How we do business is changing.  There are disruptors in how we do business and how we deal with each other.

Over the last 10 years we had the adverse impact of recession, which resulted in the imposition of austerity in our economy.  This caused significant and adverse impacts on people and as a result some people acted in an unethical and irresponsible manner, thus exacerbating this impact on others.

There is a discernible change where people are now critically assessing how businesses operate and whether or not they wish to trade with them. For those who wish to remain in business in the long term it is important that their Brand is seen to deliver a product, or service that maintains the respect of their customer. This is also very apparent in government and the public sector, where people are beginning to critically assess whether promises are being delivered, or not.

Aligned to this political and economic change are disruptors brought about by three main categories of structural change – demographics, technology and sustainability. These all overlap and both complement and conflict with each other. This disruption poses opportunities as well as threats.

For example, the question has been recently asked as to the responsibility arising from the use of Artificial Intelligence.  I can understand but struggle with the ethical thought behind this question. When are tools that I use responsible for my actions?

Plastics have gone through an era when people enjoyed the advantages of the use of this material, perhaps without realising the impact of this choice. This adverse impact has been brought home to us with the environmental damage that has been caused. Should we take an absolute approach and not use plastics?  But what impact will this have on important health and social issues when better management and responsibility for the use of plastic and its subsequent disposal will negate the environmental impact?

Change is important, it needs to be managed well and should not be something of which we are afraid. Critical assessments of the impact of change and how we manage are important.

How we adapt and react to this change requires careful consideration of how we act responsibly and ethically.

Kevan Carrick – Chairman NIBE