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I recently had the privilege of participating in a discussion about the contribution of the Responsible Business Project to the advancement of business practice in Australia. It made me think about how far we have come since the 2006 inquiry into corporate responsibility by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services.
Here’s my report card.
Jonathan Dutton is Managing Director of CIPS Australia, the peak body for the procurement profession.
The re-arrival of carbon on the federal government agenda, firstly as a tax and, secondly, in time, as an emissions trading scheme, has had all manner of organisations reaching for their files from two years ago and dusting them off. Despite the long legal road yet to travel through Parliament and the Senate, carbon tax/emissions trading increasingly have an air of inevitability about them.
But business is not yet ready. They were going to be ready of course, but the failure to get the legislation through the Senate the first time, the shambles of Copenhagen in December 2009, and the pre-election promises to do nothing, soon killed the momentum. But, coming again it surely is – sooner or later. In any case, it is not just a compliance issue, nor even a risk issue. Simply, consumers (and employees for that matter) are demanding sustainable solutions.
Former NZ PM Helen Clark said at the CIPSA event in Sydney in June 2007 that consumers would in the future punish organisations that did not offer a sustainable solution. She was right then, and will still be right in future. Sustainability is set to become part of our marketing process due to customer needs to buy green. As Hillary Clinton said during the GFC – “the world’s shoppers are still buying green.” Organisations will have little option but to embrace carbon management and sustainability in general in the long run. Indeed they may even need to broaden their contribution to meet the even wider context of social responsibility.
Rick is a Consultant at the Australian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility (ACCSR). He previously worked with PwC Australia where he was recognised as joint winner of the CSR Champion of the Year Award in 2010.
In my last blog – Why CSR champions remain an untapped resource in many organisations – I argued that CSR champion networks remain an underutilised resource in the drive to integrate CSR into organisational strategy.
As promised, the following are my 10 tips for success: