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Responsible business national forum considered

Responsible business national forum considered

Scottish Business in the Community members consider concept of a National Action Plan for business, civic society and government to tackle poverty, educational outcomes and resilience.

At a debate hosted by Scottish Business in the Community in Edinburgh, the charity’s network of members agreed to explore the concept of a National Action Plan for Responsible Business. Scottish Business in the Community (SBC) is ambitious to strengthen the impact of its national membership-led movement for responsible business which can deliver transformative and sustained change through business campaigns and community activities.

The debate consisted of a panel session chaired by journalist and broadcaster Keith Aitken, and the following speakers:

  • Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Chief Executive, Virgin Money and Chair, Scottish Business in the Community
  • Brendan Dick, Director, BT scotland, Managing Director BT Regions
  • Rachel McEwen, Director of Sustainability, SSE plc
  • Richard Mason, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Community, Asda
  • Alex Neil, Cabinet Secretary for for Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners’ Rights.

 

In 2014, SBC launched a call to action on the imperative and rationale for more concerted business engagement in Scotland’s social issues. Since that time the Scottish Government has established Fair Work as a Cabinet Secretary portfolio, as well as the associated Business Pledge and the Scottish Living Wage. SBC understands, however, that there is an appetite amongst members of its movement for a business-led model through which responsible business can deliver transformative change in a collective effort supported by government.

Scotland would need a collective power in order to move forward with a National Action Plan for Responsible Business and SBC has access to many hundreds of members of all sizes and sectors who are already committed to ensuring that everyone is better off as a result of their business activity. Socially responsible business requires businesses to behave responsibly towards the communities which provide their workforce and purchase their goods and services. In doing so, businesses understand that they will increase productivity and profit. We believe that Scotland’s business community has an ambition for greater impact through combining its knowledge and solutions for society’s more intractable issues.

SBC would welcome the publication of a commitment to the creation of a National Action Plan for Responsible Business in Scotland within the manifestos of all political parties.

Mark Bevan, Operations Director and Deputy Chief Executive of Scottish Business in the Community, said:

“Scotland has significant socio-economic issues, but also some of the most innovative, exciting and ambitious businesses in the world. Scottish Business in the Community is ambitious to grow the country’s responsible business movement in 2016, and the concept of a National Action Plan with dedicated resource and campaigning skills, is a logical step forward for that vision. Scotland needs to establish a business-led model for responsible business, which harnesses the significant resources and intelligence of the sector and is rooted in rigour of focus and a collective effort from the outset.

“Businesses and shareholders are moving towards an acceptance of the bottom line benefit of good citizenship. As the leading voice on responsible business in Scotland, SBC is determined to unlock the education, employment, environmental and enterprise potential of workplaces and communities further as we explore the potential for this National Action Plan for Responsible Business.”