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?

Over the last two or three years, the idea of organisational purpose as being a key to both create better businesses and repair the fractured relationship between business and society has grown. Financial powerhouses like BlackRock have joined calls for companies to adopt purpose, to shape stronger cultures and deliver sustainable success. There’s an increasing body of evidence on the harm that can be done by a myopic focus on maximising shareholder value.

A lot of people are talking about the potential of purpose, however a lot remains to be done both to understand what the concept of purpose means and how it works in practice. Through our work, A Blueprint for Better Business has sought to contribute to this conversation and recognise the fundamental importance of this shift.

In particular little has been written about what a responsible business should consider in terms of its impacts on the social determinants of health. Most people take a very narrow view of businesses’ role in health, often considering little more than what healthcare they provide to their staff, their ‘wellbeing at work’ policy and/or whether they produce anything that directly impacts people’s health (e.g. toxic chemicals).

However, businesses have the power to help or harm the health a wide range of people including their employees, customers and suppliers in a myriad of different ways. This ranges from the impact of their products and services, the externalities of their operations, and the nature of their internal and external relationships.

The challenge is that it is often not clear who has an incentive to address these issues. Businesses do have an interest, as they depend on healthy people to be their employees, suppliers and customers of the future.

This highlighted a real opportunity for Blueprint and The Health Foundation to bring their different expertise together in an attempt to broaden the discussion. How should purpose-led businesses think about health outcomes?  What can they do to improve health outcomes and build the “healthiest human system” ?

Download the full report How Can Businesses Contribute To People’s Health?


This report was authored by, Michael Hilton, On Purpose Associate, Blueprint, Amber Marquand, Blueprint, and Rob Williams, Health Foundation, with editorial support from Tim Elwell Sutton and Kate Addison at the Health Foundation and Amelia Watts at Blueprint. Thanks as well to Charles Wookey, CEO, Blueprint, and Jo Bibby, Director of Strategy, Health Foundation.

Infographics were kindly provided by the Health Foundation, and it retains the copyright for all included images.

We’d like to specifically thank the companies who gave permission for their case-studies to be used at our request:

  • Barclays
  • ZPG
  • Timberland
  • Richer Sounds