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A Practical Guide To Assessing, Shaping and Embedding Corporate Culture

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The City Values Forum and Tomorrow’s Company are publishing a guide following the newly publish Report on Corporate Culture and the Role of Boards by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC).

The guide is entitled Governing Culture: Risk and Opportunity? – a guide to board leadership in purpose, values and culture.

Drawing upon practical experience, research and consultations with senior chairmen and both executive and non-executive board members the guide helps boards to determine how boards might approach the key questions like:

  • What do we have to do to address this issue?
  • How do we go about it?
  • What does good look like?

Boards are the ultimate custodians of an organisation’s purpose, values and culture. Their role is to ensure the organisation is delivering its purpose and that the purpose, values, strategic goals and capability, including culture are aligned. Boards also need to assure themselves that the culture of the board is the desired culture and that appropriate action is taken to maintain the desired culture throughout the organisation. The guide:

  • Highlights the difference between the role of the board and the role of the executive team in leading
    and managing culture
  • Sets out an agenda of 24 questions that boards might ask of themselves and of their executive
  • Offers a ‘roadmap’ to help boards assess how mature their approach is to governing culture
  • includes case studies, quotations and ‘top tips’ from leaders .

Sir Win Bischoff, Chairman of the Financial Reporting Council, in a foreword to the guide writes:

“Every organisation will have its own approach to this important topic and appropriately it is not the purpose of this guide to be prescriptive as to outcomes. It does however offer a practical agenda and roadmap to help boards to assess where their organisation stands in relation to their accountability for culture, to evaluate areas for priority action and periodically to assess progress.”

In his introduction to the guide Sir Roger Carr, Chairman of BAE Systems, comments:

Culture should have no geographic boundaries or be subject to management interpretation.

“The definition of doing the right thing should never change at a border crossing or adjusted at an executive meeting. Culture should be the bedrock on which good business delivers great performance. This guide is intended to help in identifying why culture matters, who drives the agenda, what good look s like and how it is delivered.”

Commenting on the guide, Richard Sermon, Chairman of the City Values Forum said:

“Especially in times of uncertainty business strategies will be buffeted by economic and political pressures and societal changes. A healthy culture which is aligned to purpose and defined values will serve to enhance the organisation’s relationship with its stakeholders and can act as an anchor, enabling the emergence of more agile strategies while keeping the organisation pointed towards its purpose and living its values.”

Mark Goyder, Founder and Chief Executive of Tomorrow’s Company, commented:

“For too long the high priests of shareholder value have told us that we must worship at the altar of financial analysis. Now, at last, after Enron, LIBOR, Volkswagen and others , boards and investors alike recognise that what most threatens shareholder value is to neglect the purpose, values, relationships and the human side of a business. The question is what to do about it?

The answers are to be found in this very practical guide and its tool- kits.”

Background

While boards recognise the importance of culture, many still find it an intangible and difficult topic to address in terms of assessment, accountability and assurance. To help address this issue the FRC brought together the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), the City Values Forum (CVF), the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), the Institute of Business Ethics (IBE) and the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) to form a Culture Coalition to highlight good practice and promote the importance of a healthy corporate culture. Their outputs are designed to make it easier for boards to get to grips with culture and properly to fulfil their duties of accountability and assurance.

Building on their earlier work on Governing Values (2013) , the City Values Forum and Tomorrow’s Company have developed Governing Culture: Risk and Opportunity? – a guide to board leadership in purpose, values and culture, a practical guide for those boards seeking to define, assess, monitor, nurture and develop the culture of their organisation.

About the City Values Forum

The City Values Forum works to embed the principles of trust and integrity in the financial and business services communities and the corporate sector and to improve cultures and behaviours. Formed in 2011 to deliver the recommendations of The Lord Mayor’s Initiative ‘Restoring Trust in the City’, the Forum is constituted as an informal working grou p reporting to The Lord Mayor. The City Values Forum continues to work across a broad front with City institutions, corporate entities, regulators, professional and trade bodies, think tanks and academic institutions to strengthen standards of integrity in the City and corporate communities.

Our latest work, Governing Culture: Risk and Opportunity ? – a guide to board leadership in purpose, values and culture is the latest in an occasional series of initiatives addressing standards of corporate governance, professional competence and the development and sharing of best practice – each aimed at improving business culture and behaviour. No single initiative can remedy the failures of integrity revealed in recent years, but by acting with the support of many organisations, working throughout the financial, business services and corporate sectors, we aim to reassert the City’s long – standing reputation for fair dealing and to encourage the development of healthy business cultures and behaviours in UK corporate life.
If we succeed together we will inspire customers and clients to entrust us with their business and earn society’s endorsement of our economic role.

About Tomorrow’s Company
Tomorrow’s Company is a London – based globally focused agenda – setting not – for profit think tank whose purpose is to inspire and enable companies to be a force for good. It champions a practical agenda for better leadership, governance and investor stewardship. Tomorrow’s Company believes that adopting an approach that focuses on purpose, values, relationships and the long term is the key to enduring business success.

