Thinkers50 Top Management Thinker; Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author; Former Executive at startups and Fortune 500 companies
Speaker Rebecca Henderson sees the future of capitalism in environmentally sustainable business practice. The world’s largest corporations are the most affected by global instability, and the most forward-thinking offer models for other companies. Governments, too, can learn from the private sector’s enlightened self-interest. Events that seek a sustainable way forward - economically and environmentally - build their programs around Henderson to gain insights and strategies on driving innovation and sustainable growth through technological and organizational change.
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Sustainability and profit aren’t just compatible, observes keynote speaker Rebecca Henderson: they’re mutually supportive. A stirring and enlightening sustainability speaker, Rebecca Henderson addresses corporate events and conferences worldwide.
Few thought leaders have studied sustainable capitalism as rigorously as Harvard Business School professor Rebecca Henderson. From energy to IT, pharmaceuticals to consumer-goods firms, entire industries are shifting toward sustainable practices to secure long-term advantages.
Her bestselling book, Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire, examines companies who gain competitive advantages through sustainability. Additionally, Reimagining Capitalism was shortlisted for the FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award in 2020.
Above all, Henderson highlights the ways in which companies that adopt “high road” employment models and prioritize sustainability can gain a competitive edge. She cites examples from various top global firms. Those include Walmart, King Arthur Flour, and Unilever. All of them have successfully integrated these practices into their business models. She discusses four key areas where companies can benefit from this approach: building brand awareness through positive online and offline reviews, ensuring a responsible and sustainable supply chain, improving efficiency through investments in environmentally-friendly buildings and systems, and attracting and retaining loyal, passionate employees. Henderson believes that the private sector has the power to drive large-scale change. And that it should pressure governments to adopt responsible policies. She also advocates for self-regulation within industries as a way to collaboratively develop better practices without harming bottom lines and to uncover new opportunities.
Fewer than 1,000 companies produce roughly 70% of global GDP, giving them extraordinary leverage over economic and environmental practice. Therefore, Henderson argues, where governments fail to act responsibly, the private sector can exert positive pressure toward meaningful change.
Henderson is the John and Natty McArthur University Professor at Harvard and a research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Previously, Henderson taught at the MIT Sloan School of Management. There, won the 2001 Teacher of the Year award. Henderson is also a fellow of the British Academy and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She sits on the boards of CERES and IDEXX Laboratories.
Capitalism has become the dominant system for organizing economies and generating prosperity worldwide, but can it also address the significant challenges posed by climate change and limited resources? Rebecca Henderson believes that capitalism has the potential to harness the vast intellectual, technological, financial, and motivational resources available to humanity in tackling these issues. However, the framework of private enterprise, along with the involvement of governments, needs to be reimagined in order to effectively address these challenges. In her talks, Henderson examines the ongoing debate about the role of capitalism in promoting sustainable business and its impact on the future.
According to Rebecca Henderson, driving innovation for organic growth can be challenging for companies, particularly when new markets may appear less profitable than existing ones and organizations become comfortable with the status quo. However, leading companies have recognized that the major challenges posed by climate change and the need to use resources efficiently provide the necessary motivation to focus and act in new ways. In her talks, Henderson discusses how businesses' commitment to solving "big problems" can inspire employees and foster creative thinking and collaboration across organizational boundaries, leading to significant innovation. She shares examples of companies, such as Unilever, that have successfully implemented strategies, such as becoming leaders in sustainable solutions, to drive innovation and growth.
Rebecca Henderson has long been interested in the challenges that established companies face as they try to use technological innovation to transform themselves. She has observed how these firms often struggle to respond to disruptive new entrants in their industries, whether they are entrepreneurial start-ups or established players from other sectors. In her talks, Henderson investigates the underlying reasons for this difficulty and identifies the strategic, organizational, and behavioral changes that can help managers create the right conditions for transformative, discontinuous change.
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