With the decade drawing to a close, Mint has been inviting corporate leaders and policymakers to share five ideas that will impact the next 10 years. Suresh Narayanan, chairman and managing director, Nestlé India, tells Shuchi Bansal that businesses will have to prove their commitment to community, consumer and planet in the coming decade.
BUSINESSES WITH PURPOSE, ETHICS
Purpose will no longer be “nice to have" but a need-to-have that is built into every aspect of business. Purpose will speak of a higher cause that inspires and nudges individuals towards greater trust and responsibility. Consumers are looking for companies they can trust and look up to as torch bearers of ethical conduct and as having social impact. Business will have to stay committed to community, consumer and the planet.
SUSTAINABILITY WILL BE KEY TO SURVIVAL
Climate change is one of the biggest challenges. The decade will see the introduction of products with lower carbon footprint, and a move to alternative packaging. The power to accelerate this change will require a multi-stakeholder approach, bringing industry, government, multilateral agencies and local community to collaborate and monitor progress, laying the foundation for a better world.
CONSUMPTION WILL BE MORE CONSCIOUS
Social impact, product quality, traceability, fair treatment of stakeholders and safety will be parameters that will drive long-term relationships with consumers. Business will need to lay more emphasis on operating transparently and communicating with honesty. Corporates need to walk the consumer journey and not have the arrogance to assume that “consumers will walk the corporate journey".
DIVERSITY AS AN ECONOMIC NECESSITY
Diversity and inclusion cannot be an afterthought or a boardroom conversation. It is an economic necessity. Companies must be keen to embed diversity and inclusion in their cultures. Diverse ideas and experiences enrich us, fuels creativity and innovation to inspire us. Firm policy, commitment and demonstrable actions will drive inclusion. Companies will view it as a business imperative.
FOCUS ON FOOD SAFETY FOR USERS
India is a leading producer of food, and food safety is vital to improving public health. Policies and actions must cover the entire food chain, from farm to fork. There should be collaborative efforts by regulatory bodies and the private sector to focus on the health of consumers. Firms need to foster practices that can have ripple and synergistic effects on the rest of the ecosystem.