For the last two days Australian business representatives, government and the non-profit sector have convened at the 9th annual National Business Leaders Forum on Sustainable Development. The theme for this year’s forum was ‚ÄòRe-Calibrating the Risk from Climate Change: an urgent business task.’ Throughout the each day, invitees have participated in a range of workshops, covering topics such as the implementation of the Australian Emissions Trading Scheme to exploring ‚Äòsociocracy’ as a new method of governance.
One of the most interesting topics discussed at the conference related to social responsibility. At the opening presentation, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced funding for a key project that will assist businesses to operate in line with standards of corporate social resposibility. According to The Australian newspaper, the project is essentially
“aimed at helping business develop more of a social conscience.”
The program will promote business leadership in a social capacity in cooperation with the Government. Mr Rudd said that the project
“is about working cooperatively with businesses to promote corporate social responsibility – not because they are forced to do so, but because they choose to”
Often businesses demonstrate a will to operate sustainability but the rhetoric is not met with action. For this, it is encouraging that the government is responding to the gap between ‚Äòsaying and doing’ that is often discovered within company practices.
Many other interesting initiatives have been discussed at the conference, such as the Corporate Responsibility Index adopted widely throughout Australia and New Zealand to help companies assess non-financial risks and improve corporate responsibility (See www.corporate-responsibility.com.au for details). The ultimate aim of the forum was
“to recognise outstanding leadership, generate discussion and accelerate uptake of sustainable practices…(and)…facilitating partnerships to maximise the success of sustainability initiatives”
More information about the forum and initiatives regarding climate change and social responsibility can be found at this link.