Within the context of wanting to engage organisations with some of the many global issues affecting society in the 21st century, we have developed a new governance model, designed to support Boards in enhancing their leadership roles and addressing their organisations’ social responsibilities.
For too long sustainability strategies and commitments were focused on environmental issues and predominantly on the reduction of negative impacts. A net positive commitment simply recognises that as well as reducing negative environmental impacts, we should pay more attention to enhancing the positive impacts and value of our individual and collective activities; environmentally, socially and economically. The aim being to achieve an overall position that is NETpositive.
This is a subtle but important change in the philosophical approach to understanding how we impact our environments, society and the economy: in the 21st Century, the need to reduce and minimise our negative impacts is simply a given; and thus engaging people in the process of enhancing society by adding value through direct (and indirect) contributions becomes an inherently more positive approach to dealing with our impacts.
We want to challenge boards of directors to consider how they and their organisations can enhance their communities by adding value through a more nuanced approach to governance and leadership.
...are the founding principles of good mechanics and dynamics, i.e. the practical framework of polices, systems and processes, coupled with positive engagement, human interactions and a culture of constructive conflict and productive decision-making. Once the mechanics and dynamics are established, understood and accepted, a Board is then able to ensure clarity around its modus operandi at fiduciary, strategic and transformative levels.
It is the innate ability to recognise and manage both risks and opportunities that represents the step-change from good governance to NETpositive Governance™: whilst an effective Board manages risk, a NETpositive Board seeks to not only mitigate risk but counterbalance negative impacts by realising positive social value, i.e. by discussing and agreeing at a strategic level not just how to manage risk but how to capitalise on opportunities that enhance both financial strength and business resilience whilst also addressing environmental responsibilities and adding value to the organisation’s community and/or wider society. The success of the NETpositive Governance™ model is reinforced through its cyclical nature, whereby virtue of enhanced financial strength and improved business resilience an organisation can continue to reinvest in its performance and therefore continue to capitalise on opportunities that address wider environmental and social responsibilities.
...should be able to continually realise and articulate the positive impacts that its organisation has on the environment, the value it adds to society, and the contribution it makes to the economy. This is particularly true of socially-focused organisations, such as charities, membership bodies, and other third sector organisations who, through the very nature of their purpose, often inherently deliver social value but do not realise or use the language of net positive and therefore are not recognised or given credit for the value they add to society or for the positive impact they have on the environment and/or economy.
Our Diagnostic and Action Planning Tool
Recognising that Boards may require direction and support for achieving the standards of NETpositive Governance™, we have developed a diagnostic and action-planning tool, which is designed to help organisations in understanding and reviewing their governance and developing a bespoke approach to delivering NETpositive Governance™, reflecting their unique circumstances and specific requirements.
The significant environmental, social and economic challenges that face society in 2020 are of an unprecedented global scale but socially focused organisations can and must contribute to the required solutions. NETpositive Governance™ is not a complex concept but we propose that any Board that makes a strategic commitment to managing its business effectively by focussing on enhanced social value and via the actions articulated in the NETpositive Governance™ model will not only protect its organisation in challenging times but support the ongoing endeavour to respond to those challenges.
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