Giles Gibbons on why banks should go back to basics

If you read my previous post, the importance of seeing the bigger picture, you’ll know I almost sparked a bit of a spat with an IABC colleague when I questioned what his employer’s programme to promote clean water and sustainable water use had to do with responsible banking. 

Nice, then, to read a great article in Ethical Corporation News today, in which Giles Gibbons – founder and chief executive of CR consultancy, Good Business – suggests much the same thing.

For him, too, it’s responsible lending and investment that comes top of the list in the materiality stakes. And it’s social issues such as the impact of debt on society, not the environment, that’s most relevant and important to a bank’s core business. (By all means address environmental issues, but not until you’ve dealt with the other stuff first.)

In fact, there are remarkable similarities between what he says and a number of previous posts on this blog.

You’ll know by now the tired drumhead I beat about “CR without HR is just PR” – that businesses must first demonstrate how CR is embedded in their own organisations and along the value chain. That message comes over loud and clear in Giles’ article too.

As does the idea that this economic downtown might actually prove a blessing in disguise, as I suggested in my post on CR and the recession – sorting out the wheat from the chaff, the superficial from the strategic, and forcing businesses to think much harder about what really matters to their stakeholders.

Not entirely surprising, then, that I should find myself agreeing with every single word! Even if you don’t, read it anyway. It’s a thoroughly researched and well-reasoned piece that deserves a look.


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