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A new survey shows Australians expect businesses to play a greater role in international aid, with consumers now expecting more of businesses than government.

February 12, 2012

Australians looking for bigger aid spend from business sector

A new survey shows Australians expect businesses to play a greater role in international aid, with consumers now expecting more of businesses than government.

Over half (53%) of Australians say businesses should give more to international aid programs compared with 40% who think the government should give more, according to ChildFund Australia’s 2012 Perceptions of Child Poverty and Aid Effectiveness survey. Of those who believe businesses should give more to international aid, most feel it should come from the banking and financial services (93%), mining (89%) and media (82%) sectors.

Nigel Spence, CEO of ChildFund Australia, said: ‘In Australia, there appears to be growing momentum for greater recognition of the business sector’s role in reducing poverty. It is encouraging to see so many businesses signing up to the UN Global Compact and we would also encourage them to look at the new Children’s Rights and Business Principles.”

Many Australian businesses play a significant role in international aid and development in partnership with governments, NGOs and overseas communities in which they operate. For some of these businesses, commitment to the UN Global Compact has provided a framework for directing, monitoring and reporting on participation in development activities.

‘It’s timely that AusAID is hosting a new consultative forum with the business sector this month. We hope to see a range of ideas coming out of this for businesses and government to work effectively together on aid and development issues.’

The 2012 Perceptions of Child Poverty and Aid Effectiveness survey is the fifth report from ChildFund Australia that surveys 1,000 Australian adults and their attitudes towards international aid and child poverty.

CASE STUDY

Allens: Transforming their lawyers into social leaders

Prominent commercial law firm, Allens, is leading the charge in implementing socially responsible practices and strategic investments in international aid.

Allens was the first organisation in Australia to become a signatory to the UN Global Compact, a global corporate citizenship initiative that helps ensure commercial sectors advance in ways that benefit economies and societies everywhere. More than 300 Australian companies are now signatories to the agreement.

The firm is implementing a range of unique programs, including Lawyers as Leaders, a training kit for corporate counsel outlining their role in respect of each of the UN Global Compact’s 10 principles around human rights, labour, anti-corruption and the environment.

Michael Rose, chair of the ChildFund Alliance board and chief executive partner at commercial law firm Allens, attended the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit in 2010.

‘We are in a global world and increasingly operate on a global level’, said Mr. Rose. ‘At Allens, we believe it’s vital for businesses to not only play an active role in corporate giving but also to develop meaningful corporate programs that align with their business principles. It’s not just about donations but about providing long-term and relevant support for countries in need.’