Arif Zaman is an Adviser to the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC), a not for profit organisation established by 53 Heads of Government in Edinburgh in 1997 to strengthen dialogue between policy-makers and companies in trade, investment and private sector development through programmes which bridge the private sector and governments, developed and emerging markets and large and small businesses. He is leading work on behalf of CBC in three areas:-
1] Updated guidance on corporate governance, with a particular focus on implementation and support, for the Commonwealth Finance Ministers meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka in September 2006, reporting to the Chairman of Shell, UK who chairs CBC’s Working Group on Corporate Governance. In 2003 the Commonwealth received the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN)’s Annual Award for exceptional achievements in corporate governance, the first time it was given to an institution.
2] The development of a trade and investment programme between CBC with the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the lead business organisation for South Asia representing 24% of the world’s population (and 42% of the world’s poor), at a time when the region’s economies are amongst the fastest growing in Asia, a free trade area is being implemented and deeper relationships with China and Japan are developing evidenced by these countries being the first to be given observer status at SAARC ahead of the US, the EU and South Korea in 2007. A roundtable on trade liberalisation in South Asia in Islamabad was held in May 2006 with regional Commerce Ministers and business leaders and a South Asia Trade Investment Forum, the first to be held outside the region, is planned in London on 22-23 November 2006.
3] The development of a trade and investment programme between China and developing markets in South Asia, Africa and the Caribbean involving UNCTAD (ie. on developing South-South trade)
Weeks before the historic summit involving India and Pakistan in January 2004 from which the thaw in their relationship can be traced with its spillover impacts on regional stability Arif Zaman conceived the South Asian Trade and Investment Network (SATIN) with Dr. Mohan Kaul, CEO of CBC. This is now the brand for the working relationship between CBC and the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) and the recipient of core start-up funding from the UK Government over three years from April 2006. Key objectives include encouraging intra-regional trade; the sharing of best practice in corporate governance, private sector development and productivity; and facilitating networks and expanding opportunities for diasporas and ethnic minority businesses outside South Asia to participate in international trade and investment in the region.
Between November 2005 and February 2006 Arif Zaman managed a major programme at CBC for the UK Government (‘Business Action in Asia’) which delivered the main private sector recommendations for the ‘Asia 2015: Promoting Growth, Ending Poverty Conference’ involving global policy-makers, including PM Tony Blair and PM Shaukat Aziz of Pakistan, held with the World Bank and Asian Development Bank in London on 6-7th March 2006. This identified the key future challenges facing Asian countries for sustaining growth and development and established several partnerships and a consensus on priorities for action to meet these challenges. Indirectly, this also fed into DFID’s White Paper on International Development especially in relation to the role of the private sector in economic and social development in Asia.
In April 2006, Arif was a key member of a Bangladesh-British Chamber of Commerce trade delegation to Bangladesh and drafted the final report for the Prime Minister following meetings with Cabinet Ministers, government officials, business leaders, media, the UK and Japanese Ambassadors and visiting health and education projects. The same month he delivered an address on Trade and Globalisation at the First Islamic Commercial Forum held by the Government of Kuwait and the Islamic Chamber of Commerce in Kuwait City. Also in April he was elected to the Executive Committee of the British Association for South Asian Studies (BASAS), the largest UK academic association for the study of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the South Asian Diaspora.
Arif is a business consultant specialising in Reputational Risk, the title of his bestselling Executive Briefing for the Financial Times (2004), written whilst an Associate Fellow at Henley Management College and Chatham House on sabbatical from British Airways which is being published in Russian in 2006. He is one of the directors in the Reputational Risk Strategy consultancy, which has been leading work since 2005 with key professional bodies in raising awareness and building capacity for senior managers in managing intangible assets in the context of changing stakeholder expectations and new and developing reporting requirements (ie. the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, the ACCA; the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators, the ICSA; the Institute Of Directors, the IOD; and the Charity Commission). Reputational Risk Strategy provides reputational risk quantitative and qualitative advice and assessments both directly to companies and through key intermediary partners. This includes a methodology for tracking, measuring and managing reputation; a management tool which converts concepts into measurable value and a risk management approach, combining internal expertise with consultancy challenge; and is business-focused (with a transparent methodology) for engaging the board on the creation and influencing of reputational value. Reputational Risk Strategy is the consulting arm of the world’s leading best practice network on corporate reputation (the Reputation Institute) in the UK through its partnership with Henley Management College’s School of Reputation and Relationships.
