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New risks are human, new opportunities are complex


The current crisis shows that we are in the midst of a perfect storm and that we need to rethink and restart to stay competitive in the current environment. 

Change will in our view be fundamental and if you do not take that on board, you may fail to connect effectively with your stakeholders.  We believe that the overall Covid-19 response shows that emotion in the end will win over economics, and that companies and organisations that recognise this will have a better chance to succeed. 

Interestingly, the research presented by Leidar’s Lukasz Bochenek in Davos highlighted the importance of the human dimension when it comes to the Sustainable Development Goals, and we share a short video from the discussions here. It speaks very clearly to how everything is interconnected.

Dr. Bochenek presented the research we hosted in the SDG Tent in Davos during the WEF Annual Meeting earlier this year and introduced a panel discussion of leading experts from many different sectors: 

  • Inge Wallage, Director of the European Association of Communications Directors, who has had a great career in different large international companies as well as with NGOs (Greenpeace and International Water Association)
  • Arne Cartridge, Ex WEF and Special Advisor to Yara, where he is a champion for SDG action and alliances
  • Christy Hoffmann, General Secretary of UNI Global Union and a recognised global leader in the global union movement
  • Karen Tse, Founder and Executive Director of International Bridges for Justice

Looking at the debate and the conclusions of the discussion, they cannot be even more relevant now.

  1. There is a need to look at ESG holistically. Linking the environment with human and social aspects becomes paramount for success. 
  2. The risks related to corporate misalignment are huge, from regulatory implications to the loss of consumer trust. 
  3. Fundamental human rights are not a global given. The ethics and long-term perspective build sustainable business environments. 
  4. Communications and advocacy looked upon strategically can play a transformative role for organisations and companies. 
  5. Success and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals depend on the work of all stakeholders.

Post Covid-19 these become even more critical. The companies and industries ignoring the latent societal developments for quick regulatory wins risk it all. The ones with long-term perspective need to prepare themselves for a long and complicated march towards recovery. However, they can come out of it stronger.

All this represents a significant challenge to many companies and trade associations. The extent to which they can make the necessary adjustments will have a significant impact on their influence over the EU’s post-recovery Green Deal agenda.

Rolf Olsen

CEO, based in Geneva

Rolf Olsen launched Leidar in 2010 and continues to lead the company as CEO.  He advises clients on strategy and narrative development; crisis management; and complex reputational issues on a global scale.

Should you have any queries contact us