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Building resilience

30 October 2015 by Alexandra Jones

Organisations must be forward thinking and aware of their entire risk profile

The importance of sustainability, in the sense of longevity rather than the environment, has been brought to my attention this month. One worrying statistic, explained by PwC in their article, 'Building resilience', shows that the average age of an S&P 500 company was 90 years in the 1930s, 61 years in 1958 and down to just 18 years in 2012 – which means 75% of the companies in the index will be replaced by 2027.

Yet the lifespan of companies is not so short elsewhere – those in Japan have proven much more resilient to change as it has some of the oldest companies in the world.

Despite high profile governance failings, most recently at Toshiba and Olympus – read more about these cases in 'A rotten heart' – perhaps lessons can be learned from Japan’s deep-rooted belief that success is not solely tied to profit. There is even a word for this in Japanese: shinise.

Underpinning long-term success is business resilience. Organisations must ensure they are forward thinking and aware of their entire risk profile so that they are able to adapt to change and ultimately remain resilient. This is discussed in our news analysis, 'Exposed to scrutiny', in light of the recent Volkswagen scandal and in our interview with Paul Druckman, CEO of the International Integrated Reporting Council, 'Telling your story'.

On another note, I would like to address comments from a few readers who have requested the inclusion of a letters page in this magazine.

Although we are of course happy to reply to all letters we receive, we believe there are several other more useful and immediate forums, such as social media or at our events, where readers can engage with us and, more importantly, with each other. I encourage you to get in touch via these platforms – please use the links at the top of the page.

Alexandra Jones is Editor of Governance and Compliance

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