In this episode of the International Resource Panel (IRP) Webcast Series: What does the Global Future hold, the IRP invited Joanne Yawitch, Chief Executive Officer of the National Business Initiative (NBI), to discuss what she sees on the horizon in terms of the future of "Businesses and Investment". She spoke about the key risks and opportunities and how the risks can be managed and opportunities achieved. The webcast included a talk and a Q&A session.

Recording of the webcast

Quotes from the webcast

“The way that we produce and consume is having serious consequences on the environment."

"The questions for business over the last year and a half in South Africa has been largely about two points: firstly, how does business carry on functioning in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and uncertainty; and secondly, what is the responsibility of business towards its key stakeholders, workers and customers and how do we locate ourselves within the broader society and what should we be doing?"

"There is a set of issues around leadership and the role of business that we need to address. For me there are four C’s that have characterized businesses that have managed to make a positive impact in this context:

  • Firstly, courage, the ability to step out alone if you need to

  • Secondly, competence, because the technical capacity, the expertise, the professional abilities are all really important in solution finding.

  • Thirdly, curiosity, over the last years, the business leaders, who have been willing to ask questions and to find new answers and to go into places that they didn’t think of, are the ones who have been the most successful.

  • Lastly, collaboration, the fact that while you are operating in a competitive environment, you also can understand what is the common good and what does it take to work with others in order that what you achieve is a much greater set, has a much greater impact, has a systemic impact and is to the benefit of all."

“There is a renewed conversation around environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) that has emerged internationally last year. It is important that it is seen as something in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals on one hand, and on the other, it is seen as a central strategy in the future of business.”

Speaker - Joanne Yawitch

Joanne Yawitch has been the Chief Executive Officer of the National Business Initiative (NBI) since March 2011, having previously been Deputy Director General for Climate Change in the Department of Environmental Affairs with responsibility for Environmental Quality and Protection, as well as for the Department’s Climate Change work.

Joanne worked for the Gauteng Department of Environment from 1997 to 2004 and prior to that was Special Adviser to the then Minister of Land Affairs.

Joanne is currently the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of South African National Parks and is a Board Member of SAFCOL as well as the Chair of their Social and Ethics Committee. Joanne ́s expertise lies within business and sustainability, business and government collaboration, climate change and climate change negotiations.

Learn more about the IRP Webcast Series: What does the Global Future hold?