As Chairman of the Royal Dutch Shell Group from 1991-2001 and of Anglo American plc from 2002-2009, Sir Mark Moody-Stuart is as qualified as anyone on the planet to discuss the realities, dilemmas and lessons to be learnt from the last 20 years of corporate engagement with sustainability, ethics and responsibility. In this unique book - part memoir, part confessional, part manifesto for leadership - we hear a unique voice from the front line of corporate responsibility. Moody-Stuart retraces the steps of a remarkable journey from being a postgraduate geologist to being at the helm of two of the largest corporations in the world. We hear of dealings with dictators and prime ministers, colleagues and NGOs, rivals and friends. We travel from Syria to Nigeria; Iraq to Downing Street; and from the machinations of the United Nations to those inside the boardroom of Shell. We see Shell's annus horribilis in 1995 unfold through the eyes of an insider, and how Brent Spar and the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa sent shockwaves through the company, resulting in a complete reappraisal of its mission and principles. We hear about the oil and mining sectors and their complicated development role in areas of conflict and corruption; the way that markets have failed us on climate change and corruption; and how governments need to step up to the global challenges we face. We hear how Deep Water Horizon could have been avoided; what Shell were asked to do by Tony Blair during the UK fuel blockades of 2000 and why they declined; why China is too important to ignore; and why the Global Compact is too important to fail. We hear lessons from a life spent living in 10 different countries and we come to realize that, for corporations, trying to do the right thing can sometimes be almost impossible. We also come to know a deeply ethical and thoughtful leader who has always tried to do exactly that.
"Makes for intriguing reading ... mostly because its author has been instrumental in framing how corporate responsibility is understood ... "One of the biggest risks faced by companies is that everyone starts thinking the same," Moody-Stuart concludes. His book marks a valiant attempt to avoid that trap. The conclusions won't re-write the rules of corporate capitalism - nor will they remove the risk of more anni horribiles in the future. But, if the book persuades his fellow corporate insiders to look outside their shells, then it should edge forward the debate." -- Oliver Balch, Guardian Sustainable Business It is hard to imagine a better guide... by raising the is-sues, and with a perspective based on experience, Moody-Stuart's book provides an invaluable source of wisdom on how to grapple with them. -- Ed Crooks Financial Times "Makes for intriguing reading ... mostly because its author has been instrumental in framing how corporate responsibility is understood ..." -- Oliver Balch, Guardian Sustainable Business In Responsible Leadership, Sir Mark Moody-Stuart sets out his ideas on what committing to those often slippery concepts might mean. He ran Shell as managing director from 1991-2001 and as chairman from 1998-2001 - and was also chairman of Anglo American, the mining group, from 2002-09. It is hard to imagine a better guide. The book is, as he says, not an auto-biography but a memoir that looks back thoughtfully to draw lessons about the role of business in reducing poverty and promoting human rights. It is serious, as you would expect from chapter titles such as "The UN Global Compact", but never dull. The scope of Moody-Stuart's career and the sharpness of his eye mean he has great stories to tell, and his views on issues such as sanctions, corruption and climate change are grounded in experience rather than pre- judice or wishful thinking. Nor is he afraid to make judgments. A damning ac-count of a meeting in 2000 with Tony Blair, when protests by truckers against rising fuel prices cut off fuel supplies in Britain, shows the prime minister dismissing press stories that had been planted by his own press secretary, and joking unkindly about John Prescott being "technologically challenged". Moody-Stuart writes: "Some people may regard these two instances as minor, but they made an impression on me as indicative of the values of the prime minister." As that anecdote suggests, politics and business are inextricably intertwined in the oil industry. Another instructive tale is about a joint venture in Chad owned by Shell, Chevron and ExxonMobil. In 1993 Chevron wanted to sell its stake to Elf, the French state-owned company, for the bargain price of $20m, but Shell wanted to buy the stake itself, as it was entitled to under a joint venture agreement. Moody-Stuart and his wife were taken to the opera by Loik Le Floch-Prigent, Elf's chief executive, who explained during the interval that there was no way Shell would be able to exercise its pre-emption rights to stop Elf buying the stake, because if Chad allowed it, the French government would withdraw its military support for Chad's president. Sure enough, Chad's government blocked the Shell deal, allowing the Elf deal to go ahead. The centrepiece of the book is the account of 1995, Shell's "annus hor-ribilis", which shows the interpenetration of bus-iness and politics first as farce and then as tragedy. The farce was Brent Spar, a redundant floating oil tank that Shell plan-ned to sink in the Atlantic, but had to cut up and re-cycle, at much greater ex-pense, because of a Green-peace campaign that was later found to have -- Ed Crooks Financial Times Seldom does the blurb on the flap of a dust jacket capture the contents as accurately as it does for this book. The remarks deserve repeating here word for word. "Sir Mark Moody-Stuart is as qualified as anyone on the planet to