The St. James Ethics Centre and Beaton Consulting have released results of a survey among 15,000 business professionals in Australia, exploring attitudes towards business ethics and corporate responsibility.
Among the findings:
The strong messages to emerge include:
- the fundamental importance of a principles-based approach around trust, integrity, respect, responsibility, consistency, values, human rights; and
- the importance of a multi-stakeholder approach to responsible business practice beyond just the shareholder or owner (48.8%) – to include clients and other stakeholders (88.7%), employee (87.7%), the environment (83.1%), the communities within which business operates (75.4%), the global community (56.5%).
Businesses, organisations and their obligations are no longer seen in isolation from the communities in which they operate, the employees they depend upon, the environment from which they draw their resources, the marketplace in which they participate.
Responsible, ethical business practice is the recognition of, and response to, the interconnectedness and interdependence of business within our world. With that recognition comes individual and collective responsibility.
Both the global financial crisis and climate change are spectacular examples of interconnectivity/interdependence. The true costs and obligations of business are now being accounted for – both financial and non-financial.
This emphasis on principles and stakeholder responsibilities is in strong alignment with the key global sustainability and responsible business practice frameworks, such as the UN Global Compact – a commitment to a universal set of principles from which to conduct responsible business practice and connect with a global community.