Bravo Alan Joyce for passionately defending big business’s right, in fact obligation, to speak out on social and environmental issues. But I’m confused as to the Government’s position. They seem to have a tin ear on what the clear majority of consumers want from business. This debate has been early page news in the Fairfax daily’s of recent weeks, but I just don’t get what’s in it for the Government to try and muzzle business.
Firstly, the numbers simply don’t stack up, with every study from around the globe we’ve seen recently showing overwhelming demand for business to be engaged in broader societal issues and for business leaders to be actively speaking out on these topics (See here for reports).
The most recent and closest to home is the CEDA 2019 Consumer Pulse Report stating:
As Mr Joyce noted, big business that ignored social issues hurt their bottom line and made it more difficult to attract staff who wanted their firms to take a position on major social questions.
The Government speaks of representing ‘hard working middle and aspirational Australians’ and that business should get on with looking after the needs of ’quiet Australians’. Do they mean the 22% not represented in the stats above?
I would have thought the catastrophic and exponential increase in mental health issues and the medium to long term viability of the planet are pretty important to the future of business.
But the greatest tragedy is if we stifle the capacity and wherewithal of business to make a difference. Nothing can match their communication skills and reach. When business partners up for change they know how to make an impact.
Just take a look at the advertisement below from Page 2 of The Age from Friday 20.9.19. A stark, full page ad from Patagonia supporting the students strike for climate change. Brilliant.
Authors: Bruce McKaskill is a founding partner at Fit Brand & Partnerships, Australia's leading independent brand and partnership growth consultancy serving rights holders in the arts, community, associations and Government services sectors.