Arif is also a Visiting Tutor in the Centre for Board Effectiveness at Henley Management College on the world's largest international MBA programme at Europe's oldest business school where he was originally sponsored by British Airways for his MBA graduating in 2003. Henley is the first major business school to have a mandatory course on corporate reputation and corporate governance in its MBA programme. In 2006 Henley won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for its success in exporting management learning to more than 100 countries worldwide. In 2004-05, he led a strategic review on a consultancy basis for Henley Management College of its activities and plans for India.
Between 1993 and 2002 Arif Zaman was Global Market and Industry Analyst at British Airways, the only person to occupy the role before or since, in which he initiated, researched, analysed and communicated competitor, supplier and customer intelligence globally on an ad hoc and project basis. He led the market research and analysis for the new air cargo centre for the Terminal 5 Public Enquiry and received the leading award from the air cargo industry for his research on global supply chains and agribusiness, subsequently used in a UN study. He also received a ‘Recognising our People’ award for his contribution to BA’s Code of Conduct (now its Statement of Business Principles) and first Environmental and Social Report and Sustainability Policy issued in 2000 under Rod Eddington as CEO. After returning to BA after a sabbatical after 9/11, he led several strategic projects between 2004 and 2005 in BA’s Commercial Directorate on customer, employee, supplier and alliance partner relationships. The latter led directly to the establishment of a joint business by BA and Qantas in Singapore within months of both airlines having their anti-trust immunity confirmed by the Australian competition authorities for another five years and new Free Trade Agreements being signed or significantly progressed between Australia and several key Asian countries. He moved on from BA after 16 years in September 2005 because he saw more change, challenge and opportunity outside, especially in Asia.
During his sabbatical from BA, from mid-2002 to mid-2004, Arif Zaman was invited by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs to join the drafting committee of the European Conference on CSR, a major initiative during the Dutch Presidency of the EU between July and December 2004. He was a member of Mitsubishi Corporation’s European Stakeholder Panel and features in their Sustainability Report 2005 and was a visiting researcher at the Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI), linked to the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) in Tokyo in 2004. He is a member of the Advisory Panel for Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UK and a founder member of the Pakistan origin professionals in the UK (POP-UK) network which works in partnership with the Pakistan Britain Trade and Investment Forum, set up by both governments and leading international companies in Pakistan, in leveraging opportunities in one of Asia’s strongest growing economies.
In November 2003, the month after Goldman Sachs published their ‘BRICs’ report (on how Brazil, Russia, India and China are becoming a much larger force in the world economy), Arif Zaman chaired (and personally part-funded) a major international roundtable on ‘Corporate Brand Risk and Good Governance in Asia’ in Tokyo at the UN University which he devised and developed with the British Embassy, the UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the Japan Business Council in Europe (JBCE), originally planned as a highlight for a UK Ministerial visit by Stephen Timms, MP. This brought together a unique mix of 24 Asian and European stakeholders with a strategic interest in key Asian markets such as China and India and also Vietnam and Pakistan - international policy-makers (including the UK, the US and Japan), global companies (including Cable & Wireless, Ikea and Mitsui) and major investors including pension funds (such as Standard Life and Sumitomo Trust and Banking). Policy-makers who participated in the roundtable chairing individual sessions and helped develop the concept for the roundtable include women at the forefront of their profession - Japan’s current Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs and Sweden’s Ambassador to the WTO.
