Sometimes, as a non-CEO, I find it daunting to think of the legion of areas that a CEO must deal with. Not only does he or she have to deal with the juggernaut that is AI and automation and the implications around that, but there’s also rapidly changing employment trends; ongoing growth of the business and its people; increasing sensitivity around customers’ privacy; diversity in all its forms; gender balance and the very big geopolitical strategic picture. There’s also the shift in corporate reporting towards a more holistic style where environmental, societal and governance are seen as part of a company’s ongoing risk management strategy.
This is the focus of our lead story this issue where we delve into how one company is hoping to drive real change through consumers putting a dollar value on their own sustainable and ethical values. It’s a hugely interesting area on a number of fronts as a growing number of people want to spend their money with companies who are doing good things in the world. And they want to work for those companies too. See page 6.
We also take a look at AI and the ethical implications around transparency. As the article on page 10 notes, we must know how an AI system comes to one conclusion over another and have confidence in that process. Companies must be able to explain the foundation of their algorithm’s decision-making process. I’d certainly want to know if an algorithm reaches the decision to turn me down for a loan or decides I am an unacceptable insurance risk.
Another area CEOs will be turning their attention to is the European Union’s General Data Protection Rules (GDPR) which will impact on any international organisation handling personal data of anyone in the European Union, and that will include New Zealand companies. We’ll be following up on this in a coming issue to see who has been impacted here and how they have dealt with these new privacy rules, so if you have been involved in anyway we’d love to hear from you.
Have a good month.