Business Success Through Serving Society

The theme of our conference held on 24 October 2013 was ‘Business Success Through Serving Society’. As well as key note speeches from John Kay and Justin Welby, panels made up of senior business leaders and representatives from wider society debated the role of boards and management in making change, whether investors are incentivised to serve society and whether wider society can promote positive change. The conference was chaired by Jon Snow of Channel 4 News.

Speaker Profiles

See the profiles of the speakers and panellists of our 2013 conference.

2014 Conference

The theme of our 2014 conference was “Putting Purpose into Practice”.

2012 Conference

Our launch conference was held in September 2012.

Overview and podcasts of the sessions

A pamphlet giving an overview of the conference can be viewed here: 2013 Conference Pamphlet

Welcome and Blueprint Update

Vincent Nichols made the opening and closing remarks. In his opening remarks, he emphasised ‘the need for a whole community to play their part in ensuring that business success is intertwined with the success of the society that allows business to thrive’. He continued ‘It is not a credible alternative to focus solely on maximising profit and making amends to society as an afterthought. All the actors in society need to play their part, from companies, investors in companies, and social commentators, to academics and institutions that represent people in society. Hence the broad range of our conversation today”.

The full text of his opening address can be read here: Archbishop Nichols Introduction to 2013 conference

The next generation

In his opening address Vincent Nichols spoke about the next generation and how they yearn for a world where humanity will meet the global challenges of rising demand for critical resources, environmental fragility and growing inequality. He showed a video of a group of young people talking about what they would like business to be.


The Message and the Framework

Sue Garrard and Loughlin Hickey set out the objectives of the Blueprint movement, outlined the next steps being taken to take it forward and addressed some of the key questions often asked.

The Change Imperative

John Kay, academic and commentator, talked about the “Change Imperative”. He discussed the importance of purpose and what, in his view, is a good company.

“ The purpose of business is not to do good, the purpose of business is to be a good business ”


Background reading : John Kay Inaugural Lecture at said – Feb 98.pdf

Key Note Speaker

In his address, Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury drew on the parable of the generous vineyard owner. With his ‘deep sense of belonging to community’ – the Archbishop used his keynote speech to propose perspectives that ‘should be at the heart of our ethics’ in order to tackle issues of regeneration. He called for a financial services system which is ‘positive about entrepreneurs’, recognising the ‘dignity’ and ‘integrity’ of human beings and allowing them ‘to take risks, to succeed, and to fail.’  This may lead to our society rediscovering ‘the importance of the human being with whom we deal,’ he said.

Click here for the full text


Panel – What is the role of boards and management in leading the way?

The panellists each gave a short presentation setting out their views on how boards and management should lead the way.  A debate and Q&A followed, facilitated by Jon Snow of Channel 4 news.

The panellists:

Bob Walker, Chair, Barratt Developments plc
Sir Ian Gibson, Chair, Morrisons
Paul Feeney, CEO, Old Mutual Wealth
Noreen Doyle, Non Executive Director, Credit Suisse & Newmont Mining

Panel – Are Investors incentivised to serve society?

Before the discussion, Ben Andradi gave a short introduction. As a backdrop to the debate,  Jeremy Cohen of Edelman PR then presented an overview of the results of a survey carried out by Edelman and the CFA Institute into trust in investors.

The panellists:

Saker Nusseibeh, CEO Hermes Fund Managers
Anne Richards, CIO Aberdeen
James Macpherson, MD Blackrock

Each panellist gave a 5 minute presentation before the issues were debated. John Kay, who addressed the conference earlier, also joined the debate.

How can wider society promote positive change?

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, joined a the panel to debated this  question:

The panellists:

Sir Richard Lambert, chair of new professional body on banking standards
Frances O’Grady, General Secretary, TUC
Dame Barbara Stocking, former CEO Oxfam UK
Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury