Deloitte CEO champions role of business in driving significant social change
Barry Salzberg, Global CEO of Deloitte and Chairman of United Way Worldwide, recently spoke at a United Way Australia Corporate Leader breakfast hosted by Colliers International.
Business has the opportunity to drive significant social change both through innovation and professional volunteering, Deloitte CEO Barry Salzburg said recently at the United Way Breakfast Forum.
“Society is facing more complex challenges that we were years ago, including the instability of the global economy, governments adopting austerity measures and the reduction of programs.” Mr Salzburg said.
“One of the biggest impacts businesses can have is to donate professional skills to help nonprofits becomes stronger, more sustainable organisations as they deal with societies challenges.”
He pointed to the example of Deloitte professionals in both India and the US volunteering time to support their local communities, increasing their own capabilities as well as enhancing Deloitte brand awareness.
“Expanding the definition of corporate philanthropy to include skilled volunteerism is a powerful business strategy,” Mr Salzburg said. “It’s no longer about spare time or spare change. Today, it’s just about good business.”
Likewise, Mr Salzburg spoke of the need to harness the innovative capacity of business to help solve some of societies toughest problems. A Deloitte survey of 5000 people in 18 different countries revealed that young business people believe that business, more than any other group including government or education institutions, drive innovations that have the greatest impact on society.
Mr Doug Taylor, CEO of United Way Australia, welcomed Mr Salzburg’s comments.
“Mr Salzburg challenges not for profit leaders to be more focused on using the people of corporations as an end in itself and not just a means of getting cash.” Mr Taylor said.
“I think there’s also an opportunity for the incoming Commonwealth Government, who have committed to resurrecting former Prime Minister John Howard’s Business Community Partnerships program, to be more focused on strategies that educate and equip corporations in embracing this new era of corporate volunteering rather than simply focusing on philanthropy.”
Mr Salzburg describes corporate philanthropy as a personal passion and believes that corporate leaders must likewise model personal leadership: placing an emphasis upon innovative thinking, finding out what social issues are of most interest to an organisation’s professionals and developing relationships that allow collaboration on the most pressing issues facing a community.
“The challenges our communities face are significant.” Mr Salzburg said. “But working together, business and non profits can make a difference. And when we get this right, everybody benefits.”