Business West’s primary role is to represent, support and promote business but all too often we find ourselves trying to dress up “business” views as something else and are apologetic about the fact that business should even have a view.
We all know that business has a bad reputation, made worse in the last few years with global and national banking issues, market failures and business disasters. However, business as a whole has a hugely positive contribution to make not just to the economy but also to local communities.
I would argue that what business has to offer goes beyond this statement and is about more than wealth and job creation. Business permeates everything we do and everything about a place. A local business agenda for change would include many of the issues and desires that residents and communities would also want to see. Business people are interested in education, skills, sustainability and the conservation and protection of place as much as anyone else.
So why is it that as soon as you mention business having an agenda, people start to get agitated and assume it will all be about profit and growth at any cost? How do we change mindsets and get across the right messages about the contribution business and business people make to their local communities?
In the past much of this contribution focused around Corporate Social Responsibility as something extra that businesses did and was delivered through organisations like Business in the Community. But this isn’t enough. We need to move the debate on now to establish a better understanding of the role business plays in local communities.
What we need is a concerted effort from all business representative organisations to change people’s perceptions of business and to promote all the positive activities businesses are engaged in and the overall contribution they make to society. This is not just about Corporate Social Responsibility it is about the very lifeblood of business.
As business organisations we need to be vocal and show we are proud to stand up and shout loudly about business views and the role of business in local and regional communities. We need to promote the business agenda at every opportunity and show the doubters just how rounded that agenda is and how it fits with their aspirations.
What issues do you think should be included in a business agenda for change?