Facing Recession, Leaders Debate 'Creative Capitalism' at the 2nd Global Business Leaders Forum 2008

Mumbai: "Creative Capitalism means to build sustainable business which is responsible and which meets all short term and long term needs of the stakeholders", accentuated Paul Skinner, Chairman, Rio Tinto and Chairman CBC UK at the 2nd Global Business Leaders Forum, organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in partnership with Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) at Mumbai.

"Having a distinct business model and value proposition; making strong local presence; global connectivity; contributing to sustainable development and continuous review, reinvention and global benchmarking are the key levers for building world class corporations" said Skinner, which according to him would help in building world class corporations.

KV Kamath, Vice President CII and Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, ICICI Bank took the discussion from the micro level to the national and macro level. "There are numerous challenges which growing economies face today. How India will meet these challenges will make the difference", said Kamath. He further set examples of countries like Japan, Taiwan and China, which have seen double digit growth during last 10- 15 years. "Today in India, we have a paradigm of growth. Challenge is not only to do business in a profitable manner but also to ensure that it is inclusive and responsible", said Kamath. He further stressed on competitiveness, productivity, human resource and importance of sovereign wealth funds as the determining factors in the growth of developing economies.

"Creative capitalism suggests best way to combine social capital and social enterprise", said Dr Anil Khandelwal, Chairman and Managing Director, Bank of Baroda. He suggested detailed pointers to build responsible global corporations, as below

  •  Increasing commitment to social responsibility
  •  Health
  •  Cleanliness
  •  Education
  • Vibrant focus on indian farming community
  • Promoting small and medium size units
  • Institutionalising governance mechanism and focus on developing skilled human resources.

At the second session of the Forum titled "Social Inclusion to Social Capitalism", Rahul Bajaj, erstwhile President of CII and Chairman, Bajaj Auto Ltd, said, "Social inclusion requires businesses to change, government to change and individuals to change". He further questioned whether inclusive growth as a corporate objective is possible and affordable. He specified that various factors such as infrastructure provided by the government, ending of intrusive regulation were prerequisites of making inclusive growth a reality. He stressed that each one should produce more than one consumes to survive in our economy.

Mohan Kaul, Director General, CBC, emphasised "Today despite significant growth we see increasing gaps between haves and have-nots. In order to build world class corporations, we have to develop successful strategies by experimenting, outsourcing and innovating".

Speaking on the financial sector contributing to social capitalism, Gary Hoffman, Vice Chairman, Barclays Bank Plc, UK said that clear, sustainable and accessible alternatives have to be made available. "The bottom line is to make an accessible financial system. We need to work together, to have capabilities and capacities and to use products and services successfully as per demand." "How we can develop social responsible business is not about philanthropy but an opportunity to develop the market together", concluded Hoffman.

Richard Laing, Chief Executive Officer, CDC Group plc, UK furthered the discussion by highlighting the role played by today's national and global banks. "We see multinationals and other banks reaching to the masses through microfinance. This provides commercial opportunity to these banks. Market based altruism is more sustainable than pure altrui