Hearing from David Mair – Chief Executive Officer at Republic Consulting & Secretary-General at INSEAD Alumni Association
What were your key takeaways after graduating from INSEAD in relation to having a positive social impact on the community?
While Milton Friedman’s dictum from 1970 that “the social responsibility of business is to increase it’s profits” held sway for most of North American enterprise for close to half a century, being educated at INSEAD offered a far broader perspective. Businesses are a part of the communities they operate in and they need to contribute to society beyond the maximisation of profits to include a responsibility to their employees, communities and the environment. The concept of earning a “license to operate’ was far more prevalent in European business far earlier than elsewhere but as the recent US Business Roundtable’s Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation makes clear, the belief that companies must deliver value to all their stakeholders is now mainstream globally. That’s where I think INSEAD has long been at the forefront for responsible capitalism.
What do you believe are the critical elements for a business to act as a force for good?
A critical element in my view is for companies, the executives and directors who lead them, and for every employee, to adopt a moral compass that is unwavering. It’s amazing what a clear lens of what is right and wrong can achieve. If you wouldn’t want your actions to be seen on the front page of a newspaper somewhere then you shouldn’t be doing what you are doing.
What key BAFG principles would you like businesses in Singapore to embrace?
Businesses in Singapore are already leading the way in many respects but I would like to see a more wide-spread adoption of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The recent announcement of the inaugural Steward Leadership 25 is fantastic progress in recognising those enterprises leading the way, as are the INSEAD Alumni Association Singapore’s Business As A Force For Good awards. The more attention we can draw to these issues, and the more we can celebrate success, the greater the incentives will be for investors, employees and all stakeholders to continue to drive change.
What were the main reasons for accepting an invitation to be an IAA Singapore BAFG judge?
I believe recognition for those enterprises and individuals driving change is an important element to achieve society-wide transformation. The IAA’s BAFG initiative is a unique opportunity to celebrate these successes.
What would you like to see in the upcoming review of the companies who are nominated?
While brochures and corporate videos are nice, I would like to see evidence of real impact in the real world, and a road map to achieve even more.
Meeting our 2023 Judges – Interview series
Post #1 – Diana Gan – Founder of Elementary Capital
Post #2- Kaushik Burman – General Manager & Managing Director at Gogoro India Pvt Ltd)
Post #3 – Dr Vinika D. Rao – Executive Director, INSEAD Emerging Markets, Gender & Africa Initiatives; Asia Director, HGIBS
Post #4 – Mike Summers – Defence & Security Director, Singapore (ASEAN); Australia Trade and Investment Commission; Australian High Commission, Singapore
Post #5 – Nadir Zafar – Chief Experience Officer, Human Capital Leadership Institute
Post #6 – Tan Han Wee – Partner at Ernst & Young
Post #7 – David Mair – CEO at Republic Consulting & Secretary-General at INSEAD Alumni Association
Catch-up with 2022 Winners – Interview series
Catch-up with 2022 Judges – Interview series
Post #1 – Li Lian Liew GEMBA’13 – Director, Corporate Planning at Tan Tock Seng Hospital & Central Health
Post #2 – Apo Ozkececi MCCC’19Dec-S – SVP Commercial & Regional Head, Asia Pacific, Accelya