13:45 – 15:00 CET : High-level Roundtable: Beyond the bottom line. How can family business advance the sustainability agenda? (in partnership with FBN)

October 18, 2021


Organised by the Family Business Network (FBN), the session addressed key and emerging issues for the family business community, identify strategies, and highlight innovative approaches to ensure impact and a sustainable future across generations. Thus, the family office has become a significant platform for investment and education for families to reinvent themselves and transmit value and assets through generations as they think and act beyond their legacy businesses. As a result, business models that impact the traditional bottom line and are aligned with the SDGs can be transformed through family offices. Family offices can also play a game changing role in reshaping company models to achieve SDG aligned benefits beyond the usual bottom line.

Session Highlights

Strong emphasis was given on shared goals towards sustainable recovery with focus on family business strategies in the pandemic induced world. Estimations reveal that one – third of family business firms operate for an average of six years and only 13 percent lasting for more than 90 years. Continuity in ownership and long term management visions are keys to success for family businesses. It was highlighted by the Panellists that a certain sense of philanthropy in the firm’s DNAs in thinking beyond just profit lines and financial success help businesses augment the much needed sustainable outlook and reputation in the long term.

The dual sense of profit and purpose with an ability to deal with managerial paradoxes are key skills of supervising successful family businesses. As opposed to normal businesses often failing to value tangible benefits, success of family organisations is dependent on natural, social and human capital. A capital’s approach empowers organisations to make decisions that offer greatest value for all – making the business model more sustainable. 

Best case instance of handling social challenges of non-agrarian informal (and migrant) labourers across India has been a recent formation of the Social Compact (SoCo) initiative to ensure safe and secured working conditions for migrant workers across the country. With six to eight corporates and an India based NGO named Dasra, the initiative tries to work on six human centric outcome areas:

  • Living wages for a life of dignity, health social security cover and Grievance redressal mechanism
  • Access to entitlements of Governments trough worker registration, access to medical aid and insurance
  • Gender equality in pay treatment and opportunities
  • Maximum safety against life threatening accidents; and
  • Future scope of work

The SoCo team identify gaps and opportunities of labour practices with the idea of sharing best practices among each other. Over the last year, SoCo has grown roots and wings simultaneously over 40+ companies and 23,000+ individuals; joining hands with 2 apex industry bodies – Confederation of India Industries (CII) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI).

The Christian Social Doctrine of what is fair can be efficient and what is efficient can be fair is really valuable for family businesses with every CEO meeting their board for at least six to eight times a month; for it is imperative that a leader should never feel lonely. Family shareholders should strongly involve themselves in business and capital generation. Furthermore, a Family vision process in churning the ultimate generational goals over the future years helps in developing generational businesses. A clean model based on subsidiarity principle, is much needed, where decisions are to taken as close and possible to the ground.


  • James Zhan, Director, Division on Investment and Enterprise, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

On the panel were:

  • James Zhan, Director, Division on Investment and Enterprise, UNCTAD
  • Farhad Forbes, Chair, FBN and Co-Chair, Forbes Marshall
  • Alfonso Libano Daurella, Chair, FBN Polaris Community and Vice President, Cobega
  • Isabel Hoffmann, Manager, Capitals Coalition
  • Meher Pudumjee, CEO, Thermax
  • Antoine Mayaud, Former Chair, Affectio Societatis, Mulliez Family


  • Alexis du Roy de Blicquy, CEO, Family Business Network