Companies that can anticipate the future will be the winners

CHARLES DARWIN said that human existence, in common with all living things, was a constant struggle, where the strong would survive and the weak would flounder. Yet, in today’s ever changing technological world, those beliefs certainly seem increasingly more appropriate in economic and business terms at an international, national and corporate level.

Staying ahead of the game and anticipating the way things are going is vital if companies are to survive, according to Millennium bcp Chief Executive, Paulo Teixeira Pinto, who addressed the Portuguese British Chamber of Commerce recently.

“One of the paradoxical aspects about the times we’re living in is that things are changing ever more quickly and so there’s a great sense of urgency,” he said. “In the future, the winners, whether individuals, businesses or states, will be the strongest, quickest, and most innovative.

“Time is passing quicker, events are moving faster and we’ve changed more in the past 100 years than we’ve changed in centuries on the technological and political fronts.

Things will probably change more in the next 10 years than any time since the end of the Second World War.

“What doesn’t change isn’t news, and nothing is stable or permanent. However, companies must show a certain social responsibility and this doesn’t just have to do with sponsorship. Obviously, companies don’t just exist for sponsorship or charity; they exist to make money, but they do have a social responsibility to do more than what they are in themselves.

“Corporate governance is subordinated to this idea of social responsibility. We have to be a model for social responsibility even though sponsorship doesn’t always bring immediate tangible financial results. It isn’t just to do with image or publicity.”

Bcp grants scholarships for students from limited financial backgrounds and has around 50 students from African Portuguese speaking countries, who are studying in Portugal on bcp scholarships in diverse fields that don’t necessarily have anything to do with the financial sector. “You may well ask, what does this have to do with banking? But a bank, like any other company, isn’t just a bank; it shows little and narrow vision if a company only looks to what benefits its own immediate activities.

“A company, like a person, has a social, civic and civil responsibility. Of course, profits are important because, without profits, there would be no companies and no jobs. But the generation of wealth isn’t just about money, it’s about social and cultural development and we shouldn’t forget this,” he concluded.

By Chris Graeme