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“Build sound relationships with each other, based on mutual respect and not on mutual suspicion.”

Interview with Sir Mark Moody Stuart

In January we spoke to Sir Mark Moody Stuart, Chairman of Hermes Equity Ownership Services and director of Accenture and of Saudi Aramco. Amongst many other impressive roles, he is Chairman of the Innovative Vector Control Consortium for combating insect borne disease and was Chairman of the Global Business Coalition for HIV/AIDS from 2002-2011. Sir Mark Moody Stuart will also be speaking at the 15th IACC in Brasilia in November 2012.

 

If you could describe your aspirations for 2012 in one word, what would it be?

Recovery. For all the problems with the present system it is much easier to fix them if economies are growing and people have livelihoods. There would of course be a danger that we simply go back to our old ways, but I think that would be a risk worth taking given the damage being caused by continued economic stagnation and uncertainty.

 

2012 may be a year of leadership change in many countries, notably in USA, France, China and Russia. What would be your key request to the new leaders?

I would ask that they build sound relationships with each other, based on mutual respect and not on mutual suspicion. They should work together to build agreement on freeing global trade to the benefit of almost everyone in the world.

 

In the context of emerging powers like the BRICS, what role would you like to see these countries playing in terms of global governance?

I think that they are already having an impact by not automatically supporting the tendency of the United  States and Europe to apply sanctions to all those countries whose opinions nd approaches differ. I believe the world would be a better place if instead of trying to isolate countries we encouraged to open their economic systems and encourage responsible investment in them. The resulting changes in society would have more positive impact and less damage to populations than a policy of isolation.

 

Protests all over the world have shown that people are lacking trust in their leaders, governments and financial systems. The 14th IACC’s focus was on Restoring Trust – Global Action for Transparency – What do you think has to be done at the next edition of the IACC in Brazil this year to follow up on issues of trust?

Transparency alone is not enough, although it is a very good start. We need to build coalitions of different parts of society to address issues. In the last fifteen years or so we have seen many initiatives which bring together business, civil society organisations, labour unions and sometimes governments – local or national – to address specific issues. These have to do for example with trade (Sustainable Fisheries or the Forest Stewardship Council), with human rights (the Voluntary Principles for Security and Human Rights), with project loans (the Equator Principles) or with corruption (the EITI). None of them is perfect, but these initiatives have been able to demonstrate that real progress on a global scale is possible. The largest such initiative is probably the United Nations Global Compact, which brings together about seven thousand corporations and a large number of civil society and labour organisations committed to implementing in their operations the main UN conventions on human rights, working conditions, the environment and corruption. There are now UN Global Compact Local networks in around a hundred companies.