Today we launch the 2018 Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards, celebrating businesses’ impact in society.
They are London’s leading celebration of organisations making a difference to society through responsible practices.
And this year, the Awards see a new category: one focused on trust in business. Nothing could be more important in today’s workplace.
When local authority budgets are tight, demand for charitable services is increasing, and young people deeply care about working somewhere that takes pride in its social impact, business needs to react.
In short: firms need to build a long-lasting legacy of trust into everything they do.
Last November, I launched the Business of Trust Programme to help kickstart this movement.
Throughout this are five guiding principles businesses should follow: competence and skills, having integrity, demonstrating value to society, taking an interest in others, and clear communication.
But why is this important?
The 2017 Edelman “trust barometer” reported a significant drop in global trust in institutions. This year, the updated barometer showed that nearly seven in 10 respondents said building trust is the number one job for chief executives, ahead of high-quality products and services.
Businesses must respond to these public concerns and expectations. You could be a company offering accountancy services, or a bank providing an Isa, but your main commodity is trust.
London is an incubator of great innovation and is already leading the trust agenda. In my role as lord mayor, I see many firms putting the work into their responsible business strategies. I see companies striving to improve their culture and making it their purpose to increase their positive impact.
These firms show well thought-out, creative, innovative initiatives that are efficient with resources and are really making a difference to communities in London.
Businesses large and small are changing lives through ethical procurement policies, by supporting underrepresented communities with more inclusive recruitment practices, or by creating digital platforms that can be game changers for a charities’ impact.
At last year’s Dragon Awards, Impact Creative Recruitment, an SME based in Hackney, won the Heart of the City Award for its Future Proofing Through Diversity initiative, offering new opportunities in the creative and media industries to people from diverse backgrounds.
The Awards celebrate the role that businesses of all sizes and sectors are playing to contribute to a thriving society and seek to inspire others by showcasing the best ways in which businesses are tackling social issues.
They are an opportunity to tell that story, of how businesses have changed the way they operate – both internally and externally.
London is known to be a global centre for finance, but it is also becoming fast known as the global centre for responsible business and philanthropy. While there is more work still to be done, the contribution that businesses make to our society is sometimes forgotten, but it should be something that is recognised by everyone in this City.
That is what I strive to do throughout my mayoralty and with this year’s Dragon Awards, celebrating business impact in society.