2.0 Business and the Trust Deficit



Historically the primary role of business has been focused on generating returns for shareholders. Milton Friedman, the Nobel laureate, famously stated that the ‘business of business is business,’ implying that any deviation from this primary purpose could be viewed as a waste of shareholders’ money. Yet in the past 10-15 years, increasing numbers of business leaders have embraced concepts of sustainability and corporate responsibility to strengthen their license to operate within the community. This adoption has been accelerated by the dramatically decreasing levels of trust of businesses by the general public in the wake of high profile corporate scandals and bankruptcies.

This session attempts to identify the key drivers for this change – social, environmental, institutional – and to summarise what this means for businesses in the 21st century.