How Blueprint came about
In 2011 a group of senior business leaders approached the Archbishop of Westminster as they felt that the principles of Christian moral and social teaching, and in particular the tradition of Catholic Social Thought, could help bring about change in business.
This led to discussions on the role of business in society. One concern was that the current focus in business was business competence – is it legal rather than is it right, and that some people were experiencing a “divided life“ – where they felt they were expected to leave the best of their personal values and morals formed outside the workplace at the door when at work.
A small group was formed – initially as an initiative sponsored by the Archbishop. The group recognised two aspects of the current debate.
- The discussion of business purpose – how businesses should have a corporate purpose which benefits society as well as delivering a financial return. This goes much further than corporate social responsibility initiatives – the purpose should direct what the business does and all its activities should be aligned to this purpose.
- How many people speak of being asked to live the divided life mentioned above. The best businesses seek to encourage their people to bring their best values to work with them, no matter how these values have been formed.
These issues are linked – once a business is clearer about its purpose beyond delivering a financial return, then it can and should be more overt about not just the competencies but also the character of the people needed to deliver that purpose.
So the aim of the initiative became:
Uniting Corporate Purpose and Personal Values to Serve Society
A conference was held in 2012 which explored how corporate culture has become skewed, or perceived to be skewed, in one direction: towards the pursuit of short-term financial gain at the cost of personal dignity and the long-term benefits to business and society. The conference explored what a new blueprint might be that will allow a culture to flourish that better serves us all.
Following the conference a wider group of people became involved in developing the thinking and approach of Blueprint. Various working groups were formed with representatives from a wide range of businesses, NGOs, investors, academics, different faiths and other groups who work with business. The Framework to Guide Decision Making had been drafted for the conference and this was refined to take into account input from the wider group. This wider group fed into the development of Five Principles of a Purpose Driven Business which were finalised in 2014.