"Sustainable decision-making in a time of crisis: public and private perspectives"

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal

ISSN: 2040-8021

Article publication date: 8 November 2011



(2011), ""Sustainable decision-making in a time of crisis: public and private perspectives"", Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. 2 No. 2. https://doi.org/10.1108/sampj.2011.46802baa.002



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

"Sustainable decision-making in a time of crisis: public and private perspectives"

Article Type: Conference summary From: Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Volume 2, Issue 2

Fourth International Annual Conference of the Asia Pacific Academy of Business in Society (APABIS) held at the United Nations University (UNU) headquarters in Tokyo in November 2010

We are grateful to all those who submitted papers, abstracts and ideas for consideration in this special edition of SAMPJ. Some of the articles in this special edition were submitted, presented or associated with a conference on “Sustainable decision-making in a time of crisis: public and private perspectives” held at the UNU headquarters in Tokyo in November 2010. The conference reflected lessons learnt and being learned from the global financial crisis and from the climate change expectations that challenge and may lead to rethinking global governance. The conference preceded the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2010 Meetings and Summit (7-14 November in Yokohama, Japan) and coincided with the tenth anniversary of the UN Global Compact, and the UN Year of Biodiversity.

Given the birth of the G20 group of nations, the inexorable diffusion of economic power to the Asia Pacific region, and the rise of new organisational forms and business models, the conference in Tokyo in November 2010 at the UNU was particularly timely and relevant. Speakers from various organisations took part including: Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan; Unilever; UNU; Ernst and Young; The World Bank; The International Monetary Fund; Sompo Japan Insurance; Starbucks; UN Global Compact Japan; University of Tokyo; Hitotsubashi University; UK Royal Mail; The Homeless World Cup; University of Honolulu; Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative; and China Europe International Business School. The conference was opened by the President of Birdlife, Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado from Japan.

In line with the vision of APABIS “to build strong cross-sector relationships within the Asia Pacific region […] so that (sustainability) becomes core to business, academic, and government thinking and policy”, the fourth international conference provided a valuable platform for cross learning and relationship building across public and private sectors and an opportunity for finding answers to global challenges. In a time of crisis, it is considered particularly important to learn about the speed, efficiency and quality of decision-making processes. Accordingly, the theme of this conference was concerned with decision making – how decisions are made in time of crisis; who makes them; does the emergency context lead to short-term decisions, sacrificing long-term sustainable approaches? The governments (public sector) want to be reelected, and the corporations (private sector) want to satisfy the shareholders, and they both face the same challenge – how to report quick successes, particularly in time of crisis, when the solutions may require long-term vision and policies. The conference theme focussed primarily on exploring the twin challenges of economic systems in urgent need of reinvention because of climate change imperatives; and governance systems in need of reinvention, applying hybrid global-local models and private-public partnerships.

The conference hoped to advance the premise that while many individuals and organisations from within a range of sectors are working to find solutions, the most effective and sustainable results come from collaborative efforts. This conference thereby brought together representatives from governments, business, civil society and multilateral agencies with their respective competencies and best practices, to seek innovative ways to respond to contemporary sustainable development challenges. In a globalised world economy, solutions can often only be found when business, government and civil society work in harmony. The papers therefore covered broad-ranging issues pertaining to sustainable decision making, discussing such questions as: how and to what extent does decision making differ between the public and private arenas? And, given the imperative for new global governance how can private and public sectors’ decision-making work together for the common good? It considered external and internal factors involved in decision making in time of crisis and explored the balance between long- and short-term planning, goal setting and implementation.

Approximately 250 delegates and speakers from over 20 countries participated in the conference, with a total of 55 papers presented. The conference profiled speakers, ideas and initiatives that signpost new ways of tackling global issues and encouraged submissions that reflected open dialogue and learning between business, academics, experts on business planning and public sector policy, civil society and the media.

Presenters at the conference represented academics and practitioners from around the globe who are well-respected experts in their fields who were brought together to examine the different ways decisions are made in the public and private sectors. Contributions ranged from case studies to more general theoretical and conceptual presentations.

The conference proceedings can be found at: www.griffith.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/331272/2010-APABIS-Proceedings.pdf

Conference convenors:

Malcolm McIntosh, Asia Pacific Centre for Sustainable Enterprise, Griffith Business School, Queensland, Australia.Vesselin Popovski, United Nations University, Tokyo, Japan.Ray Bremner, Unilever, Tokyo, Japan.

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