At Gen.a we talk about business strategy and brand strategy being joined at the hip. They both have three things that bind them to success – belief, trust and pride. If these are in alignment, return on investment flows along with genuine social outcomes.
We recently had the privilege of working with the ground breaking National Centre for Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) in Australia. Their success is measured by their ability to positively change lives through innovation programs. At the heart of NCIE’s business operations are the principles of trust, integrity and excellence, which are in turn embedded in the culture, values and belief systems of their staff. With the level of ongoing debate about funding and support systems for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia, it is always a battle for organisations like NCIE to win support. But because NCIE is built on trust and a sense of pride in all who engage with it its brand is in good shape. People believe in what NCIE stands for and what it delivers, and this will go a long way to ensuring its future success.
With my role as Director on the Board of the United Nations Global Compact Network Australia (GCNA), Gen.a is part of a network of Australian businesses that care about social and environment issues. The GCNA takes the view that business is better equipped to achieve real change in society than governments are. And it is our responsibility to make our own commitments to do good and to be accountable for what we achieve or not. Members of GCNA are used to these accountabilities because we practice accountability every day just to keep our businesses alive.
Although there are many examples of where things go wrong when businesses exploit their position in society for unfair advantage, there are increasingly more examples of where things go right.
So why do we need something like the UN Global Compact to guide our decision-making, commitments and behaviours? The reality is that our simple world sometimes becomes quite complex and it helps to have a set of principles to guide us and enforce our own discipline. Not to mention the joy of sharing our success stories and learning from each other.
Against this background, we all look for belief and trust and pride in those who impact our businesses and the communities in which we operate. Where that breaks down, the identity of those governments or individuals is broken and their performance suffers as a result.
Ultimately, we all have a role to play. By adopting the principles of good business and turning them into business for good, we are doing our part to make the world a better place.
Business of doing good
Why accountability matters
David Faulks, Gen.a