Belden Menkus shares a podcast interview with Charles Wookey.

Our guest is Charles Wookey, CEO of Blueprint for Better Business, an independent charity whose purpose is to create a better society through better business.

Charles was one of the founders of Blueprint and a key contributor to the thinking behind the Blueprint approach which asserts that people are not solely self-interested and that business is not solely driven by profit. Under his leadership Blueprint has moved from being a small initiative launched in 2012 with a conference that looked at how corporate purpose and personal values could be united to serve society, to an independent charity that is engaged with a growing number of major global companies and whose ambition is to help corporates be truly purpose driven, acting to deliver clear benefits to society as well as delivering long term sustainable performance.

From the outset Blueprint has sought to bring together all strands of society. Charles’s working background across business, government, an economic think tank and, latterly, policy for a major faith institution has helped make this a reality. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant at KPMG in London and holds a BA in Physics and Philosophy and a Postgraduate Diploma in Theology from Merton College, Oxford. Charles worked as a senior research officer at the Institute for Fiscal Studies and as a Clerk at the House of Commons where he was Clerk to the Trade and Industry select committee. He went on to become assistant general secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, where he was principal advisor to the Bishops on domestic public policy issues. Charles is married with four children and lives in Brighton.


Listen to the podcast, Charles Wookey – Blueprint for Better Business, on

Alun Thomas shares a short post on the “green steel” initiative in the UK. 

The first consignment of “Green Steel” i.e., steel produced without consuming coal, just shipped to Volvo. This is one of many such initiatives 

The EU is exploring extending its Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) to the steel industry, levelling the playing field and ensuring that Green Steel has competitive advantage over conventional steel via its emissions trading system, whether that steel is imported or manufactured in the EU.

Cumbria County Council approved the construction of Woodhouse Colliery in 2020. After some delay, UK Government called it in for review. This is about coking coal used to make steel, and not about coal to fuel power stations. Could a green light for a coal mine therefore be reconciled with the nett zero commitment?

There were three arguments for the project to go ahead as reported by Mining Technology. My observations in italics.

The new mine displaces coking coal imported from the USA with a nett CO2 reduction. The savings from reduced transportation are trivial relative to the saving by switching to green steel.

There is currently no alternative to the use of coking coal in steel production. But there will be well within the lifetime of this mine.

It is good for the local economy. There must be better ways to create much needed jobs in Cumbria than those that harm the planet.

Back in 2014, when this project was first announced, the arguments for the project may well have seemed sound to most people. It is a sign of how quickly the world is changing, and why it is hard to change it more quickly, that sentiment has moved against it. Not enough to kill it dead – but painfully, in instalments.


Read the full post, A new coal mine! Or not?, on 

Umbrex is pleased to welcome Nidhi Chadda with Enzo Advisors. Nidhi is a generalist growth investor and advisor across public and private markets. She is currently the Founder and CEO of Enzo Advisors, a global sustainability consulting firm focused on helping companies build best-in-class sustainable business models within an ESG construct and works closely with institutional investors to integrate ESG policies and frameworks across their investment processes.

Prior to launching Enzo Advisors, Nidhi was a portfolio manager at RBC Global Asset Management where she spearheaded the initiative to drive ESG integration across investment processes for her team managing $3 billion in assets under management in aggregate across 3 funds. Nidhi also serves on several advisory boards and investment committees at angel associations and venture funds. She is also a sector lead at Harvard Business School Alumni Angels of Greater NY and a mentor at various tech accelerators (e.g., ERA, XRC Labs, NY Fashion Tech Lab, Endless Frontier Labs). Nidhi has hosted numerous webinars related to ESG – related topics and has been featured across a number of media engagements including CNBC, the Women in Asset Management Summit, ESG Clarity magazine, Women’s Wear Daily (WWD), ESG Today, and Venture Capital Journal.

Nidhi has 20+ years of experience as an investment banker, strategic consultant and investor. She earned her MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Economics from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Nidhi is happy to collaborate on all ESG advisory projects as it pertains to corporations and investors looking to establish any aspect of their ESG roadmap including benchmarking and materiality assessment, reporting against key ESG standards and frameworks, communicating that message to investors through CSR reports / website content, developing a strategy to achieve net zero, and tracking progress on diversity and inclusion initiatives through customized scorecards.


Kaihan Krippendorff addresses corporate responsibility and climate change and why the energy industry is adding environmental practices to business growth strategies.

Our planet is facing an uncertain future. The impact of climate change has reached a point of crisis, and it is up to the organizations of today, and to all of us, to take action.

This week our guest on the Outthinkers podcast, Michael Raynor, author of The Strategy Paradox and co-author of The Innovator’s Solution, emphasized the immediate need for companies to incorporate the climate crisis into their strategy. Also this week, our network of chief strategy officers, leaders from $1B+ companies all over the country, was joined by Chris Marquis, Professor in Sustainable Global Enterprise at the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business and author of Better Business: How the B Corp Movement is Remaking Capitalism. Chris’ work focuses on how organizations are turning ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance) practices into a powerful differentiator and competitive advantage.

