Journalist Lukwesa Burak spoke with Jonathan Geldart, Director General at the Institute of Directors (IoD), about the road to net zero and their members’ role in getting us there.

The pair discussed the IoD’s special interest group in sustainability — which they are in the process of setting up — and how the UK’s entrance into the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) can impact business, and what needs to happen next.

Here are a few quotes from the interview, as a taster of what came up…

How are businesses adapting to change?

“Well-run businesses are managing the risk and they’re thinking about the future… they’re thinking about it not only in terms of generating cash but also the sustainability of their own businesses and getting the right people to work for them.”

“Businesses have got into the habit of being resilient… but what that’s done is made them much more risk averse. So their appetite for investment and confidence, which is a major driver of investment and a major driver of change in business, is lacking.”

What are signs that a business is resilient?

“Preparation and having a strategy. Be clear about what you’re about; what is your organisation, what does it stand for? Having clear goals, and having proper risk management in the way you run the business…”

“Business as unusual”

“We are a long way from getting back to where we were maybe in 2017, 2018. Business as usual is the ‘now’; it’s going to be ‘business as unusual’, certainly with climate change… [and as] we now have over 4 billion people voting around the world[…]. We have a large number of people going to vote; that’s going to create immense uncertainty. And that’s going to stifle investment.”

On diversity and equity in business

“In the last few years, we’ve seen around a third of new members identify as female, and the average age is mid forties… There’s still a lot more that needs to be done.”

“Diverse boards — be it gender, race, ethnicity or neurodiversity — are really important to be able to withstand the shocks we’re going to see coming down the tracks in the next few years.”

 

Watch more thought-leader interviews from our Imagining the Future of Investment panel discussion here.