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Discussing Fairness in Business

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Charles Wookey – Speaking at the RSA – 5th March 2019

For more on this topic download A Blueprint For Better Business’s paper Fairness in Business.

You can also watch the event in full here and listen to it as a podcast.

Thank you, Matthew and the RSA team for collaborating with us to hold this event this evening and to the panel.

Who is us? A Blueprint for Better Business is a charity focussed on helping build a better society through better business.

Along with many others, we believe that there is now an urgent need to move from an economic system optimised for growth and profit to one optimised for human well-being and a sustainable ecosystem.

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Did I Do Enough?

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Vicky Grinnell-Wright

As I hand over the role to a new Head of Corporate Engagement, I muse awhile on my time in post… I conclude that it is both a unique and very peculiar role and I cannot help but wonder: Did I do enough?

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Report: How Can Businesses Contribute To People’s Health?

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This guide How Can Businesses Contribute To People’s Health?  has been produced by A Blueprint For Better Business in association with the Health Foundation. It highlights some of the ways that any business can be a force for good by having a positive impact on the health of society. It has been written for business leaders, and in particular leads for sustainability, wellbeing, procurement and HR.

Click here to download the full report How Can Businesses Contribute To People’s Health?

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“The power balance between the customer or citizen and the business really needs to be redressed”

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Following our ‘What does it mean to be honest and fair with customers’ panel on November 7th, we wanted to share the key themes that emerged during the event.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive, Citizens Advice “The power balance between the customer or citizen and the business really needs to be redressed”

During a wide-ranging discussion, it was clear that both panellist and participants alike felt fairness and honesty with customers is a choice a business can, and should, make. A key part of this is whose interests and needs decision-makers take into account, and with what priority and level of commitment.

The debate highlighted that when business structures and goals focus on short-term revenue targets it often results in decisions at odds with the customer, citizen or public good. In some sectors, particularly where choice is limited (by provider availability, such as with utilities), or where a monopoly exists (such as with transport options and digital services), opacity and customer dissatisfaction are common.

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Does the UK economy require a fundamental structural shift?

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Written by Charles Wookey

Last month, the IPPR Commission on Economic Justice released its ‘Prosperity and Justice: A Plan for a New Economy’ report, outlining a 10-part proposal that would “hard-wire” justice into the economic system, rather than treating it as “an afterthought”. Such a fundamental structural shift would be on the scale of the post-war Labour government, and the Thatcherite marketisation of the 1980s. The Commission admits as much and argues that the scale of the economy’s problems makes such a shift necessary.

The Commission’s diagnosis of the state of the economy is compelling: the fact that wages are no longer mapped against economic growth, and the lack of investment both from investors and within business, particularly in skills and training, is evidence of the prevailing short-termist approach. It offers a well-researched and comprehensive set of prescriptions. I just had a slight unease about the framing of the argument in terms of “the economy” as an isolated system.

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What does it mean to be honest and fair with customers?

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Ahead of Blueprint’s What does it mean to be honest and fair with customers?’ panel event on November 7th, here’s our take on what honesty and fairness with customers looks like and the barriers and behaviours that lead businesses to fall short. 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 honest and fair with customers?’ here. 

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Head of Corporate Engagement

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A Blueprint for Better Business is seeking an experienced professional, with appropriate experience, who can drive forward our work with large corporates.

About Us

A Blueprint for Better Business is a charity whose purpose is to help business be guided and inspired by a purpose that benefits society. Our work is about stimulating and energising change in business behaviour, through challenging and encouraging businesses to embrace a different way of thinking about their purpose, and what motivates people. At the core of Blueprint are Five Principles of a Purpose Driven Business and A Framework to Guide decision making.

Part of our work is to help change the conversation about the purpose of business through dialogue with key influencers such as investors, academics, policy makers, NGOs, consultants to business and others, as well as through our social media, forums, conferences, events and collaboration with organisations with similar objectives. However, we also work 1:1 with a small number of large corporates to help them change. Our work is focused primarily on senior people, and on large corporates because of their scale and reach. Our work with businesses is restricted to being a catalyst for change; we are not change consultants. We are a charity funded by charitable foundations and individuals and do not accept money from business. Engagement with us is voluntary and free and is not about kite-marks or compliance.

About The Role

The role is to lead on our work with large corporates, working closely with our CEO.

