Event report

WA | 2019 Schneider Electric Business Forum: Social Licence to Operate

FACCI was delighted to organise, for the 5th edition, the 2019 Schneider Electric Business Forum about "Social Licence to Operate: Reinventing the growth engine"

Perth attendees, at the 2019 Schneider Electric Business Forumon the theme Social Licence to Operate: Reinventing the growth engine, had the opportunity to listen to a great variety of speakers. The fifth edition of the Business Forum came for the first time to Perth, in WA, and the experience was no other, but of satisfaction after delivering six successful sessions.

Many personalities were present at the event organised by the French-Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry team last Thursday in Perth. The 2019 Schneider Electric Business ForumSocial Licence to Operate” was a great opportunity for the business community to come together and exchange on topics that are important, and current for business in Australia.

Christine Caseris, President and founder of the WA chapter of FACCI welcomed attendees, and introduced, Fiona Drummond, Managing Partner WA at EY.  Fiona Drummond kindly welcomed us to the beautiful venue and acknowledged the traditional owners of the land.

Marc Yeterian from the French Embassy in Canberra exalted the engagement and the commitment of the Australian and French governments. He also emphasized Australia’s willingness to maintain closed ties between the two countries. Economically, bilateral trading and investments figures have long been on the rise between the two countries:

“The imports coming from France have diversified, going from mostly airplanes to a range of industrial equipment, chemical products, and food items. Furthermore, Australia’s primary resource sector is of massive importance to France, being one of the key suppliers, with over 1 Bn AUD worth of imports in 2018.”

An introduction to the topic was delivered by Vince Troth, the Regional Director WA from Schneider Electric who highlighted the importance of the relationship and collaboration towards change. Social Licence, in this rapid changing world, is a topical subject for Schneider Electric that needs to be earned and maintained, underpinned by legitimacy, credibility, and trust.

There is a general desire to advocate for social causes, and for generations to secure sustainable goals. Digitalization has helped to transform competitiveness into a sustainable development. Schneider Electric responds to 4 trends significantly affecting the business world: living with finite resources, living in a world of data​, living by principles​ and living with integrity​.

Vince Troth closed the session with a phase that summarised the feeling of Schneider Electric:

“The social licence to operate has evolved from simply being ​the “right thing to do” ​
to be the ​ “right thing to do to grow business.”

The first session “Values and Culture: Lessons from the Banking Royal Commission” gave an exciting commencement to the Business Forum with Prof Tim Mazzarol- Winthrop Professor, the Coordinator of the Co-operative Enterprise Research Unit (CERU) UWA, Neale Prior, Personal Finance Editor, The West and Prof David GilchristAccounting and Finance Discipline, Co-Convenor: Not-for-profits UWA.  We could have not asked for better panellists and a better session to tune our attendees for the day. 

The Climate change and environmental sustainability panellists: Vince Troth - Regional Director WA from Schneider Electric,Chris TallentireMLA, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Water; Fisheries; Forestry; Innovation and ICT; Science, Brad Wylynko, Partner Perth,  Clayton UTZ and Lio Hebert, Director of Wileo, gave a diagnosis of the State and the State policy towards an improvement. Climate change is imperative on the agenda of companies and what can be done is important to acquire Social Licence.

The day continued with Modern Slavery and Supply Chain discussion. The legislative scenario is adjusting, and transparency into the supply chain is essential.  Attendees were deeply touched with the statistics presented by Charlotte Ollis, Project Analyst from the Minderoo Foundation and the need for a business model that comprises a strategy to minimise the dangers of modern slavery proposed by Dr. Webb, Co-Convenor of the Modern Slavery Research Cluster.

The discussion continued onto the diversity and inclusion session. Noelene Murray gave the audience an opening toPerdaman and the view of how an office in Australia can work under the diversity of a multicultural country.Lee Tyrrellfrom Randstad jointed the topic to the engagement, and how a company mirrors the belonging feeling and the labour market increases the accessibility for a greater diversity.

The 5th session brought us the case of how institutions engage with the community, and technology is the main driver of these initiatives including in our panel:  Andrew Hammond, Chair Commissioner City of Perth, Alana Joske, Westport Communications Manager,Daniel Marsh, Managing Director from Sociometry. Community expectations around transparency and consultation have increased, especially for government. Social media allows groups to share information and join forces instantly.  What to do next and how to win the trust of the community?

The last session on AI and data protection closed with a statement and a question, does privacy really exists? Can integrity be preserved and can projects, and people use AI to anticipate failures and increase performance? Our panellists were Prof Craig Valli, Director of Edith Cowan University's Security Research Institute and member of the Interpol Cyber Crime Experts Group, Edgar Longui, Project Management & Business Development at TechnipFMC and Elizabeth Tylich, Partner at Jackson McDonald.   

Elizabeth Tylich emphasized how legal challenges have created a complicated frame in which is difficult to predict and to determine arrangements, safety to profits, workforce, cultural compliance, and ethical culture. Who owns the information and who is responsible for their protection?  The more data the more risk and the level of compliance must be adjusted.

A special thank you to our Moderators,Gill Zugmeyer Senior Manager, Advisory, Risk & Internal Audit, and Adam Carrel, Climate Change and Sustainability Services from EY.

The day closed with an unformal lunch and an opportunity to expand the talks of the day and networking.

Warm thank you to our Naming Rights Sponsor Schneider Electric, and also to EY for hosting the event as well as to all the speakers and attendees of the 5th National Business Forum in Perth.  

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