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Simon is a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Centre for Government and Business of Harvard University’s Kennedy School. He founded, and was until recently Chief Executive of AccountAbility, where he established the organisation’s global leadership in sustainability standards, collaborative governance and responsible competitiveness, extending its impact from bases in Beijing, Sao Paulo, London and Washington, and through activities in South Africa and across the Middle East.

Simon sits on the International Advisory Board of the Brazilian business network, Instituto Ethos, the Advisory Board of the sustainability fund manager, Generation Investment Management, and the Boards of the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development and the Employers’ Forum on Disability. In 2003 he was named a World Economic Forum ‘Global Leader for Tomorrow’.

Simon’s work with businesses, governments and international organisations over the last decade has contributed to establishing responsible business on the global map as a core business strategy and public policy issue and practice. His work has included:

  • Redesigning business: supporting leading companies such as Alcoa, AngloGold Ashanti, Bank Itau, Dow, IntelChina, Maersk, Nestle, Shell, and Nike in the alignment of sustainability practices and business strategies, supported through top-team mentoring, performance-based stakeholder engagement and co-design, and research and analysis.
  • Mediating sustainability: facilitating, mediating and convening to drive collaboration between business, civil society and governments, including being the founding Chair of the Ethical Trading Initiative, the founding Convenor of the apparel focused MFA Forum, and company-specific engagements such as with The Coca Cola Company and General Electric.
  • Progressive policy: working with governments from China to Saudi Arabia to South Africa to deepened their knowledge and attention to responsible competitiveness in policies catalyzing national competitiveness, including most recently work with China’s Development Research Council of the State Council on Chinese investments in Africa.
  • International initiatives: supporting international institutions and initiatives through advice and expert panel contributions to the UN Global Compact, the State of the World’s Commission for Globalisation, the ILO’s World Commission on the Social Dimensions of Globalisation, and the UN Commission for Social Development.
  • Collaborative climate management: contributing to the on-going global climate negotiations with policy research focused on business and adaptation, institutional design and low carbon growth planning, engaged most recently through including international climate policy platform, Project Catalyst, involving McKinsey and the ClimateWorks Foundation.
  • Shaping narrative: contributing in shaping thinking and practice of responsible business, including Harvard Business Review article, Paths to Corporate Responsibility, Harvard International Review article, Responsible Competitiveness, and The Civil Corporation, acknowledged as a classic in the field with a prestigious Award from the Academy of Management. Some of his work is summarised in, Tomorrow’s History.
  • Academic contributions through his academic writings and his current roles at Harvard University and the University of South Africa and previous roles as Visiting Professor at the Copenhagen Business School and as Visiting Fellow at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex, as well as contributing to numerous student initiatives and events including through Net Impact and AISEC. His Phd, entitled “The Economics of Utopia: the Democratisation of Scarcity”, was published in 1992.
  • Media communications, including the Financial Times and other leading international journals, and recently on climate change with Brazilian media giant, Globo, and China’s leading English-speaking television station, CCTV9 on Chinese investments in Africa.
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