LEADER: Too early to drink to the UK’s CR success

A big mutual hug was enjoyed at the 25th Business in the Comm­unity Awards on Monday. Some 1,800 business people, royals and journalists packed into the Royal Albert Hall to laud UK plc’s latest efforts in corporate responsibility.

Danny Rogers, Editor
Danny Rogers, Editor

The stage offered a roll call of A-list speakers and entertainers: from for­mer US vice-president Al Gore – in the UK for his high profile ‘roadshow’ this week, to Rory Bremner and the Today Programme’s James Naughtie.

The gongs – in the form of a big (sustainably-forested) wooden tick (which Naughtie joked would ‘make his dog jealous’) – were dished out to some of our biggest corporate brands: BT, BSkyB and Barclays Bank.

Naughtie made a valid gesture in calling for a moment of reflection on poorer communities than ourselves, before we all tucked into the meal and wine (from M&S’s organic range).

There was without doubt some fine work recognised. Gore said the UK was the most advanced country in the world in its thinking on climate change. And FT editor Lionel Barber said the idea that compan­ies should be responsible in their pursuit of profit was now ‘a given’.

But the words that made most impact on this writer, surprisingly, came from that pillar of the establishment, HRH Prince of Wales. Prince Charles reminded us that a UK-sized plot of the Amazonian rain forest – ‘the lungs and tempera­ture regulator of our world’ – continues to be hacked down every single year.

Gore was attacked by various media this week for ‘over-hyping’ the threat of global warming, but I sus­pect there is more danger in over-hyping progress in CR.

We are right to celebrate good work, but unless more is done on a global scale – and damn quickly – the 50th BITC Awards, in 2032, could be very different indeed.

Politicians were notable by their absence on Monday night. One would like to see a few more of them in the spotlight next year.


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