Flew in from London today to Köln for the 8th International Conference on Sustainability & Responsibility, themed around ‘Responsible Leadership in Times of Transformation’.
My session yesterday involved a debate on our recall of the Triple Bottom Line, with challenges from René Schmidpeter of the Cologne Business School. Very energetic audience participation.
A high point of the event was when UN Global Compact co-founder Georg Kell told me from the stage that I had been a great inspiration to him, though he told me later in the day that when I first challenged him early on his role as head of the Compact he was tempted to think of me as an “arrogant bastard”.
The Lifetime Achievement Ward went to Professor Robert Eccles of Harvard and now the Saïd Business School. Also a member of the Volans Advisory Board, as it happens.
In the evening, it was profoundly moving to hear from the city’s mayor, Henriette Reker. The subject of an assassination attempt in October 2015, she has been a brave champion of refugee rights.
Reminded me of talking to a Syrian refugee at the Paretz event, who had come to Berlin three years ago – and found the transition immensely tough. Mayor Reker is a symbol of the best of humankind when faced with the twin challenges of forced migration and acculturation.
She was followed by an extraordinary dance troupe, apparently one of 30 in the city, which spend much of the year practising for the annual carnival. Amazing energy and gymnastics. Uplifting, in every sense.