Trust: a critical asset
As we continue to debate whether the UK economy is about to turn the corner, one of the things that remains clear is that trust is the lifeblood of any organisation. Trust is a critical asset in ensuring a business’s long-term survival and success and is even more relevant in these challenging times. Later this year PwC will mark 10 years of its Building Public Trust annual awards. As part of this programme Ian Powell, PwC’s UK Chairman, will also be hosting a series of debates to stimulate a discussion on the responsibility of leaders in society today.
I was reminded of a paper written by PwC which focuses attention on the need for a new settlement between business and society; one that requires business to embed the right culture and behaviours based on sound principles of honesty and integrity that can deliver both public trust and business success. Clearly, the business community and its leaders have a critical role to play in building and sustaining trust, and progress towards this goal will require genuine and forthright debate.
In this year’s Edelman Trust Barometer, Richard Edelman highlights one aspect of this debate: “It makes good business sense for business to broaden its definition of leadership. They must now earn their “license to lead.” It cannot be seen as acting solely in self interest, but rather executing on the fundamentals of profit and societal good. In other words: profit needs to be joined with purpose.”
An example of this from the corporate reporting environment is perhaps PUMA’s Environmental P&L (E P&L), which is a means of placing monetary value on the environmental impacts along the entire supply chain – from raw materials through to the retail transactions. PUMA’s first step will help other companies consider how they can apply similar analysis in their own organisations. Assigning economic values to the environmental impact of a company’s operations enables a business to tackle vital questions, not just about environmental impacts but also about business risk, cost savings and finding new ways to become more effective.
As business’s long-term survival and success depends on its ability to build and sustain trust, I look forward to further engaging on this topic and sharing with you the output from this year’s Building Public Trust analysis.
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