John Bullock Lighting Design
John Bullock Lighting Design
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Ethical Performance Reporting


When it comes to assessing overall performance, the lighting industry tends to look inwards first. and nowhere else after that. Perhaps that's the case with every industry. The lighting business cares about things like energy efficiency, developing wonderful light sources and super-efficient light fixtures, so it believes that its sustainability credentials are sound. Well, only to a point.

If we were to take the eight headline issues that go to make up a Corporate Social Responsibility strategy, the lighting industry would probably order the priorities in this way:

1. The Environment (energy efficiency)
2. Product Responsibility (quality of design and manufacture)
3. Society (the customer)
4. Corporate Governance (how the business is run)
5. Labour Practices (employee contracts)
6. Human Rights (honouring the rights of men and women in general)
7. Community Development (doing good things)

In other words, organisations concern themselves mostly with the things they feel they have influence over and the further away from the front door an issue appears to be, the less importance it is given.

The problem for the manufacturer is that there is a very different view in the world at large. There is huge support for ethical business performance, and that support puts the issues of human rights, localism and labour practices very high on the ethical agenda. Perhaps because the person in the street feels that the technical side of things can be left safely in the hands of a business that puts ethical behaviour higher up its priority list.

A recent report by FairPensions: Ethically Engaged? A survey of UK ethical funds is critical of financial fund managers who do not take ethical business principles seriously. The report points out that ethical funds tend to be chosen by pension savers who are more concerned with non-financial impacts; forced and child labour, fraud and corruption, as well as environmental impacts. Ethical funds have over 11bn under management, so this is no small beer, but the report concludes that these fund managers need to work harder for its clients and find better ways of communicating its decision-making and be far more transparent about how it selects organisations for its ethical portfolios.

That is a message that should echo around all business sectors; customers may have very different priorities to the organisation and it's the organisation's job to ensure that it's doing the things that give it the kind of ethical credentials that really mean something to a Corporate Social Responsibility strategy.

For more on the FairPensions campaign and how you might be able to influence your own pension fund  - click here.

RIBA CPD in 2015

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