PL CEO: More incentives for responsible businesses

Profit distribution should consider the lasting impact on society rather than merely focusing on financial returns, claims MP Randolph De Battista

Randolph De Battista, government MP and Labour Party Chief Executive Officer, emphasised the need for the government to incentivise and recognise businesses that prioritise social responsibility towards their employees and clients. His belief is that profit distribution should consider the lasting impact on society rather than merely focusing on financial returns. De Battista pointed out that this practice is already implemented in various countries and adopting it in Malta could significantly improve our living standards. These insights were shared with The Journal in a discussion aligned with Prime Minister Robert Abela’s recent emphasis on reinforcing our national sense of community.

Two examples of what De Battista is referring to take us to the United Kingdom and France. The UK’s Social Value Act is a prime example of incentivising businesses to consider social impacts in their operations, particularly in public procurement. This act requires organisations seeking government contracts to demonstrate how they will deliver “social value” – including how they support local communities, improve social welfare, and provide employment opportunities for disadvantaged groups.

Another example is the French Corporate Duty of Vigilance Law, which mandates large companies to identify and prevent adverse human rights and environmental impacts resulting from their activities. While it includes environmental aspects, the law significantly focuses on social issues, including labour rights and community impacts, thus enforcing a comprehensive approach to corporate social responsibility.

Randolph De Battista laid great emphasis on the principle of respect, suggesting that fostering a respectful society would naturally discourage inconsiderate behaviours, such as blocking access for those using wheelchairs or pushchairs, or blocking religious processions by placing restaurant tables and chairs on pavements. On this note, Labour leader Robert Abela has pledged that this year’s religious processions will proceed without interference from commercial entities. Speaking to party supporters at the General Workers’ Union building in Valletta yesterday, Abela emphasised that traditional festivities and processions should be held in their normal manner, without the need to adjust the routes of the processions to accommodate retail outlets and eateries.

The Labour Party’s CEO recalled Malta’s community’s spirit during the pandemic. That spirit was evident in the way Maltese people looked out for each other, offering help to neighbours and those living alone, embodying the true essence of what it means to be Maltese. This sense of caring and community support, De Battista held, is what makes the Maltese people stand out, especially in the eyes of visiting tourists who leave with a positive impression of the Maltese’s willingness to help others.

He pointed out that the Labour Party’s electoral manifesto consistently addressed community concerns, and the party works to keep this in mind not just during council elections, but throughout all times. The manifesto pledges to create secure communities, enhancing feelings of safety and calm. This includes the introduction of community policing to offer peace of mind, and services like Silver T for the elderly, ensuring they can get assistance for their errands. Additionally, a 24-hour helpline for individuals starting to experience dementia is part of their commitment to supporting community members, signifying a dedication to overall well-being.

The Labour Party’s approach is inclusive, explained De Battista, considering the needs of everyone, not just those with limited financial resources. For example, an elderly woman diagnosed with a condition affecting her ability to perform daily tasks is also within the Party’s scope of concern.

The Labour Party’s CEO also touched on the issue of maintaining stability in the face of rising utility bills. With predictions of price surges in Europe, he critiqued the idea of discontinuing subsidies, which would completely erode the sense of community for those struggling with payments.

Finally, De Battista warned of the significant consequences of low voter turnout in upcoming elections. “Not voting increases the risk of electing officials with far-right, fascist ideologies, threatening the community spirit and particularly harming the most vulnerable,” he said. “This scenario underscores the importance of participation to protect community values and support for all individuals, regardless of their circumstances,” concluded the Labour Party’s CEO.

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