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The Stationers' Company
The City of London Livery Company for the Communications and Content Industries


25 MARCH 2022

Ethics thought leadership underpins the sustainability agenda, ahead of 2022 Innovation Excellence Awards

Environmental matters, social impact, inclusion and diversity – collectively known as ‘sustainability’ - are increasingly high on business agendas, and companies that merely pay lip service to ethical considerations may end up forfeiting long term success.

Several years ago, Diversity, Environment and Inclusion (DEI) considerations were seen as ‘soft’ optional extras that could be easily dismissed. This is no longer the case, as the sustainability agenda has accelerated rapidly over the last two years, along with increasing expectations from the public, and from government bodies across the globe.

A thought leadership seminar, organised in partnership with Kogan Page Publishers, on the topic of ‘Ethical business growth – the role of Innovation’ explored this issue. Sheree Atcheson, Professor David Grayson, and Nathalie Nahai brought their experience in software engineering, business academia, and web psychology to the panel, and delivered some practical suggestions businesses might implement to make a change and spur innovation in an ethical way.

Looking at how companies create environments where innovation is done ‘well’, and even whether ‘tech could get us out of a hole’ the speakers stressed how essential it is that individuals in the workforce can express professional opinions freely, and that employees are secure in the knowledge these opinions will not be taken as career-limiting. They reiterated that trust and inclusion are precursors as companies look to innovate.

On a practical level, Sheree Atcheson outlined a ‘Four Cs’ framework that can be used to check whether companies behave ethically. In short, whether business leadership has made a Commitment inside the company and beyond to explicit ethical practice; whether this is Congruent in word and deed; whether it is Consistent, and whether the company is Coherent in its behaviour. Professor Grayson suggested smaller companies might benefit from looking at the ‘Good business charter’, created by Julian Richer together with the CBI and TUC, which promotes safe and healthy workplaces. Nathalie mooted companies should review the level of real autonomy employees were given, and check if they were given the correct skills and sense of belonging to fully contribute to company success.

Their collective view – which ranged from the pros and cons of data use to best practice management skills - was that leadership underpinned by thoughtful reflection, and absorption of diverse employee voices, has a highly beneficial impact on creativity, innovation, and success. It was summarised that sustainability generates a superior way of running businesses in the longer term.

With businesses now more actively than ever embracing ethical sustainability agendas, the seminar provided a cornerstone of thought leadership for the Stationers’ Company annual Innovation Excellence Awards, which recognise Innovation in the Content and Communication Industries and deliver six awards for each of the areas which ‘move the dial’ in business innovation. The Awards are:

  • Business Process
  • Communications and Marketing
  • Customer Experience
  • Product Design
  • Service Development
  • Start-ups

With the closing date of 8th April on the horizon, the Company encourages those actively pursuing sustainability agendas to enter for 2022.

The awards are FREE to enter and companies do not need to be affiliated to the Stationers’ Company. Sponsors of the Awards this year are Picon and Mathys and Squire. Online entry form is liked  here . The closing date for entries is 8 April 2022 (8pm). The awards presentation will take place in Stationers’ Hall on 13 September 2022.

If you would like to watch the recording of this session, please click here.