Welcome to my blog. I’m Mike Tuffrey – a leader, adviser, speaker and writer on business, government and sustainability. Based in London, I’ve worked across all three sectors for 30 years – and that makes me a ‘tri-sector athlete’, or so I’m assured.
The big question that concerns me today is how business, government and civil society can work more effectively together to bring better outcomes for all… prosperity, health, well-being, today and for my children’s generation, especially now half the world lives in cities.
Literally and metaphorically, we are all ‘in it together’. Click on This blog for more about my thinking and on About Mike for details of my various activities. Then please do get in contact if you’d like to collaborate.
As the year 2017 draws to a close, I’ll hazard a prediction about a rising trend for 2018 – a backlash by consumers about how companies use their data.
As I write, here in London the shops are full. Households are preparing for the Christmas season, when Christians astutely adopt the pagan winter solstice festival to mark new beginnings and everyone settles in against the cold for an excess of consumption.
If the advertisements are to be believed, high on Santa’s list of presents this year will be smart speakers – with Amazon Echo battling it out with Google Home, since Apple has announced that its HomePod will not be shipped until early 2018. New on the scene is the Echo Dot, small enough to slip into anyone’s Christmas stocking.
If you’ve not yet joined the fun (and I’m firmly resisting so far) these devices harness voice controlled AI assistants – Amazon Alexa joining iPhone’s Siri, Microsoft Cortana and Google Now out in the cloud – to give you a hands-free way to play music, control your ‘smart home’ devices, tell you the weather forecast, and much more.
Two decades ago, a few pioneering companies came together in London to form a benchmarking group and that has now gone worldwide. So what’s next for community investment?
Last week I spent an energising day in the company of 70 corporates from our LBG network and came away with three thoughts on how business/community partnerships should change if they are to remain relevant to the challenges of our times.
LBG started out with just six companies 20 years ago and has today grown into the global standard for measuring corporate community investment. That’s why companies committed to increasing their social impact use it, over a thousand now, large and small, across all sectors. Last week’s participants included not just the usual UK blue-chips, but firms as diverse as Nokia from Finland, EDP from Portugal, DP World out of Dubai and the Australian retailer Myers. Continue reading
With the election battle gathering pace in the UK, big business is keeping its head down, despite having much at stake. Mike Tuffrey reads the early runes as the contest unfolds.
The pundits will tell you that political parties adopt one of two positions in elections – either “it’s time for a change” or “things are getting better, don’t let the other lot ruin it”. This time, however, that isn’t the choice on offer; everybody seems to be promoting a change agenda of some sort.
As I write this, the parties are busy publishing their manifestos. I’ll do an analysis once they are all out. Still, enough has been leaked or deliberately trailed to hazard a prediction: this is not a change or status quo battle, or a conventional left/right choice where one side says we need more government and one argues for less.
Companies should do more to protect civil society, even if that means defending their critics from oppressive governments.
Think of business involvement in politics, and the murky world of backhanders and behind-the-scenes lobbying may spring to mind. However, define the issue as protecting basic freedoms –the sort of freedoms that companies need if they are to prosper in open and competitive markets – and a different perspective emerges.
So it was refreshing to hear a call, as I did last week, for companies to get more involved, not in party politics or the direct business of government but in defending the space for civil society to operate freely. That came during an event we at Corporate Citizenship organised with Danny Sriskandarajah, secretary general of CIVICUS, the global alliance of over 3,600 civil society organisations and activists working to strengthen citizen action and civil society around the world. Continue reading
When Uber’s boss fell out with one of his drivers, the video went viral. In the process he’s taught us all a lesson about true responsibility.
It’s pretty ironic, I suppose. The digital revolution has enabled Uber co-founder, Travis Kalanick, to build a business worth a cool $70 billion in just eight years. Then the same technology and a humble dash-cam captured his angry exchange with one of their drivers, Fawzi Kamel, and it went round the world in seconds, thanks to a judicious leak to Bloomberg Technology.
Their argument started over tough changes to the business model of Uber’s high-end chauffeur service and ended with Kalanick uttering the priceless words “some people don’t like to take responsibility for their own shit” – thereby both passing the buck for the hapless driver’s bankruptcy and also – it seems to me – serving as a metaphor for the challenges facing global capitalism today.
It’s doubly ironic coming from such a profoundly disruptive business, Continue reading
It’s not exactly as easy as ABC, but ESG – Environmental, Social and Governance – is the key to investors getting traction on the behaviour of companies they own.
Forgive me if a note of grumpiness creeps into this comment. That’s entirely due to too much Trumpiness at present. But I just couldn’t resist giving a little tongue-in-cheek cheer when I saw this year’s Most Controversial Companies Report from RepRisk.
This identifies the ten companies most at reputational risk from governance problems like corruption and fraud, as well as environmental and social controversies. For once, the rating is based on a rigorous analysis rather than social media chatter or NGO high profile campaigns. The aim of the exercise is to raise awareness of the ESG risks that need to be addressed by global corporations.
To be honest, I’ve become a little fed up with the boosterism of the usual ‘most this’ and ‘most that’ rankings – like the one that named BMW as “the world’s most sustainable company” last year (since when was selling metal boxes powered by fossil fuels a sustainable business model?); or the one that advised investors the year before to back Volkswagen as “best in class… in terms of economic, environmental and social criteria” just days before that motor manufacturer’s systematic cheating caused a collapse in its share price. Continue reading