New Centre for Governance Leadership and Global Responsibility launched
Professor Mervyn King, Senior Counsel and former Judge of the Supreme Court of South Africa, delivered the keynote speech at the event, held in the University's Rose Bowl on Thursday 1 May.
The Centre aims to act as a hub within Leeds Met for collaborative research across the University, examining global issues in governance and responsibility, across all sectors. It will focus on three key elements: research to develop good practice; employability-focused teaching; and the development of practical tools for effective and responsible leadership behaviours and culture, and for government policy and practice.
Professor Mervyn King said: "Good governance is about the quality of governance rather than the quantity. We need to change the way the world is being led and the way that companies behave, to embed sustainability issues into their strategic thinking.
"The planet is in crisis: we have seven billion people on the planet at the moment and in 30 years' time we're going to have another two billion people; and tonight one fifth of the seven billion people will go to bed hungry. We're going to have another two billion people and our natural assets are finite, yet demand for products is increasing.
"If we think we can just continue behaving as we do, then we have to change. You need to integrate your thinking: for example if you are a beverage manufacturer. If you're not thinking in the long-term how to conserve water, then your business won't be sustainable in the longer term."
Director of the Centre for Governance, Leadership and Global Responsibility, Professor Simon Robinson, commented: "Good governance and leadership is at the heart of successful enterprise and creativity, whatever the organisation. A key responsibility for all organisations is to learn from the governance and leadership crises of the last decade. Business schools have had to revisit their curriculum in the light of these crises. Success is not just a matter of technique but also of values and the communication of values.
"The Centre team is focused on developing an ongoing dialogue and partnership with business, professions and public bodies which can influence and drive governance debate and policy, and enable reflective practice at individual and board level on value-centred leadership and organisational integrity."
Key research themes within the Centre include: intercultural views of corporate responsibility and governance in China; responsibility in the tourism industry; and how leadership and responsibility are best integrated into the Higher Education curriculum.
Mervyn King is one of the world's foremost authorities on corporate governance and sustainability. Professor King is also: Chairman of the International Integrated Reporting Council; past chairman and member of the United Nations Steering Committee of eminent persons who reviewed the governance and oversight within the United Nations, its funds, programmes and specialised agencies; member of the Private Sector Advisory Group of the World Bank on Corporate Governance; member of the Advisory Board of the Central European Corporate Governance Association; chairman of the Asian Centre for Corporate Governance; past President of the Commonwealth Association of Corporate Governance (CACG) which published principles of governance for the 54 countries in the Commonwealth.
Following the Centre launch event was a free public lecture by Professor Mervyn King, charting the developing narratives of governance, leadership and responsibility, and considering the on-going challenges to the development of practice.