As a follow-up to the UN PRI/Global Compact/UNCTAD event on the role of stock exchanges in advancing responsible business practices, Marc Gunther, who moderated a good portion of the day’s discussion, published a very comprehensive summary on his blog. A critical thought:
I’m not persuaded that we can make the link between the financial crisis and the need for companies to be more responsible, more aligned with society and better governed. If there is a connection, it’s probably driven—or at least it should be—by a greater skepticism among investors, a willingness to dig deeper into risk and the understanding that neither size nor short-term performance tell you what you need to know about a company.
Mark’s point about risk is critical. There are many lessons from the crisis, of course. But obviously the prevailing risk paradigm was fundamentally flawed. And we weren’t even talking about environmental and social risks yet.