Today, we’ll focus on the E of ESG — the environment — and how three trends in the energy industry are leading the way toward a more hopeful future.


In this week’s podcast episode, among his reflections on strategy, Michael shared that the climate emergency is the only thing that matters.

“It’s not something to incorporate into what we do. It’s something to constrain and override pretty much everything we do,” he said.

Michael is a managing director with Deloitte LLP, where he is part of the team working on developing and implementing Deloitte’s two-track response to the global climate crisis. The first track focuses on reducing and eventually eliminating the firm’s carbon emissions, while the second track comprises a portfolio of efforts designed to mobilize larger ecosystems of organizations — commercial enterprises, NGOs, governments, etc. — to generate an impact on the scale of the problem.


Key points include:

  • Heightened focus on renewable energy sources
  • Green regulation and incentivization
  • Decline in production and use of fossil fuels


Read the full article, How ESG Practices are Updating the Energy Industry, on 



Norbert Paddags co-wrote this article that explains why private banking can grow and become more profitable, in a good way.

Sustainable investments continue to gain in importance, driven by investor expectations and regulation. This creates challenges for portfolio management and the pricing of cost-intensive ESG services. If these are mastered, one can do good and earn money in the process.

On March 10, 2021, the “Regulation on Sustainability-Related Disclosure Obligations in the Financial Services Sector”, or Disclosure Regulation for short, will come into force and thus one of the central components of the EU’s ESG regulations. The ordinance, which, among other things, is intended to increase transparency about which financial products are more or less “green”, has been widely discussed in the specialist press, from the setting of objectives to implementation. Even if the goal of reducing “greenwashing” is a very sensible one, some private bankers will be reminded of the introduction of MiFID II and be slightly or more annoyed: additional regulatory effort in the case of requirements that are still unclear and have to be implemented at short notice.

Beyond the fulfillment of the minimum regulatory requirements, which one simply cannot avoid, the question arises for every company how it would like to deal with the topic of ESG now and in the future. A minimalist approach would be to include individual sustainable investment solutions in the range so that the customer can say “We also have something in green” when asked. Even if this approach may seem resource-saving and therefore sensible in the short term, it negates two important points:

ESG is one of the dominant social issues, and therefore also a financial market issue, and will develop into the market standard, which can be demonstrated, among other things, by the growth of AuM

Regardless of how practicable it is to implement them, ESG-related regulations will become increasingly important over the next few years, from investment advice to the identification of EU-specific ESG criteria.

If you follow these two theses, a comprehensive alignment and implementation of ESG topics is necessary.


Key points include:

  • The growth of green market
  • Requirements for ESG portfolios
  • Sustainable pricing models


Read the full article, Do good and earn money with it – how private banking can grow and become more profitable with ESG, on



If you are thinking about building a marketing strategy for the coming year, this post from Kaihan Krippendorff’s company blog may have the direction you need. The “ultimate strategy” is explained and explored. 

Is “be good” a part of your 2021 strategy? If not, you should reconsider.

When I was in business school, we learned that companies exist to do one thing: maximize shareholder value. At Outthinker, we’ve been talking for years about how this belief has become defunct. Companies are realizing that focusing solely on shareholder value creates resistance to growth that ultimately diminishes value to those shareholders.

A better strategy is one that aims to help shareholders by benefiting all stakeholders: the community, employees, the government, the environment, and the world.

Becoming a force for good is the ultimate strategy.

The Pope on Big Business

Last week, in an unlikely pairing, Pope Francis met with a group of businesses, investors and other groups to form the Council for Inclusive Capitalism with the Vatican. The council, whose leaders include Ajay Banga of Mastercard, Marc Benioff of Salesforce, and Brian Moynihan of Bank of America, intends to create a more just economic system and address the biggest challenges facing humanity and our planet. Their commitment to focus on environmental, social, and governance, or ESG, practices in business reflects a growing global trend and a serious step forward for the “be good” movement.

I have gotten to speak with some of these leaders personally, and I can assure you their intentions are authentic. Why? Because they make business sense.


Key points include:

  • Top consumer trends for 2021
  • The importance of company values
  • How to generate innovative strategic ideas


Read the full post, The Pope, Big Business, and the Future of ESG, on 



Dan Markovitz explains why using post-it notes may not be the best way to organize your workflow.

One of my clients, a physician in an academic medical center, has been struggling with her personal kanban. She avoided all the common pitfalls—she kept finished tasks in her Done column, limited her WIP, and used Super Sticky Post-It notes to ensure that she didn’t lose any work to evening janitorial services. But she wasn’t making a whole lot of progress, which left her frustrated with the kanban—it wasn’t helping her manage her work.

A closer look at the Post-Its revealed the problem: giant tasks (projects, really) that had no chance of getting finished in anything less than a few months—in her case, “Work on R-01 Grant,” “Write New Oncology Paper,” “New Patient Intake Protocol,” among others. If you were to scale a note to the size of the task written on it, these should have been about the size of a Times Square billboard, not a 3×3 Post-It.


Read the full article, Why Ping-Pong Post-It Notes are Bad for You, on the Markovitz Consulting website.