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Four questions for tomorrow's leviathans

Author: Alison Maitland, Financial Times, Published on: 25 July 2006

The arrival on the world stage of powerful companies from emerging economies, such as Rosneft...and Lenovo...is reshaping global business and giving fresh impetus to the debate about its responsibilities. Will tomorrow's corporate leviathans adhere to common standards of governance, environmental protection and intellectual property rights? Will they use their influence to collaborate with governments and civil society to tackle problems such as climate change and poverty? Will they be equal to the challenge of managing a global workforce comprising disparate beliefs and expectations? Questions such as these will be at the heart of an inquiry to be launched today into the role of global business in the next decade and beyond. The inquiry, initiated by Tomorrow's Company, a UK-based think-tank and research organisation, has the backing of 11 leading businesses including Anglo American, Ford, Suez and McKinsey...BP...Nandan Nilekani, chief executive of Infosys...and co-chair of the inquiry, says he expects social pressure to force big corporate players from emerging economies such as Russia and China to subscribe to common rules...The line-up of participants on the inquiry team also includes ABB, Alcan, Dr Reddy's, the Indian pharmaceutical company, KPMG, Standard Chartered Bank, Amnesty International and the International Institute of Sustainable Development of Canada. [also refers to Unilever]

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Related companies: ABB Alcan (now Rio Tinto Alcan) Anglo American BP Ford Infosys KPMG Lenovo Rosneft Standard Chartered Suez