Monthly Archives

May 2018

Finance has a purpose, done well it has a huge role to play in society

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Over the last year, the discussion around how financial services, in particular investors, are responsible for the management of companies has grown. Activist investors, once seen as “corporate raiders” intending to radically change a company to increase stock value for short-term gains, are now viewed as possible stewards of increased diversity and better corporate governance. Mainstream investors have turned activist in areas such as weapons manufacture, climate change, excessive pay, diversity, and inappropriate behaviour by senior management.

Speaking to the OECD Global Parliamentary Network, hosted by the UK All Parliamentary Party Group (APPG) on Inclusive Growth at Parliament last month, Dr Hari Mann, Hult Business School and Visiting Fellow at Cass Business School, argued that the purpose of finance in society goes far beyond the role of investors and always has. Finance has a purpose, he said, and done well it has a huge impact and a significant role to play in society.  He highlighted four defining areas where finance impacts inclusive growth.

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What does it mean to be a responsible and responsive employer”?

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Ahead of Blueprint’s ‘Becoming a Purpose-led Employer’ panel event on June 11th, here’s our take on what it means to be a responsible and responsive employer and why it matters. We welcome your views and invite you to share any questions or topics you would like to see discussed at the event. You can download the full paper ‘What does it mean to be a responsible and responsive employer?’ here. 

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How can investors tell if a company is genuinely purpose-led?

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Written by Michael Hilton and Charles Wookey

What questions should I ask to get under the skin about whether a company is serious about purpose?

In March 2018, Blueprint and Quintin Price (former global head of active strategies at BlackRock) convened a group of 10 leading stewardship investors. Together they drafted a short list of questions which they believe will help investors respond to this challenge. You can download the full paper ‘How can investors identify purpose-led companies?’ here.

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How can the financial services industry work with policymakers to support inclusive growth?

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‘At a time when technology is rewriting international financial services, we need to ask how policy is best placed to manage this process and ensure it reduces inequality and creates inclusive growth’

Greg Medcraft, Director of the OECD Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs addressing the OECD Global Parliamentary Network, hosted by the UK All Parliamentary Party Group (APPG) on Inclusive Growth at Parliament, London, 5 April 2018

Inclusive growth requires long-term investment in people, places and industries. Across the world by 2020, $111 trillion will be under management by financial institutions. This places the Financial Services (FS) industry in an amazing position to impact positive social and economic outcomes. It also means it can no longer be just about diversifying risk, FS organisations must also play a role in managing systematic risk.

As is increasingly acknowledged, the rising risks of inequality are one of the critical motivating factors driving FS companies to play a greater part in supporting inclusive growth. Speaking on behalf of the OECD, Greg Medcraft explored three key shifts – trust, digitalisation and globalisation – that are hugely affecting FS businesses and how they might work together with policymakers.

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I’m a recovering pessimist about the future of humanity

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Written by Jo Alexander, On Purpose Fellow & Chartered Geologist

Geologists are very good at scaring people (including ourselves!).  As a geologist, I have a tendency to be rather dramatic and fatalistic because my science has taught me the power of our natural environment to kill off species: whether that be at the hand of super-volcanoes, earthquakes, meteorites, or climate change and we know that one-day homo sapiens will face extinction too (see… I’m doing it already!).

When I met the climate scientist, Chris Rapley , he reflected to me that if the scientific community wants to galvanize action to tackle the climate problem it should focus less on delivering the raw facts (compelling as they are) and more on embedding them in stories that engage people emotionally and are relevant to their daily lives. My new rule of thumb is that there’s no point scaring someone about climate change if I’m not also helping them understand what they can do about it.  This special power of frightening people needs to be deployed with care.

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