It promotes this approach by engaging business leaders, investors, policymakers and NGOs in a uniquely thoughtful process which sets new agendas. Tomorrow’s Company developed the concept of the business licence to operate and redefined the concept of corporate social responsibility in the 1990s. Its work on investor stewardship and capital markets stimulated the emergence of the UN Principles of Responsible Investment and the UK’s Stewardship Code. More recently it has championed integrated reporting and a new agenda for governance and stewardship. It has significantly influenced the direction of corporate governance, including defining the inclusive duties of directors for the UK’s Companies Act 2006 and influencing the King III report in South Africa.

Editors Choice

2017 Was the Most Expensive Year Ever for U.S. Natural Disaster Damage

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Natural Disaster Damage
Shutterstock / By Droidworker | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/droidworker

Devastating natural disasters dominated last year’s headlines and made many wonder how the affected areas could ever recover. According to data from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the storms and other weather events that caused the destruction were extremely costly.

Specifically, the natural disasters recorded last year caused so much damage that the associated losses made 2017 the most expensive year on record in the 38-year history of keeping such data. The following are several reasons that 2017 made headlines for this notorious distinction.

Over a Dozen Events With Losses Totalling More Than $1 Billion Each

The NOAA reports that in total, the recorded losses equaled $306 billion, which is $90 billion more than the amount associated with 2005, the previous record holder. One of the primary reasons the dollar amount climbed so high last year is that 16 individual events cost more than $1 billion each.

Global Warming Contributed to Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey, one of two Category-4 hurricanes that made landfall in 2017, was a particularly expensive natural disaster. Nearly 800,000 people needed assistance after the storm. Hurricane Harvey alone cost $125 billion, with some estimates even higher than that. So far, the only hurricane more expensive than Harvey was Katrina.

Before Hurricane Harvey hit, scientists speculated climate change could make it worse. They discussed how rising ocean temperatures make hurricanes more intense, and warmer atmospheres have higher amounts of water vapor, causing larger rainfall totals.

Since then, a new study published in “Environmental Research Letters” confirmed climate change was indeed a factor that gave Hurricane Harvey more power. It found environmental conditions associated with global warming made the storm more severe and increase the likelihood of similar events.

That same study also compared today’s storms with ones from 1900. It found that compared to those earlier weather phenomena, Hurricane Harvey’s rainfall was 15 percent more intense and three times as likely to happen now versus in 1900.

Warming oceans are one of the contributing factors. Specifically, the ocean’s surface temperature associated with the region where Hurricane Harvey quickly transformed from a tropical storm into a Category 4 hurricane has become about 1 degree Fahrenheit warmer over the past few decades.

Michael Mann, a climatologist from Penn State University, believes that due to a relationship known as the Clausius-Clapeyron equation, there was about 3-5 percent more moisture in the air, which caused more rain. To complicate matters even more, global warming made sea levels rise by more than 6 inches in the Houston area over the past few decades. Mann also believes global warming caused the stationery summer weather patterns that made Hurricane Harvey stop moving and saturate the area with rain. Mann clarifies although global warming didn’t cause Hurricane Harvey as a whole, it exacerbated several factors of the storm.

Also, statistics collected by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from 1901-2015 found the precipitation levels in the contiguous 48 states had gone up by 0.17 inches per decade. The EPA notes the increase is expected because rainfall totals tend to go up as the Earth’s surface temperatures rise and additional evaporation occurs.

The EPA’s measurements about surface temperature indicate for the same timespan mentioned above for precipitation, the temperatures have gotten 0.14 Fahrenheit hotter per decade. Also, although the global surface temperature went up by 0.15 Fahrenheit during the same period, the temperature rise has been faster in the United States compared to the rest of the world since the 1970s.

Severe Storms Cause a Loss of Productivity

Many people don’t immediately think of one important factor when discussing the aftermath of natural disasters: the adverse impact on productivity. Businesses and members of the workforce in Houston, Miami and other cities hit by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma suffered losses that may total between $150-200 billion when both damage and sacrificed productivity are accounted for, according to estimates from Moody’s Analytics.

Some workers who decide to leave their homes before storms arrive delay returning after the immediate danger has passed. As a result of their absences, a labor-force shortage may occur. News sources posted stories highlighting that the Houston area might not have enough construction workers to handle necessary rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Harvey.

It’s not hard to imagine the impact heavy storms could have on business operations. However, companies that offer goods to help people prepare for hurricanes and similar disasters often find the market wants what they provide. While watching the paths of current storms, people tend to recall storms that took place years ago and see them as reminders to get prepared for what could happen.

Longer and More Disastrous Wildfires Require More Resources to Fight

The wildfires that ripped through millions of acres in the western region of the United States this year also made substantial contributions to the 2017 disaster-related expenses. The U.S. Forest Service, which is within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, reported 2017 as its costliest year ever and saw total expenditures exceeding $2 billion.

The agency anticipates the costs will grow, especially when they take past data into account. In 1995, the U.S. Forest Service spent 16 percent of its annual budget for wildfire-fighting costs, but in 2015, the amount ballooned to 52 percent. The sheer number of wildfires last year didn’t help matters either. Between January 1 and November 24 last year, 54,858 fires broke out.

