Peter Lacy – 60 Second interview
Where have you joined the Smith School from? Accenture, where I lead the Sustainability Services business in Europe, Africa, Middle East and Latin America, and am a member of Accenture’s Global Markets and Strategy Practice leadership teams.
What is your area of research? Sustainability as it relates to Strategic Management and CEO / Top Executive Leadership.
How did you get into your area of research? Strategic Management and Sustainability have been the core focus of my work and practitioner research over the last 10 years. I have worked individually for the CEOs and top teams of a range of Global 500 companies around sustainability strategy and regulation. I led the world’s largest CEO study of its kind to date on sustainability for Accenture in partnership for the United Nations Global Compact with the UN Secretary General’s sponsorship in 2010 (as well as being part of the leadership team in 2007 for the same study for McKinsey & Co and the UN Global Compact). I also lead Accenture’s Sustainability and Regulation strategy group globally serving more than 100 clients on these issues across industries and geographies.
What will you be / are you working on at the moment? I will be working with colleagues from the Smith School to understand the changing impact of sustainability on core business strategy in the eyes of global CEOs both through structuring my own research and experience, and comparing and contrasting with the best academic and practitioner research. In particular I am interested to understand how CEO attitudes and mindsets are changing and what this means for future business strategies and activity on sustainability.
Describe the Smith School in one sentence? For my purposes at least, the Smith School is a world-class knowledge and research hub for bridging the worlds of academia and practice on sustainability science, policy and economics (macro and micro).
What is the most interesting development in your field today? The gradual, if by no means complete or comprehensive, shift amongst CEOs and top business leaders from seeing sustainability as a reputational and risk-driven agenda to being about growth, innovation and business opportunity. In the Accenture-UN Global Compact study of 766 CEOs, 93% said that they saw sustainability as important or very important to the future success of their business and 80% said that they saw sustainability being mainstreamed into markets and business strategies in 10-15 years. That is a very different context to 3-5 years ago.