Ahead of her opening speech at the Amrae conference 2020, president, Brigitte Bouquot, talks to Strategic Risk about why she calling for risk managers and businesses to do more to address the biggest threats facing society and says that corporate responsibility must mean action, not just communication
“It is no longer enough for businesses to simply communicate about corporate social responsibility,” says Amrae president Brigitte Bouquot.
“They must be fully engaged in the fight so that we can transform the economy and therefore society and maybe have a chance of finding solutions to tackle the urgent topics that we are facing.”
She is referring to some of the catastrophic threats facing the globe today, such as climate change, cyber risk and geopolitical tension. As these risks continue to grow and evolve, she is calling for businesses – and risk managers – to look outwards and do more for the good of society.
”It’s a question of taking action and putting money into programmes to make sure that we are able to succeed against issues like climate change and cyber security.”
She says: “We believe in ‘capitalisme responsable’ which means that businesses cannot only be devoted to making a profit - they have duties and responsibilities towards all their stakeholders.”
She argues that for too long now, companies have spoken extensively about the importance of issues such as sustainability, but continue to stand idly by rather than investing in the risk management and prevent that can make a real difference.
She says: “It’s a question of taking action and putting money into programmes to make sure that we are able to succeed against issues like climate change and cyber security.
“We are entering into a world where the risks are global and interconnected. We are discovering that there are limits to the resources of the planet.
“In the past, the focus has been on the business and being able to deliver increasing profitability, but now we are entering into a new area where it’s no longer about making money.
”What I want is to make companies and risk managers aware of the fact that the former way of doing business in the global recession doesn’t exist anymore.”
“We need to make sure that companies are really engaged in doing true risk management and not only in communicating.”
Her second plea for business and risk managers alike is to take notice of the growing geopolitical tensions and the rise of protectionism and populism. She says that the game has changed and organisations must guard against those who are only acting in their own self-interest.
She says: “We are engaged in a global market and hoping for a global transformation of the world, but today we discover that some powerful entities are not playing for the community, they are playing for their own interest.
“We have to make sure that businesses and risk managers understand this new situation. There is a new tremor for political risks.
“Previously companies have stood aside, believing that politics is the state’s business, but in fact, that’s no longer the case.”
She argues that between embargoes, sanctions, rising populism and tensions between the US and Iran, the world has changed, and businesses need to think more carefully about how, and with whom, they are investing their resources. She is also calling for companies to examine their values and how they relate to the states and businesses that they collaborate with.
“Businesses must make sure they apply all their resources to create better risk management in the world”
She concludes: “What I want is to make companies and risk managers aware of the fact that the former way of doing business in the global recession doesn’t exist anymore. It’s changing and it could jeopardise some of our efforts to tackle the global risks, so it’s very serious.
“Businesses must make sure they apply all their resources to create better risk management in the world. And because big corporates are so strong and so powerful, they also have a political duty to support the quest for new global governance.”