UoL-SIM Lecture 2023 explores the challenges of corporate sustainability strategy
This year’s UoL-SIM annual lecture explored the intricate balance of corporate wisdom, sustainability, and purpose beyond profit.
The Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) stands as one of the largest University of London (UoL) Recognised Teaching Centres, enrolling over a thousand new students in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes annually, ranging from Accountancy to Data Science and Computer Science. SIM takes pride in its robust alumni network, comprising over 45,000 graduates, predominantly from Singapore and South East Asia, who have earned a University of London qualification through SIM.
On 17 November, SIM had the pleasure of hosting a lecture by Professor Wim A. Van der Stede, CIMA Professor of Accounting and Financial Management and Dean (LSE Extended Education) from the London School of Economics & Political Science, titled ‘Balancing Stakeholder Welfare Maximisation and Sustainability Strategies’. Professor Wim, with his engaging delivery, captivated the audience while shedding light on the challenges faced by management in implementing sustainability strategies.
Ms Allene Ng, an SIM associate lecturer for accounting, concurred with Professor Wim, emphasising that the purpose of organisations now extends beyond profit maximisation, with sustainability strategies playing a vital role. She acknowledged the complexities of holding organisations accountable for pursuing more sustainable business practices, citing challenges such as the precise measurement of sustainability performance metrics, issues of controllability, and the realities of greenwashing.
Post-lecture, a panel discussion featured industry professionals: Mr Vikash Hurrydoss, Head of Regional Middle Office Centre – Asia & Australia, Munich Re; Mr Paul Ryan Chan, Head of Corporate Governance and Sustainability at Foo Kon Tan LLP; Mr Mark Wong*, Senior Vice President and Head of Group Strategic Planning, Group Strategy and Sustainability Office at ST Engineering. The discussion, moderated by Mr Oliver Tan*, Co-Founder and CEO of Visenze Pte Ltd, underscored the global awareness and commitment of companies to innovate sustainable business practices.
(*Mr Mark Wong and Mr Oliver Tan are alumni of the University of London, having studied at Imperial College and Royal Holloway.)
Dr Zhang Jianlin, Associate Dean for the SIM-UoL programmes, was pleased SIM had this platform to disseminate Professor Wim’s research expertise to the Singapore community. He commended Professor Wim's exceptional discourse on the conflicts or complementarity of sustainability with the corporate bottom line.
Dr Zhang Jianlin was also heartened that the discussion sparked interest, as he observed, “We are delighted participants left the lecture with heightened curiosity and enthusiasm for the subject. Our heartfelt congratulations and appreciation to Professor Wim for not only enlightening our academic colleagues but also inspiring our students, learners from various higher education institutes, and actively engaged industry practitioners.”
Also present at the event from UK were Ms Elizabeth Aitken (LSE), Dr Maggie Cooper (Goldsmiths), Mr Bill Abraham and Ms Claire Ferone (UoL). They were also joined by Singapore chapter representatives of the UoL alumni association.