CEO's challenged on Corporate Responsibility
26 August 2005 at 1:08 pm
Australia’s top 250 companies and Business Council of Australia members are being challenged to demonstrate leadership by voluntarily adopting corporate responsibility standards.
Dr Simon Longstaff, Executive Director St James Ethics Centre says that with increased regulation this is a crucial opportunity for business to demonstrate a willingness to self-manage in corporate responsibility.
Dr. Longstaff says profits are not the sole measure of business success. Investors expect businesses to manage a broad array of risks linked to their behaviour in society.
He said St James Ethics Centre is launching Australia’s third Corporate Responsibility Index in September.
In the past year, 27 of Australia’s top 250 companies participated in the internationally recognised Index.
The question remains: how many will take up the challenge this year?
This week, letters were sent to Australian CEO’s urging them to participate in the 2005 Index.
Dr. Longstaff says this is not a tool being imposed on business from outside. It’s developed by business, for business.
He says participants have spoken about the urgency of the business community to adopt responsible, sustainable business practices.
Speaking about the index, Philip Bullock CEO and MD IBM Australia and NZ says the financial results are important, but just as important is how you go about achieving them.
David Morgan CEO Westpac says it’s not simply the right thing to do, but it is also very good business.
BHP Billiton CEO Chip Goodyear says corporate responsibility is a critical element to its licence to operate. How it compares to others, not only in its industry but more broadly to BHP Billiton and that is why it chose to complete the Index.
Dr Longstaff says that in the past, Australian companies have offered a number of reasons for not participating. These include a lack of resources, and a fear of not rating well in the Index.
He says it is crucial that as companies release end of year financial results, they also turn their attention to improving their performance in the area of corporate responsibility. That is the Bottom Line!
For more information about the Corporate responsibility Index go to