” – that businesses must first demonstrate how CR is embedded in their own organisations and along the value chain. That message comes over loud and clear in Giles’ article too.

As does the idea that this economic downtown might actually prove a blessing in disguise, as I suggested in my post on CR and the recession – sorting out the wheat from the chaff, the superficial from the strategic, and forcing businesses to think much harder about what really matters to their stakeholders.

Not entirely surprising, then, that I should find myself agreeing with every single word! Even if you don’t, read it anyway. It’s a thoroughly researched and well-reasoned piece that deserves a look.