Heads of global companies join the call for partnerships to improve effectiveness of public policies and institutions as a key aspect of corporate global citizenship
Davos, Switzerland, 25 January 2008 – A group of prominent World Economic Forum business leaders today issued a call to their peers to join collaborative efforts to strengthen public governance frameworks and institutions as a core element of their approach to corporate citizenship. Fourteen global CEOs and chairmen, representing a range of industries and regions signed a leadership statement calling on businesses to engage in public-private partnerships to strengthen public policies and institutional capacity at the national, regional and global levels as part of the Forum’s Global Corporate Citizenship Initiative in partnership with lead partner Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), as well as AccountAbility, Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative and the International Business Leaders Forum.
Signatories of the leadership statement include the Chairman/CEOs of Ayala Corporation, Diageo, Merck & Co., Microsoft Corporation, Pakistan State Oil Company (PSO), Tata Industries, The Coca-Cola Company and the big four accounting firms, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The outcome of the project, entitled Partnering to Strengthen Public Governance – The Leadership Challenge for CEOs and Boards, is a CEO-signed leadership statement and supporting report, which provide a roadmap for business leaders seeking to work with governments and other stakeholders to improve the enabling environment for sustainable economic growth and development. In launching this effort, the signatories call for a new frontier in corporate global citizenship and a new era in public-private partnership, recognizing the increasing convergence of public and private sector agendas.
“Public governance is a global issue. No longer can businesses, governments, or non governmental organizations afford to act independently of each other – the stakes are just too high,” said John Connolly, Chairman of the Global Board at Deloitte. “Only through a combined effort can we achieve economic growth, sustainability, and create an opportunity for a better life for people everywhere.”
“Over the past 18 months,” said Richard Samans, Managing Director at the World Economic Forum, “this project has attempted to improve understanding of the business case for improved public governance and provide concrete guidance on how businesses can engage in public-private efforts to strengthen the effectiveness of such frameworks and institutions.”
“We hope that by stating so clearly that business has a role to play in partnering to promote effective public governance, these leaders will open new partnership channels on critical social, environmental and economic questions,” said Aron Cramer, President and Chief Executive Officer, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), USA.
The paper acknowledges the essential role that partnership plays in advancing the global agenda, and the essential need for business to take on this agenda based both on its capacity and legitimacy. Business engagement in promoting effective governance is most effective, and most credible, where it reflects key principles including transparency, dialogue and respect for the unique role of public institutions, and recognizes the central value of working with civil society organizations.
“Weak public governance harms both a country’s people and its environment,” said E. Neville Isdell, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Coca-Cola Company, and Chairman of the International Business Leaders Forum. He continued: “As this report highlights, business has opportunity and motive to change that by contributing to building better governance systems and public institutions… which are fundamental to sustainable social and economic development and therefore sustainable communities and business success.”
“Strengthening public governance is an ongoing challenge for us all. Moreover, creating and sustaining the will to reform is a critical ingredient of successful public sector reform,” commented Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), regarding the workstream.
“As experience has shown, if there’s a willingness for the public and private sectors to work together, positive results will occur,” said Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ayala Corporation.
The World Economic Forum, signatory companies and the World Economic Forum’s Partner companies will be exploring forward action to advance this agenda, sharing learnings and looking for opportunities to translate the leadership statement into action.
The signatories of this statement are:
Kishor A. Chaukar, Managing Director, Tata Industries, Tata Enterprises
Richard T. Clark, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Merck & Co.
John P. Connolly, Chairman of the Global Board, Deloitte
Samuel A. DiPiazza Jr, Global Chief Executive Officer, PricewaterhouseCoopers
William H. Gates III, Chairman, Microsoft Corporation
E. Neville Isdell, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Coca-Cola Company
Alexander V. Izosimov, Chief Executive Officer, VimpelCom
Lubna S. Olayan, Chief Executive Officer, Olayan Financing Company
Mark G. Parker, President and Chief Executive Officer, Nike
Jalees Ahmed Siddiqi, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Pakistan State Oil Company (PSO)
James S. Turley, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Ernst & Young
Paul S. Walsh, Group Chief Executive, Diageo
Michael Wareing, International Chief Executive Officer, KPMG
Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala II, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Ayala Corporation
The member companies of the GCCI Advisory Committee are: Ayala Corporation, Deloitte, Deutsche Bank, Diageo, Ernst & Young, KPMG, Merck & Co., Microsoft Corporation, Pakistan State Oil Company (PSO), PricewaterhouseCoopers, Tata Enterprises and The Coca-Cola Company.
Further supporting companies of the leadership statement are: The Olayan Group, Nike, and VimpelCom.
Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) is a not-for-profit business membership organization that helps its 250 member companies integrate social and environmental matters into their strategies and operations. BSR serves its member companies through consulting, research, convenings and collaborative action. Headquartered in San Francisco and with offices in Paris, Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and New York, BSR works with companies and stakeholders to create a more just and sustainable global economy. http://www.bsr.org
AccountAbility is an international non-profit, membership organization established in 1995 to promote accountability innovations that advance responsible practices of business, government, civil society and other institutions. Its 200 members include businesses, service providers, non-governmental organizations and research bodies; they elect AccountAbility’s international council, which includes representatives from all five continents. AccountAbility has developed the AA1000 Sustainability Assurance and Stakeholder Engagement Standards, as well as leading-edge research on the governance and accountability of partnerships and links between responsible business practices and the competitiveness of nations. AccountAbility works with its members to help them build alignment between corporate responsibility and business strategy by advancing joint learning and development of analytic tools. www.accountability21.net
About The International Business Leaders Forum
The International Business Leaders Forum works with business, government and civil society to enhance the contribution that companies can make to sustainable development. Founded by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, it is an independent, not-for-profit organization currently supported by over 100 of the world’s leading businesses. www.iblf.org
About The Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
The Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University is a multidisciplinary and multistakeholder programme that seeks to study and enhance the public contributions of private enterprise. It explores the intersection of corporate responsibility and public policy, with a focus on the role of business and new types of partnership between companies, governments and civil society organizations in addressing global development challenges. Founded in 2004, the initiative undertakes research, education and outreach activities that aim to bridge theory and practice, build leadership skills and support constructive dialogue and collaboration among different sectors. http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/m-rcbg/CSRI
The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
Incorporated as a foundation in 1971, and based in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum is impartial and not-for-profit; it is tied to no political, partisan or national interests. (www.weforum.org)