Christian leads Carnstone’s work on social impact. In this capacity, he helps companies capture opportunities, rethink strategies and improve performance. He has a particular interest in the rise of digital lifestyles, chairing our multi-client initiative, the Responsible Media Forum. He believes in joined up thinking across social, environmental and financial boundaries to achieve long term business sustainability. Christian has a DPhil in Management from the Oxford Martin School and remains committed to understanding the latest research in the field.
Obviously, all companies have a desire to stay alive and be profitable. But above and beyond mere survival, increasingly we expect businesses to play a positive role in society or at least reduce their negative social and environmental impacts as much as possible.
How do such concerns apply to the media sector? What are the key impacts of media companies? How will society hold them to account in the future?
In our newest report, The Future of Responsible Media, we articulate four interrelated challenges, the management of which, we believe, will set ‘good’ companies apart from the ‘bad’ over the next 10 years. We summarise these four challenges as follows:
- The future of privacy – getting serious about understanding users’ appetite for
personalised content vs privacy;
- Coming to grips with being movers – owning up to the fact that media content doesn’t just mirror society, it moves it;
- Becoming organisations without walls – finding ways of managing impacts in an
increasingly splintered media landscape; and
- Managing the workplace of the future – rethinking existing notions of ‘purpose’,
‘progression’ and ‘hierarchy’ as the competition for critical talent heats up.
Further to this, we identify eight social and technological forces that are likely to transform society generally and the world of media more specifically.
The report is based on rigorous desk-research, the collective insights of the 25 companies participating in the Responsible Media Forum as well as input from some of the brightest sparks in business, politics and academia.
We were asked by a major investment manager to assess the state of diversity and inclusion (D&I) among a group of 200 major companies, all listed in Asia and the Pacific.
There is no one way of doing D&I, especially in a region as culturally and economically diverse as this. As a result, there are no established benchmarks or frameworks that can be readily applied to assess performance. Noting this, we created our own template to understand and rank companies’ D&I performance.
Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, the Indian pharmaceutical company, came out top, closely followed by CSL (Australia) and Hang Seng Bank (Hong Kong). However, our findings indicate that the majority of companies in the research universe largely ignore – or at least show no signs of managing – D&I as a strategic business issue. This suggests that awareness and understanding of D&I as a driver of competitive advantage is limited to ‘an enlightened few’.
The report includes case studies and sets out a framework for companies interested in improving their D&I performance.
Large companies give huge amounts to charity. Last year the FTSE 100 handed over a combined total of £2.1bn in charitable giving, approximately 1.6% of their pre-tax profits. And companies are doing great things for, and with, charities – Sainsbury’s alone has donated over £100m to Comic Relief since 1999. Lots of money flowing, professionally managed relationships and plenty of good ideas. All at a time when the charity sector is feeling the pinch. What is not to like?
Our opinion piece in Blue & Green Tomorrow argues that there is lots of room for improvement.
Christian's Pro Bono Work…
The Connection at St Martins
Christian has been working with homeless charity The Connection at St Martins for the past five years. With the Carnstone team, he has helped the board consider alternative funding options and develop their corporate offering. Through regular volunteering at Workspace, he has supported clients in becoming ‘work ready', helping them develop their CVs, applying for jobs and generally being a professional shoulder to lean on.
Christian in our news section…
Blind beauty and gut feelings: what can the arts tell us about sustainability?
The rate of technological change today is so fast that it’s hard to keep up with. So much has changed over the last 30 years; what on earth do the next 30, 50 or 100 years have in store for us?
Take driverless cars. They’ve been on the horizon for years, and yet only 6% of state transportation plans in the USA have taken the technology into account (Ref: ‘City of the Future’ report, Center for City Solutions & Applied Research, 2015). So, more roads and parking lots are built despite their impending obsolescence.
The Age of the Anthropocene is often chalked up to advantages of intellect and logic, but non-rational thought guides so much of human behaviour that ignoring the importance of how things feel is folly. And not least in the world of sustainability, where the success of so many well-intentioned projects boils down to human behaviour.
At Carnstone, we place evidence at the very heart of our work. But finding smart, future-proof solutions to sustainability problems sometimes requires creative thinking. So, we were delighted to partner with Tata Consultancy Services’ Spark Salon series to explore what the arts have to offer sustainability and technology alike.
Sustainability leaders today must offer a prophetic set of skills: as guides to the organisation, they identify risks and opportunities before others do, and set strategy fit for a rapidly changing world. Could an artistic mindset – imaginative, non-linear and comfortable with uncertainty – complement a scientific, evidence-based approach and help those working in sustainability? Can the arts open up cognitive horizons to myriad future paths and help us better prepare?
To further explore the question, we commissioned five talented artists to create artworks depicting our future world. The artists were: Becci Louise (poet); Duncan Cameron (sculptor); Michiko Nitta and Michael Burton (BurtonNitta, interdisciplinary art and design studio); Matt Parker and James Dooley (collaborating in sound and video art); and, Marie von Heyl and Philipp Eberle (art and jewellery design collaboration).
Using technological changes on the horizon, we provided the artists with provocations, or muses, to stimulate their thinking. Over six months, they responded to our brief in diverse ways: some hopeful, dystopian and even absurd, whilst others were disturbingly real.
On 24 January 2017, we opened the question up to wider debate. Over 80 people from across the art, technology and sustainability worlds joined us for an exhibition and panel session with the artists themselves. It was clear they didn’t all agree about the role of the artist: some thought their role was to reflect the world around them, without judgement, whilst others thought that artists could look ahead to important ethical boundaries, warning of trouble ahead.
Whatever the answer, it’s clear that artists nurture their ability to imagine realities beyond the visible, predictable and concrete. Perhaps that’s something the sustainability profession would benefit from, too.
Recruiting Junior Partner
- 28 May 2014
- Christian Toennesen
[Please note that the deadline has now passed for submitting applications]
We are looking for an exceptional individual to join our team. This is a full-time position based in our London office. We prefer the chosen candidate to start as soon as possible, but can be flexible to suit other commitments. The preferred candidate may not have directly relevant experience, but we expect you to be interested in the area of business and sustainability and keen to learn. Experience suggests that you will need:
- A curious and analytical mind, together with the capability to assimilate and process information quickly.
- An easy, flexible and winning manner.
- The ability to communicate in all settings from informal social events to formal presentations.
- Excellent levels of numeracy (possibly gained through a background in science or other numerate subject).
- A talent for writing clearly and concisely, changing your style as required for different readerships.
- An honours degree or higher.
- First-rate IT skills in all the standard office packages.
- Initiative, a real willingness to learn and to be challenged.
Your role will be to work with the existing team on established accounts. You will initially take on specific tasks within projects, but we will move quickly to introduce you to the right people on the client side so that you can share some responsibility for the account. You may also take an administrative lead on some marketing activities such as client seminars and events.
We offer a competitive salary and the chance to join a leading, specialist management consultancy. You will also qualify for a comprehensive medical and healthcare package and contributory group personal pension scheme. The working environment is informal and creative, but we are uncompromising on the quality of work we deliver to clients, many of whom we have worked with for years.
To apply for the position, please send a cover letter and a CV to Christian Toennesen by June 23rd. Unfortunately, we can only offer the job to candidates who are eligible to work in the UK.