ITP supports BITC’s call to businesses to behave more responsibly

BITC's Stephen Howard issues the challenge to businesses

BITC's Stephen Howard issues the challenge to businesses

The International Tourism Partnership (ITP) is supporting Business in the Community as it calls for businesses to behave with greater responsibility and more sustainability.

Speaking in London at the charity’s Leadership Summit, to an audience of over 400 chief executives last week,  Stephen Howard, chief executive of Business in the Community challenged leaders to incentivise and reward ‘doing the right thing’ in the same way that they reward staff who meet financial targets.

The event - which was attended by the charity’s President HRH The Prince of Wales - challenged business leaders to take practical steps to integrate responsibility ‘into the DNA’ of their business; something ITP supports its members from the international hotel community to do.

A survey of 215 senior business leaders conducted by Business in the Community showed that individual employee objectives often do not align with the organisation’s corporate responsibility goals, leading to behaviour which goes against those business values.

Mr. Howard challenged business leaders to better demonstrate that responsible behaviour is both valued and adds value. As well as asking them to think about how they compensate and reward responsible behaviour,  he also suggested that responsible behaviour should form a central element of staff training and development and urged bosses to actively give staff experiences outside of the business to help nurture their values and decision-making.

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.

“Business leaders are failing to properly reward responsible behaviour. Changing this would send a powerful message that being a responsible business goes further than CSR reports and values statements.

“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.”

ITP is already working to demonstrate in a very practical way that environmental and social responsibility makes good business sense. ITP does this by highlighting best practice, offering a range of practical products and programmes and tackling emerging sustainability issues through its collaborative working groups. For instance the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative developed by ITP’s working group of more than 20 international hotel chains is a ground-breaking common methodology tool which is already helping more 17,000 hotels worldwide to measure and in turn report on the carbon impact of any stay or meeting to the corporate customer.

Business in the Community’s Leadership Report also revealed that:

  • 9 out of 10 chief executives believe they have a greater social purpose then simply returning profit
  • Over 70% of business leaders think too much attention is given to short term business goals
  • 90% of respondents say that experiences outside of the business and experiential learning is an essential part of developing future leaders within the business with the right values and behaviour
  • Honesty and a sense of moral compass are the most important personal characteristics of a responsible business leader.

Timed to coincide with the charity’s Annual General Meeting, Business in the Community’s Leadership Summit brought together business leaders from some of the UK’s biggest companies to explore the new type of leadership and practical actions required by chief executives to establish a new contract with society.

Watch this fantastic video which underlines the campaign.


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