The NSW-specific results
out today are part of CEDA’s nationwide poll of more than 3000 people, Company Pulse 2019
, that examines community expectations of business and their views on the most important priorities for business.
The results include community views on ethical business behaviour, business leaders speaking on social and environmental issues and intergenerational differences regarding business priorities.
Commenting on the NSW findings, CEDA Chief Executive Melinda Cilento
said the report found strong areas of alignment but also areas of disconnect.
Ms Cilento said while the results from NSW were broadly aligned with national results, there were a few key exceptions, the main one being that the New South Wales community were more likely to place a lower priority than the national average on large companies reducing their direct impact on the environment and providing a good work/life balance.
“The NSW public are also less likely to suggest that employees are the most important stakeholder for large companies (33 per cent vs 38 per cent nationally) and they are more likely to identify shareholders as the most important stakeholder for large companies compared to the national results (13 per cent vs nine per cent nationally),” she said.
“The NSW public are also less likely to believe that companies should pass on their savings to employees through higher wages (34 per cent vs 38 per cent nationally).
“On balancing economic performance against social and environmental outcomes, 67 per cent of the NSW public agree that large companies should be equally concerned about their economic performance and their social and environmental performance, lower than the national result of 72 per cent..”
Ethical behaviour of large companies
Ms Cilento said that while the poll showed favourable perceptions of large company performance across key areas, the community still had some question marks around ethical behaviour of large companies.
“The community and business leaders agree that the public now has higher ethical standards for large companies, but there was less consensus on whether companies are behaving more ethically,” she said.
“Interestingly where the general public and business leaders align is shared scepticism around the consequences of unethical conduct.
“Only 30 per cent of the general public, including 32 per cent of the NSW public, and 42 per cent of business leaders believe the government takes strong action against unethical behaviour. Similarly, most believe that the consequences of a company acting unethically are modest or short term at best.”
CEDA’s research supporting a reform agenda
“CEDA has undertaken this work to better understand community expectations against the backdrop of declining trust in business and the need to reignite a reform agenda in Australia,” Ms Cilento said.
“We need a reinvigorated reform agenda that will support new investment and opportunities for economic and social development in Australia.
“For reforms to be supported and successful they will need to reflect the insights and needs of all sectors, including business. However, negative community sentiment and lack of trust in the business sector could act as a handbrake on reforms in the national interest.
“A vibrant and competitive business sector is vital to enabling the development and adoption of new technologies that will secure future opportunities for investors, employees and customers.
“Equally, benefits such as improved government services and infrastructure rely on a resilient revenue base supported by a strong business sector paying taxes and playing its part.
“The community and business need to be on the same page if we are to progress policy reform that will deliver benefits to both.
“Our survey shows that there are strong areas of alignment around which trust in business can be rebuilt, particularly if the points of disconnect identified become a focus for serious consideration and engagement.”
Download: NSW state results
Download: Company Pulse national results
The NSW results will be presented at an event in Sydney today at the Allens Offices on Phillip Street, from 12-2pm. Speakers include Allens Partner, Kate Towey, and Ms Cilento. The event is open to media.
Melinda Cilento is available for further comment and interviews. The NSW Company Pulse snapshot can be accessed here.
The full Company Pulse report can be downloaded here.
Eleanor Green, Media and Communications Advisor
Mobile: 0408 375 600 | Email: email@example.com
CEDA – the Committee for Economic Development of Australia – is an independent, not-for-profit membership organisation. We identify policy issues that matter for Australia’s future and pursue solutions that deliver better economic, social and environmental outcomes for Australia. CEDA's cross-sector membership of 770 spans every state and territory and includes Australia's leading businesses, community organisations, government departments and academic institutions. CEDA was founded in 1960 by leading economist Sir Douglas Copland. His legacy of applying economic analysis to practical problems to aid the development of Australia continues to drive our work today