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GC+15 General Assembly Session – Ms. Erika Karp, Founder and CEO of Cornerstone Capital Inc.

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In the final segment, a very exciting one I promise you, we will look first into the world of finance! The world of finance. My great privilege and pleasure to introduce Erika Karp. Erika, please come to the floor. [applause] Founder and Chief Executive of Cornerstone Capital. Did I get the right? Yes. >> Good. [Erika Karp] Excellencies, delegates, colleagues of all genders, it is a privilege to address you. William Shakespeare wrote in "All's Well That Ends Well" that no legacy is so rich as honesty. In speaking of the dynamics of the global capital markets, there are so many parts in motion and so much at stake. For business to be a force for good, we need honesty regarding the daunting challenges of the 21st century. We need honesty about the true cost of business as usual, honesty as we move towards a world of 9 or 10 billion people. We need honesty about the magnitude of the human capital and financial capital that we are going to need to meet the daunting challenges of our day. Healthcare, education, infrastructure, climate change, economic inclusion. We need honesty and we need transparency, and that's what the capital markets will demand of the companies of the future. We need honesty in admitting that neither the public sector nor the private sector can do this alone. Neither can mobilize not millions, not billions, but trillions—hundreds of trillions of dollars for the society of the future. We need a new social contract led by honesty, transparency, collaboration, entrepreneurship, and corporate governance. Investors and businesses need to acknowledge that we are in a world with complexity and volatility higher than we've ever seen and as far as the eye can see. We can let that complexity and volatility paralyze us, or we can let it ignite us. Just as we know that in order to address the realities of climate change, we need technological transformation. To address sustainable development goals, we need business transformation too. We need to transform the companies of the future into creative, productive, entrepreneurial juggernauts. And then we can get the change that we need for the society of the future. We need to spark a powerful wave of innovation that is second to none, like the world has never seen, and then we can do what we need to do. We need the market to send signals to businesses that we need to empower CEOs, boards of directors, and leaders who are true stewards of corporate legacy. We need leaders that believe that entrepreneurship is not about an exit strategy. It's about a legacy. We need a legacy of corporate entrepreneurship. We need corporate entities to be entrepreneurial from the inside and from the outside—large and small companies. That's what we need to drive growth. That's how you turn the economic engine on for the private sector, not by using monetary policy but by capital formation and job creation, and that's how we get to global prosperity. This is why the time is now to embrace 15 years of principles of the Global Compact, the work of George and his team. Corporate sustainability will simply be called corporate excellence one day. It is the relentless pursuit of material progress towards a more regenerative and inclusive global economy. We need boards of directors that are stewards of corporate legacy. We need investors that are stewards of financial capital. There are a dozen factors converging right now— right now in the dynamics of the capital markets that are making this possible. We have unprecedented regulatory scrutiny. We also have unprecedented transparency thanks to social media. We have big data that allows us to turn noise into predictive insight. We have all the pieces in motion—the asset owners, the asset managers, the investment banks, the exchanges, the accountants. All the pieces are in motion now. So we need to be honest about who's great at what. The private sector is great at capital formation. The public sector can create an infrastructure that supports corporate excellence. We can make business a force for good, but we need to have the force of will. And the time is now. And we have this fierce urgency of now, as Dr. Martin Luther King would say. So remember one other quote from Shakespeare, "To do"—excuse me—"Merchant of Venice." "If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, then churches had been chapels, and poor men's cottages princes' palaces." It's easy to know that we need to fix capitalism for the long term. It's not as easy to execute. But the force of will will let business be a force for good. Thank you. Thank you for listening. [applause]

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Language: English
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Posted by: open on Apr 13, 2016

GC+15 General Assembly Session – Ms. Erika Karp, Founder and CEO of Cornerstone Capital Inc.

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