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A social licence: the future of business

Entire societies and economies are built upon ethics and trust. But what happens if the public stops believing what they're told by businesses and other institutions?


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Transforming business podcast Transforming business podcast Transforming business podcast

In the wake of multiple Royal Commissions, scrutiny of entire industries has never been greater.

In this episode of our podcast series, Transforming business with MinterEllison: ideas and challenges that are shaping our future, we explore how leaders can restore trust in their organisations, how they can rewrite the rules to regain trust and who should be responsible for doing that.

We spoke with Rupert Younger, Founder and Director of the Oxford University Centre for Corporate Reputation, who was recently in Australia for AMP's Amplify festival. MinterEllison was a proud sponsor of Amplify in 2019. 

Podcast highlights

"Businesses should never really focus on trust as being an objective. It's an outcome of all sorts of other things...I think a much more dynamic and useful strategy for businesses is to think about what we regard as the emergence of a new reputation economy."

Two faces of reputation

"All of us perceive individuals, nation states or institutions and organisations really through two lenses. The first is perceptions of capability. How do I perceive your ability to do what you say on the packet?"

"The second lens has got nothing to do with how capable you are, and that's perceptions of character. Character is really about perceptions, about how you go about what you do, what type of organisation you are... The really nice thing about reputation as opposed to trust is that it gives you the ability to think about which reputations link to business objectives and the critical concerns that you have as a leader."

"That framework of capability and character is a much more intelligent, usable, workable frame when you're thinking about the reputations of business as opposed to this much more sort of solid and ultimately harder to attain issue of trust"

A social licence to operate

We also spoke with MinterEllison partner, Geraldine Johns-Putra, who told us more about new ethical requirements that are being introduced for businesses in Australia, how they can be met, and what senior business leaders may need to do differently as a result.

Introducing ethics and social responsibility into government and legislative action

"The Commonwealth government in Australia has recently introduced an Act to require reporting on modern slavery, risks in supply chains and operations of certain businesses. We've seen it in regulations on standards issued by the Australian Accounting Standards Board around reporting on climate risk and other non-financial risks…"

"What we're seeing is government trying to legislate in an area that is almost the interior of an organisation, as opposed to the exterior. The interior being the culture of the organisation, as opposed to the exterior being the social impact or the transactional impact of the organisation."

Listen now or wherever you listen to your podcasts

Transforming business podcast Transforming business podcast Transforming business podcast

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