Business School Topics
Outgoing Reconciliation Australia CEO Leah Armstrong has told an Indigenous business conference that business can provide a pathway to reconciliation.
Speaking at the Indigenous Business, Enterprise and Corporations Conference at the UWA Business School, Ms Armstrong said many major companies are moving towards Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPs) and the empowerment of Indigenous people.
"When business is managed from the heart great things can and will happen. All that is stopping us is our imagination," Ms Armstrong said.
"Boardroom discussion now has shifted from philanthropic measures... to longer term sustainable activities which are outcomes focused and achieve shared value."
Ms Armstrong nominated National Australia Bank, KPMG and Transfield Services as companies leading the way on reconciliation, noting that Reconciliation Action Plans needed to be supported by senior management.
"It is most successful when it is supported by a strong business case, when directors and CEOs are able to identify the benefits of engaging in reconciliation," Ms Armstrong said.
Ms Armstrong said shared value should create economic, social and environmental benefit for the RAP organisation - for example, by reconceiving products and markets, or by redefining productivity in the value chain.
Companies with Reconciliation Action Plans today employ more than 25,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and have procured goods and services valued at $82 million from Aboriginal businesses.
A 2013 RAP barometer survey found employees in RAP organisations had levels of trust between employees at 70 per cent, compared to 13 per cent within the general population. Further, 95 per cent of employees in RAP organisations felt relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people were good - compared to just 42 per cent of the general population reporting these good relationships.
Ms Armstrong called on all organisations to Reconciliation Action Plans in place.
"We all need to act. Reconciliation really is everybody's business. And business is a viable pathway to reconciliation," Ms Armstrong concluded.
The Indigenous Business, Enterprise and Corporations Conference is being held at the UWA Business School on 1-2 December.
Ms Leah Armstrong was speaking at the 3rd Indigenous Business, Enterprise and Corporations Conference at the UWA Business School.