In This Issue

2012 feels different. Across the world there is a sense that this is not “just another year.’ That sense carries both the hope that we are in some kind of profound transition and simultaneously the fear that there are few signs that we have a clear view of where we are going, or how we might get there.

The fear is fed by a certainty that amongst our political and financial elites, we have not produced a credible solution to the challenge of creating a financial system which serves an economic system after which serves the needs of the world for social justice and environmental sustainability.

As this edition of Global responsibility goes to press, the businessmen, the bankers and the politicians are deep in conversation at the World Economic Forum in Davos – aided and abetted by a plethora of “acceptable activists”. But at its heart, the conversation there remains tragically focused on the traditional 20th century over-arching question of getting global growth back on track.

Back on track? To where? For whose benefit?

The answer seems to be back on track to ecological collapse and a triumphant focus on growth as an end rather than a means to something that matters.

Outside the rarified atmosphere of Davos, the view that the current system does not serve 99% of us and works totally at odds with the interests of future generations is deep rooted and growing. It is a view held equally in the Tea Party, in Indigenous Peoples, in the labour movements, amongst environmentalists, the young and the elders of our communities and increasinglyamongst solid “middle class” citizens – normally the backbone of the status quo. No wonder the Occupy movement continues to expand despite its characterization (inaccurately) by mainstream media as just a bunch of anti-capitalist anarchists.

What we desperately need is globally responsible leadership.

It starts with asking the right questions. Questions such as ‘What kind of world do we want to create together with the extraordinary resources we have at our disposal? ” and “How do we create an economic system which operates on the assumption we only have one planet?” These questions are at the heart of the challenge of our times, not “How do we get Greece to balance its budget (so that the City of London can return to paying million-pound bonuses….)”?

In this edition of Global Responsibility you will read of people who are thinking and acting on this more profound agenda. On page 26 you will see pictures of some of the trees we have planted around the world at our GRLI meetings. We are gradually planting and nurturing a global forest of trees symbolizing people connected by the shared goal to develop a next generation of globally responsible leaders. Leaders who ask the right questions.

It is a slow process, growing and nurturing this forest. But Davos and its ilk confirm every day how much we need it.

2012 does feel different And there is a sense of urgency in the landscape to which we must all pay attention

Contributors

Marielle Heijltjes

Professor of Managerial Behavior, Associate Dean Strategic Development and Internationalization, Director Postgraduate Education

Uwe Steinwender

Senior Manager Daimler Corporate Academy

Arnold Smit

Chair of the GRLI Guardians, Professor of Business in Society