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Commonwealth values ‘could help rebuild business trust’

16 April 2018

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland talked about sport, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and small business during an open debate at the Business Forum at London’s Guildhall this afternoon.

Speaking on the topic of Business Trust - How do we restore public confidence in business she said: “I’ve just come back from the Commonwealth Games – we saw there the power of sport. But sport is driven by integrity and sport is now a contributor to billions of our GDP. And yet we know it is threatened by the lack of integrity.”

She then explained how trust is important to the delivery of the SDGs: “When we look at the SDGs, we know the difference between the money we have and the money we need to meet those development goals. The gap is the sum equivalent of that that is syphoned off by corruption.”

Highlighting how trade isn’t all about big enterprise, she said: “Small and medium-sized enterprises are incredibly important - and we have launched a network of those SMEs. And who are our SME’s? They, in part, are our young people our women, if we are to be really prosperous, we need to galvanise and empower our young people and women.”

David Landsman, Executive Director of Indian multinational Tata Ltd, also spoke in the debate and said business could learn a thing or two from Commonwealth values. He said: “The Commonwealth is not a regulatory body that is using regulation to punish people or to protect. We are a community and family of values.

“If you can put the values and integrity with the detail of the regulation, we can come up with a framework to celebrate good practice in one Commonwealth country and trade with that badge of good practice to bolster of values of quality, reliability and integrity.”

Also in the discussion was the Lord Mayor of London Charles Bowman, who said technology was a great enabler of trade, but added: “although there have been many positive consequences of this digital ‘fourth revolution’, trust has indeed suffered.”