Ethical Performance
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editorial

Taking a gamble on greater responsibility

March 2014

At the time of writing I am waiting to hear details of how bookmaker Ladbrokes is going to measure success in its promise to link executive pay to efforts to tackle problem gambling.

The Ladbrokes move has followed growing calls for the use of fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), dubbed the “crack cocaine of gambling”, to be banned.

In a letter to gambling minister Helen Grant - revealed by Sky News - Ladbrokes chief executive Richard Glynn said responsible gambling performance measures would be written into senior executives’ remuneration. The letter also included a pledge to promote the industry’s Code for Responsible Gambling in its shop windows.

When I asked Heineken Asia Pacific recently about its responsible drinking initiative, the Heineken Sunrise Campaign - where party-goers were encouraged to drink responsibly in order to be in their best form to catch a beautiful sunrise – my question “Will the campaign be deemed a success if less beer is sold?” fell on deaf ears. Similarly my ‘As a business, doesn’t Heineken want people to drink more beer, rather than less?’ and‘how do you sell CSR programmes like this at board level?’ went answered.

A survey of 215 senior business leaders conducted by Business in the Community published last month found that individual employee objectives often do not align with the organisations corporate responsibility goals leading to behaviour which goes against those business values.

Commenting Stephen Howard said: “Without responsibility being truly built into the DNA of companies, trust in business will continue to plateau. It is time for business leaders to think differently about how they create the right culture within their business and the practical steps they can take to turn values into action.

“Indeed, chief executives and investors must move beyond financial value as the only recognised metric of business success. By adopting an integrated approach, reporting on the added value of responsible practice business, and rewarding responsible behaviour, business can form a new and more powerful contract with society – and re-claim its rightful place as an engine for social change and innovation.”

I began this year lauding the efforts of pharma giant GSK which announced that its sales personnel would no longer be rewarded by hitting individual sales targets. Instead they’ll be recognised for their technical knowledge and their quality service.

Measuring the success of many CSR initiatives is one of the industry’s holy grails. When financial targets aren’t the whole equation, success criteria have to be very carefully defined. I await with interest what Ladbrokes comes up with.

And take heart too that, according to BITC’s Leadership Report, nine out of 10 chief execs believe that they have a greater social purpose than simply returning a profit and 70% think too much attention is given to short term business goals.

 




Global | Transparency

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