One outcome of the Tokyo roundtable was a larger project by the UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) in which it established ‘CSR hubs’ (CSR Resource Centres) in close collaboration with local authorities in China, Indonesia, Tanzania, Nicaragua and Croatia in 2005-06. Since 2004 Arif Zaman has led several programmes in Japan and the UK on corporate social responsibility and corporate governance for the Asian Productivity Organisation (APO), which represents 20 Asian governments and is headquartered in Tokyo. This has included three study missions to the UK on CSR comprising of senior managers from the private and public sectors across Asia. A study mission from APO on Risk Management and Corporate Governance is planned in September 2006. In 2005 he was the only person from outside Asia invited to address APO’s 20th anniversary Top Management Forum on CSR, a report of which is being published in 2006. Forum participants were special guests at a meeting with PM Koizumi to mark the 50th anniversary of the Japan Productivity Organisation. In June 2006 Arif was invited to chair the opening session of the 2006 UK-Japan Business Partnership Seminar organised by the British Embassy and the British Market Council which had as its theme Corporate Social Responsibility in the UK and Japan.
Arif Zaman is the author of ‘Reputational Risk: How to Manage for Value Creation’ (Financial Times Prentice Hall, 2004), ‘Made in Japan - Converging Trends in Corporate Responsibility and Corporate Governance’ (Chatham House, 2003) and a contributor to ‘Strategic Thinking in Tactical Times’ (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004). He is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Business Strategy, one of the largest circulation strategy journals in the US, with whom he is working on a special issue on business strategies in emerging Asian markets. He contributed a chapter on Reputational Risk for the British Standards Institution (BSI) primer, ‘The Risk Management Universe,’ (2006) which aims to improve understanding of risk and decision-making in the private and public sectors globally where there is a commitment to ISO standards and as part of ongoing ISO work in the area of risk management (in which Japan and the UK are playing key roles). This includes the development of a major ISO guideline on risk management due in 2008, the same year as the launch of ISO 26000 on social responsibility.
Arif Zaman is involved in a number of community and not for profit organisations and initiatives linked to the fact that his origins are in Pakistan and India and he was born and lives in London, the city of the 2012 Olympics. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and the Royal Asiatic Society and a Director and trustee of the Strategic Planning Society, the Red Shift Theatre Company (of which he is Vice Chair) and the York Society (the University of York’s student travel bursaries fund). He was invited by Business in the Community to join its flagship ‘Seeing is Believing’ Programme on the issues surrounding young Muslims and the risks of exclusion and marginalisation in November 2005, exactly 4 months after the London bombings on 7th July 2005. A full copy of his visit report formed part of the debriefing pack for BITC’s President, the Prince of Wales, whom Arif Zaman joined with others to report back to personally on key learnings and actions in December 2005. He was on the Organising Committee for the first Pakistani Film, Media and Arts Festival in Europe held in Glasgow and Edinburgh in September 2005 and February 2006 respectively, produced by Heer Productions, which attracted capacity (mainstream) audiences. He joined the Board of Heer Productions in March 2006 and is working with Alina Mirza and others on bringing the Pakistani Film, Media and Arts Festival to London in 2007 and then internationally.
Prior to joining British Airways in 1989, Arif Zaman was a marketing consultant with Valin Pollen, a leading financial PR consultancy involved in several privatisations in the mid-1980s (including BA) working directly with the team that subsequently established Fishburn Hedges, today one of the UK’s leading PR consultancies. Prior to this he was on the management training programme at HSBC, a position held for one year before commencement to enable him to serve as Deputy President at his Students’ Union at the University of York, the first (and only) person to be elected twice to the post and the first from an ethnic minority.
Arif’s appetite for international and cross-border learning and appreciation of the wider perspectives that this can lead to emanates from a combination of formative personal and professional experiences - travelling to every continent by the age of 21, being Chairperson of the Overseas Students Association when at University, 16 years in the world’s largest international airline with 10 in a global role, a sabbatical at Chatham House followed by advisory work with the Commonwealth Business Council (where the workforce comprises of some 20 nationalities amongst 30 people) and living in one of the world’s most cosmopolitan and culturally diverse cities.