In November 2010, Hermes organised the first “Future Forum”. The theme of “Corporate Social Responsibility – hype or the basis of corporate success” dealt with the global responsibility of companies in ever more complex social and political contexts.
Guests including Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General and founder of the Global Compact initiative, and Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize winner for his invention of microcredit, spoke on the podium at the venue, the International Maritime Museum in Hamburg. “We wanted to know,” says Schneider, “how sustainability could be incorporated consistently into business strategy in the future. The Forum provided input on how to separate the wheat from the chaff.” There was universal agreement on the fact that consumers are increasingly demanding sustainable products. However, business should not merely react to needs but make things more attractive. “Corporate social responsibility must be the result of fascination,” Hans-Otto Schrader, Chairman of the Board of the Otto Group, claimed. This would make “invisible product quality” the badge of corporate sustainability. The second Hermes Future Forum is planned for 2012. Attending the 2010 Hermes Future Forum (from right to left in the photo): Hans-Otto Schrader (Chairman of the Board of the Otto Group), Michael Otto (Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Otto Group), Kofi Annan, Muhammad Yunus, Hanjo Schneider (Chairman of the Board of Hermes Europe) and Jochen Zeitz (Puma).