The 27th Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management (ANZAM) conference got underway this morning. The opening keynote was delivered by Dr Bob Brown, former leader of the Australian Green Party. His talk, Why Global Democracy is on its Way – Australia's Key Role, explored the issue of effective and sustainable management of the biosphere. Brown noted that we humans—all 7.5 billion of us—are dependent upon the biosphere, but it is not dependent on us.
Brown's talk was interesting, in that it highlighted many relevant and important issues relating to sustainability. However, the rather thinly-veiled anti-business tenor of Brown's talk was somewhat naive. He appeared to ignore the societal well-being improvements achieved by high performing businesses over many generations, and necessity of interconnects between business sectors. For example, Brown opposed mining (citing environmental impact and limited employment opportunities) and promoted tourism (limited environmental impact and greater employment opportunity). These industries are actually connected, in that hydrocarbons are required to power the vehicles (planes and ships) needed to transport tourists to a given location. Brown's submissions would be considered extreme by many. Notwithstanding this, Brown set the scene and theme for the conference well.
Thoughts on corporate purpose, strategy and governance; our place in the world; and, other things that catch my attention.