What happened at the recent APPG on Corporate Responsibility?

Corporate Reputation, Crisis Management & Public Trust — December 16th

The purpose of the All-Party Parliamentary Corporate Responsibility Group is to promote debate and understanding of corporate social responsibility within government. The group is co-chaired by Baroness Greengross and Jonathan Djanogly MP. This group meets six times a year.

The Great Business Debate was delighted to receive an invitation from Jonathan Djanogly MP to attend their most recent meeting in December.

The two guest speakers were Sir Win Bischoff, Chair Financial Reporting Council, and Kamal Ahmed, Business Editor at BBC News. Both speakers reflected on how the financial crisis and various corporate scandals had affected the public’s perception of business and what steps businesses can take to improve public trust.

Sir Win

Sir Win Bischoff, FRC spoke about the importance of good governance and its positive impact on the culture of an organisation. He spoke about how the board is responsible for establishing the right culture, behaviours, and purpose for the organisation, as well as his belief that dialogue with stakeholders must engage and instil trust. Sir Win also spoke passionately about how good corporate culture reaps reputational and financial benefits, which ultimately contributes to the economy and society.

Sir Win discussed how the mission of the FRC is to promote high quality corporate governance and to have a fair and effective capital market, and that there is a need for better reporting against the principles of the Stewardship Code (for those who have already signed up to it). He discussed the FRC’s Financial Reporting Lab that helps companies and investors collaborate on improvements to reporting, and highlighted the work that the FRC is running on a Culture Coalition project that brings together a wide range of participants to look at the board’s influence on culture.

Kamal Ahmed, BBC outlined his view that corporate culture, governance, and responsibility are the most important issues for our business leaders today, and how this focus stems back to the financial crisis. Kamal spoke about his belief that people today are challenging the notion of making a profit, and that this is the most stressed business and economic environment since the 1970s.

Kamal explained how today issues go global in seconds, opinions are formed quicker than ever before, businesses have only a very small window to respond to crises, and how these factors are changing how businesses should operate.

He explained why a business’ primary objective must be to focus first on running correctly before it thinks about corporate social responsibility by arguing that an effective, accountable business was the best way to prevent scandal. Kamal explained how outdated technology is poorly managed managed during mergers, acquisitions and global transformations and has led to some of the corporate issues that are currently being debated. He also spoke about his own experience as a journalist when he described the vital role that line managers can play in behaviour change.

Kamal described the importance of how a business reacts to crises, and the vital role that the media plays in exposing wrongdoing and informing the public, and why this has all too often proved critical in changing business behaviour.

For a more detailed summary of the event, please see: http://www.apcrg.org.uk/files/?id=174

For more insights on corporate culture and responsible business, please visit our page on culture and values and read some fascinating articles from other business and media leaders.

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