We have recently started working with a small number of companies in what we are describing as a ‘social contract’. This is a non-legal, non-financial arrangement, where we make a shared commitment to work together with a company, over an 18-24-month period. Under the arrangement, members of our team have regular contact with the CEO and other key senior people in the company to challenge and support their thinking and their journey to being better businesses, using the Blueprint Principles as a provocation. Key elements include:

  • Regular (usually bi-monthly) 1:1 meetings or calls with the CEO
  • Regular (monthly) peer mentoring meetings and/or calls with senior people in the organisation responsible for driving and implementing the company’s strategy.
  • Invitations to regular forums every 6 months or so with their peers in other companies to share experiences and ideas
  • Workshop(s) for their leadership or other teams using the Blueprint Principles and Framework as a provocation

Your role will include:

  • Strengthening and developing relationships with key contacts in large corporates either through the social contract arrangement or other approaches, as appropriate to the company concerned
  • Working alongside Blueprint’s CEO to inspire the adoption of the Blueprint thinking and to help build a pipeline of companies for us to work with
  • Convening appropriate forums for senior business leaders to help challenge conventional thinking
  • Working with the Blueprint CEO and others to deliver workshops for corporates
  • Convening and leading regular forums for practitioners from corporates to share their experiences and to help them learn from and support each other
  • Liaising / working with coaches and consultants with experience working with large corporates e.g. through convening action learning sets to help them share experiences and support each other.
  • Collating and sharing key learnings made by people working with the Blueprint approach
  • Acting as an ambassador for Blueprint at appropriate events and forums

We are looking for someone who:

  • Is passionate about business being a force for good in society
  • Has an affinity with the Blueprint ethos and approach
  • Has the ability to demonstrate credibility with senior people in large corporates, in particular CEOs
  • Has experience either working with senior leaders in a corporate environment, with some involvement in management or in implementing change, or as a consultant working with large corporates
  • Has proven coaching and facilitation skills
  • Is comfortable interacting with senior business people
  • Is a team player
  • Has good communication skills
  • Is able to translate complex ideas into practical actions


A 1 year employment contract initially, subject to review (with a 3 month probation period).

This is a full time role, but we are open to discussing a part time arrangement (minimum of 3 days per week).

A Blueprint for Better Business supports diversity in the workplace and is an equal opportunities employer. Whilst our offices, and many of the clients we work with, are based in London, the role does not need to be 100% office based, we are open to flexible working.

To apply

As a charity which tries to live true to our own principles, we will be running a blind recruitment process. To apply, please send us a copy of your CV with your name, gender, and age removed from it. In addition to your CV, please send us a cover letter explaining why you would love this role.

Email applications and any questions to:

Deadline for applications: 31 October 2018

Interviews: Monday 12th November 2018

Start date: early January 2019

Salary: £80k (for a full time role) subject to experience plus 8% employer contribution to workplace pension.

Should fairness be a core business goal?

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Written by Charles Wookey

Blueprint for Better Business challenges companies to be a force for good and contribute to a better society. Such a system is fundamentally about delivering a basic social contract comprised of relative equality of outcomes; equality of opportunity; and fairness across generations. Blueprint’s Five Principles provide guidance for businesses and reflect the foundations needed for responsible business: honesty and fairness; good citizenship; responsible employment; guardians for future generations; and a purposeful business that delivers long-term sustainable performance.
Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, July 2018

If any one word sums up the pervasive societal distrust of big business, it is “unfairness”. Whether the issue is pay, tax, environmental harm or the growing share of corporate earnings going to capital rather than labour, this word underlines a now chronic dis-ease.

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7 questions to consider before you apply for a new job

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Written by Amber Marquand

Just 44% of millennials think business leaders are making a positive impact on the world.[i]

Before starting my internship at Blueprint, I, like the majority of my peers, found it easy to be cynical about what businesses define their role as being in society and questioned businesses commitment to making a positive impact. In particular the ubiquitous corporate mission ‘to make the world a better place’, which seems both vague and non-committal.

However, one of my tasks at Blueprint has been tracking the different companies that claim to be led by their purpose and benefit society. Through this research I have discovered that there are a handful of companies, a significant majority being start-ups, which do care about things such the environment, the treatment of their people, pay, the community they do business in, and so on.

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