discuss the realities, dilemmas, and lessons to be learnt from the last 20 years of corporate engagement with sustainability, ethics, and responsibility. In this unique book - part memoir, part confessional, part manifesto for leadership - we hear of dealings with dictators and prime ministers, colleagues, and NGOs, rivals and friends. We travel from Syria to Nigeria; Iraq to Downing Street; and from the machinations of the United Nations to those inside the boardroom of Shell. We see Shell's annus horribilis in 1995 unfold through the eyes of an insider, and how Brent Spar and the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa sent shockwaves through the company, resulting in a complete reappraisal of its mission and principles. We hear lessons from a life spent living in ten different countries and we come to realize that, for corporations, trying to do the right thing can sometimes be almost impossible. We also come to know a deeply ethical and thoughtful leader who has always tried to do exactly that." Don't skip over that last sentence. A main attribute of the book is the author's personality, which shines through on every page. He speaks like a gentleman and has a universe of experience. He is the sort of person you would want to have dinner with, and stay the evening for a long conversation. His book is exactly like that without the chance of having a dialogue. Moody-Stuart was born in Antigua in 1940. His ancestors pioneered the idea of a central sugar factory. He considers it a great privilege to have lived and worked in many countries and to have visited operations in some 40 others. He was managing director and chairman of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and chairman of the mining company Anglo American. He is also affiliated with the UN Global Compact, the Global Reporting Initiative, and other public organizations. In this book he faces head on the most difficult questions about the responsibility of companies, governments, and individuals in the process of economic development. He has much to say. Here is but a sample: * More progress would have been made if sanctions had not been applied in Iraq and international companies had been allowed to invest. * Government surveillance of private communications was no great secret to corporations as long ago as the 1990s. * Israel's continued building of settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank is an unacceptable block to any lasting and just two-state solution to the problem. * If the world, and the West in particular, had encouraged continued trade and economic liberalization in places like Syria, this could have encouraged political liberalization * It is easy to cooperate with NGOs who acknowledge that business can play a positive role but who nonetheless may be critical of certain actions. * I have never met someone whom I have regarded as being the devil incarnate; some had that of the devil in them, but they also certainly had a bit of ... 'that of God', even if they kept it well under wraps. * The US Dodd-Frank legislation requires no commitment from the country concerned and unlike the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative does not address the issue of what happens to the money paid out by companies. * Public outrage is a very powerful weapon. Unfortunately it is somewhat capricious and does not necessarily hit the most egregious offenders but rather those who happen to be visible or prominent. In this it has many of the characteristics of a lynch mob ... . Moody-Stuart says this about his career: "I have always regarded the finding and provision to the world of reliable and low-cost energy to allow economic development as an entirely worthwhile occupation. Although more latterly the impact of fossil fuels on the global climate has meant that we now know this cheap and reliable energy comes with clear downsides, this is a matter to be addressed, not regretted, given the role of energy in development for the past century." He has much more to offer about the insidious effects of corruption, about the attitudes and behavior of government leaders, and about governance in corporations. Moody-Stuart is kindly, candid, and committed to higher values and principles. His book contains the most meaningful and revealing insights on sustainability ever written by a corporate executive. -- Crosslands Bulletin ... the most meaningful and revealing insights on sustainability ever written by a corporate executive. -- Crosslands Bulletin Sir Mark Moody-Stuart's book on "Responsible Leadership" is that of a practitioner - a captain of industry that has held top board and executive positions, mainly in the extractive industries but also in financial sector. For anyone who has heard Sir Mark speak on these issues over the years, the book succeeds in conveying the warmth and charisma of the author. For readers new to the field, his credentials alone will draw them in, but so too will the story-telling and common reference points: from Colin Powell to Tony Blair. The book succeeds in giving an insight into how corporate leadership works at the highest level and how business responsibility can be made real. Whilst it does focus on corporate governance, policies and practices, it is essentially a book about individuals. The reader gets a sense of the charm of the man, and his wife Judy, from the tea party with protestors (filmed as part of Joel Bakan's Corporation film) to the fact that the main family car is a Prius. But Sir Mark mentions in passing that he also covets a classic Aston Martin. What is there not to like? But the two cars might be seen as unintended metaphors. Global environmental and human rights values (the Prius) but also that you do not rise to the top of a number of institutions without political