No regulation to make business care for the community

Outlining his new role today, Howells said government was looking for a positive role and the introduction of a more strategic agenda.But business should not fear new ‘burdens’.

He said: ‘My role is not about creating new regulatory burdens for business. It is about raising awareness of the business case for corporate responsibility. Whilst corporate social responsibility is a business led agenda, government will have a positive role to play promoting best practice in corporate responsibility.’

Howells’ speech followed shortly after he presented awards on behalf of the ACCA for companies producing the best social reports.

Environmental and social reporting is becoming increasingly debated as government presses on business that it should account for its responsibility to communities.

Howells said business can make a vital contribution to combating social problems and can be a leader in tackling deprivation and promoting ‘a more inclusive society.’

He said: ‘In today’s global economy information can be transported around the worldd in minutes. Companies are exposed to much greater and wider public scrutiny. And with the information revolution, consumers are taking a much wider range of choices into account when making purchasing decisions.’

Howells is to set up a group Whitehall officials working across government departments in a bid to encourage more businesses to engage in corporate social responsibility.

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