Thomson Reuters Foundation Trust Conference 2019

On November 13th, Mohamed Amersi was invited to speak at the annual Trust Conference hosted by The Thomson Reuters Foundation in London.

Mohamed spoke on a Panel called ‘Taking Responsibility: The Need to Create More Inclusive Economies’ moderated by Paul van Zyl, co-founder of The Conduit. alongside Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, CEO, E.L. Rothschild LLC, and Founder, Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism, Joanne Kubba, Senior Director of Public Policy for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Uber and Sinéad Burke, Educator and Advocate of Inclusive Design.

The panel discussed why capitalism is broken and Mohamed was tasked with suggesting some fixes. Before sharing his ideas towards a solution, Mohamed shared his interpretation of responsible leadership, handed down to him through generations of family from his great-grandfather in 1874. The Amersi principles of responsible leadership require paying service to each of the S’s: Supreme Creator, Shareholder, Supplier, Servant, Served, State, Surroundings and Society.

To illustrate the current state of the unequal world we live in, Mohamed offered an analogy of an apartment block:

“Consider the American economy as a large apartment block. Until 30 years ago it was the object of envy, but in the last generation its character has changed. The penthouses at the top get larger and larger, the apartments in the middle are squeezed, and the basements at the bottom are flooded – and the elevator no longer works. The very rich do not become poor and the very poor cannot become rich.”

In an effort to simplify a complex, overwhelming problem, Mohamed described a solution to humanise capitalism, comprised of 14 actionable elements to balance true free enterprise with a sustainable environment, providing equal opportunities and benefitting all stakeholders. The checklist for change hopes to encourage responsible leadership from across corporations globally to rebuild trust between business and society.

  1. Focus on meritocracy, treating women fairly with respect and dignity;
  2. Plan and act generationally by investing seed capital for the success of future generations;
  3. Nourish the entrepreneurial spirit by promoting business ventures ethically and transparently, free from the politics of patronage;
  4. Focus on job creation before stock prices;
  5. Deliver real impact across the 4 Ps: People, Planet, Profits and Purpose;
  6. Insist on stable and predictable regulatory frameworks, permitting business to design and implement responsible and sustainable business models;
  7. Ensure that the multiple of executive pay to employee pay return to the decent and fairer levels of the 80s and 90s;
  8. Negate short-termism by business and government alike;
  9. Stop CEOs from sending jobs offshore, from concentrating on decisions that will move the company’s share price such as share buybacks and from investing in technologies which benefit ever-fewer people;
  10. Recognise all forms of capital, including human, intellectual, natural and social capital as well as material and financial capital;
  11. Work jointly with the accounting and investing ecosystems to ensure that companies are valued not only by taking into the cost of financial capital but all other forms of capital;
  12. Ensure taxes are not avoided or evaded;
  13. Embrace a ‘Zero tolerance for corruption’ policy; and
  14. Replace voluntary CSR and philanthropic donations with a wealth tax