acumen and competitive instincts (the Aston Martin). Occasionally, Sir Mark does disclose some of tensions and dilemmas that must have existed between the two sets of archetypes. But given it is a biography - perhaps it would have been good to hear more about the sports car as well as the hybrid to understand why so few CEOs (with some notable exceptions such as Anita Roddick or Paul Polman) have yet followed such a path. What we don't get are enough deep insights, covering multiple pages, about how particular tough decisions were made. I have sat in some of the same rooms, occasionally on the same speaker's panel, as Sir Mark over the years from my time at The Body Shop onwards, and so there are parts of his history I recognise first hand. Those wishing to get fresh insights into how and why Shell playing its hand the way it did in Nigeria during 1995 (in the days leading to the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa by the Abacha regime) might be disappointed not to learn more. What comes across in abundance, is Sir Mark's love and deep understanding for countries as diverse as Nigeria, Malaysia, Oman, China and Turkey and his respect for the respective cultures and traditions. He does so without being a cultural relativist. His reading of events in Syria, Iraq and Palestine/Israel are hard to disagree with, so too his anger at how the West has responded to them. For this reason alone, it is a compelling book. There were times in the past when I always wondered if Sir Mark really believed in the universalism of human rights, but the book clearly makes the case for why multinational corporations need internationally-recognized values and principles to guide them. Sir Mark evokes the earlier work of another knight, Sir Geoffrey Chandler, also previously of Shell (who went on to form Amnesty International's first business and human rights group) and, of course, the more recent work of John Ruggie. The mixed benefits of economic sanctions are explored and again with much sympathy for countries such as Iran and the book reminds how international companies can be better models of tolerance, diversity and respect than many other institutions are. The strengths of the book are perhaps also its weaknesses. It is firmly in the camp of those biographies that ascribe much importance to the personality, trust and relationship between the leaders. The book evokes a world of elites - where business leaders and politicians rub along and judgements of personal character and integrity are made. We get some sense of other leaders that perhaps Sir Mark did not like, such as Tony Blair, but this is based more on personality and style than a critique of Blair's own model of responsible leadership. The book accurately portrays organizations (whether a business, government or an NGO) as a collection of individuals but also sometimes falls into stereotypical prejudices never-the-less (such as when describing the motivations of lawyers taking cases against companies under the US Alien Tort Claims Act). The book will play an important role in bringing other leaders into the loop - showing how environmental and social leadership are increasingly essential for those wishing to maintain social licence. It rightly points out the central role that multi-stakeholder approaches need to play - governments, business and NGOs sitting down together to tackle complex issues from conflict to revenue transparency. However, the book stops short of offering any yardstick by which the reader might be able to evaluate such multi-stakeholder initiatives. The initiatives are all treated equally, with a particular fondness for the important work of the UN Global Compact. In reality the governance and accountability of the multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) that Sir Mark mentions vary dramatically, as do their perceived legitimacy by civil society. The book does not offer the reader enough of a clear road map for how the United Nations or any other institution should develop MSIs or public-private partnerships moving into 2015 and beyond. But it is perhaps unfair to expect this all in one book. One of Sir Mark's greatest contributions to the policy space, in my opinion at least, is his clarity on the need for regulation as well as voluntary approaches. He rightly points out the reasons why business loathes bureaucracy and red-tape, but also is very clear that business is poorly served by government if it refuses to enforce the rules of the game, including the protecting the longer-term interests of society and the environment. I remember him speaking eloquently on the need for globally enforceable targets on renewable energy in Bali and Johannesburg in 2002, and the way that he was able to combine efforts with Greenpeace and The Body Shop on this issue, despite the differences of earlier years on issues such as Nigeria and the Brent Spar. Given that many of the countries that Sir Mark describes with some affection in his book have recently voted to explore the need for a binding international treaty on corporate accountability within the UN system, the politics surrounding responsible leadership are likely to increase. If he can be persuaded, perhaps Sir Mark can play an important role with leaders of all backgrounds to once again set aside some of the polemics. There are some fundamental issues that the book leaves largely untouched, such as society's perceptions of corporate power and impunity, where many political leaders in the Global South are taking an increasingly strident view and the captains of industry of remain largely silent. -- John Morrison, Institute for Human Rights and Business, Lawyers for Better Business Blog
Number Of Pages: 382
Published: 1st March 2014
Dimensions (cm): 24.41 x 16.13 x 2.67
Weight (kg): 0.74