2017: Among the Three Hottest Years Recorded

People cause the majority of wildfires, but climate change acts as another notable contributor. In addition to affecting hurricane intensity, rising temperatures help fires spread and make them harder to extinguish.

Data collected by the National Interagency Fire Center and published by the EPA highlighted a correlation between the largest wildfires and the warmest years on record. The extent of damage caused by wildfires has gotten worse since the 1980s, but became particularly severe starting in 2000 during a period characterized by some of the warmest years the U.S. ever recorded.

Things haven’t changed for the better, either. In mid-December of 2017, the World Meteorological Organization released a statement announcing the year would likely end as one of the three warmest years ever recorded. A notable finding since the group looks at global land and ocean temperature, not just statistics associated with the United States.

Not all the most financially impactful weather events in 2017 were hurricanes and wildfires. Some of the other issues that cost over $1 billion included a hailstorm in Colorado, tornados in several regions of the U.S. and substantial flooding throughout Missouri and Arkansas.

Although numerous factors gave these natural disasters momentum, scientists know climate change was a defining force — a reality that should worry just about everyone.

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Environment

How to be More eco-Responsible in 2018

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Shutterstock / By KENG MERRY Paper Art | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/kengmerrymikeymelody

Nowadays, more and more people are talking about being more eco-responsible. There is a constant growth of information regarding the importance of being aware of ecological issues and the methods of using eco-friendly necessities on daily basis.

Have you been considering becoming more eco-responsible after the New Year? If so, here are some useful tips that could help you make the difference in the following year:

1. Energy – produce it, save it

If you’re building a house or planning to expand your living space, think before deciding on the final square footage. Maybe you don’t really need that much space. Unnecessary square footage will force you to spend more building materials, but it will also result in having to use extra heating, air-conditioning, and electricity in it.

It’s even better if you seek professional help to reduce energy consumption. An energy audit can provide you some great piece of advice on how to save on your energy bills.

While buying appliances such as a refrigerator or a dishwasher, make sure they have “Energy Star” label on, as it means they are energy-efficient.

energy efficient

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By My Life Graphic

Regarding the production of energy, you can power your home with renewable energy. The most common way is to install rooftop solar panels. They can be used for producing electricity, as well as heat for the house. If powering the whole home is a big step for you, try with solar oven then – they trap the sunlight in order to heat food! Solar air conditioning is another interesting thing to try out – instead of providing you with heat, it cools your house!

2. Don’t be just another tourist

Think about the environment, as well your own enjoyment – try not to travel too far, as most forms of transport contribute to the climate change. Choose the most environmentally friendly means of transport that you can, as well as environmentally friendly accommodation. If you can go to a destination that is being recommended as an eco-travel destination – even better! Interesting countries such as Zambia, Vietnam or Nicaragua are among these destinations that are famous for its sustainability efforts.

3. Let your beauty be also eco-friendly

eco-friendly

Shutterstock / By Khakimullin Aleksandr

We all want to look beautiful. Unfortunately, sometimes (or very often) it comes with a price. Cruelty-free cosmetics are making its way on the world market but be careful with the labels – just because it says a product hasn’t been tested on animals, it doesn’t  mean that some of the product’s ingredients haven’t been tested on some poor animal.

To be sure which companies definitely stay away from the cruel testing on animals, check PETA Bunny list of cosmetic companies just to make sure which ones are truly and completely cruelty-free.

It’s also important if a brand uses toxic ingredients. Brands such as Tata Harper Skincare or Dr Bronner’s use only organic ingredients and biodegradable packaging, as well as being cruelty-free. Of course, this list is longer, so you’ll have to do some online research.

4. Know thy recycling

People often make mistakes while wanting to do something good for the environment. For example, plastic grocery bags, take-out containers, paper coffee cups and shredded paper cannot be recycled in your curb for many reasons, so don’t throw them into recycling bins. The same applies to pizza boxes, household glass, ceramics, and pottery – whether they are contaminated by grease or difficult to recycle, they just can’t go through the usual recycling process.

People usually forget to do is to rinse plastic and metal containers – they always have some residue, so be thorough. Also, bottle caps are allowed, too, so don’t separate them from the bottles. However, yard waste isn’t recyclable, so any yard waste or junk you are unsure of – just contact rubbish removal services instead of piling it up in public containers or in your own yard.

5. Fashion can be both eco-friendly and cool

Believe it or not, there are actually places where you can buy clothes that are eco-friendly, sustainable, as well as ethical. And they look cool, too! Companies like Everlane are very transparent about where their clothes are manufactured and how the price is set. PACT is another great company that uses non-GMO, organic cotton and non-toxic dyes for their clothing, while simultaneously using renewable energy factories. Soko is a company that uses natural and recycled materials in making their clothes and jewelry.

All in all

The truth is – being eco-responsible can be done in many ways. There are tons of small things we could change when it comes to our habits that would make a positive influence on the environment. The point is to start doing research on things that can be done by every person and it can start with the only thing that person has the control of – their own household.

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