Business has a key role to play in addressing climate change

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Charles Wookey, Blueprint CEO 

As the last week of protests by Extinction Rebellion (XR), the recent schools strikes and the hard hitting messages delivered by Greta Thunberg to MPs this week have highlighted, the world faces a catastrophic threat from unchecked climate change. Public scrutiny, and the challenge provided by informed citizenship, is a vital way in which society can hold business, and governments, to account to meet their responsibility to protect the natural world and conserve finite resources.

All businesses need to take urgent action to address the environmental challenges we all face. We welcome the decision by 24 UK business leaders to voice their support for the XR wider agenda in their letter to the Times and their new project XR Business. It is important that the CBI has voiced its support as well. Going forward, it is essential that a broad movement develops around engaging with the business community, with businesses actively taking part in initiating change and calling on their peers to do likewise. Every leader who makes a statement has the potential to inspire more to feel able to join them.

Many businesses support and are committed to playing a role in delivering the transformation XR are asking for, but in many cases much of this effort is limited to better reporting and taking action to manage financial or reputational risk. This is important but there is much more businesses can do by acting quickly and decisively to move beyond minimising harm to actively seeking to have a more positive impact. They need to innovate – for example creating more products and services which encourage and enable their customers to make their own commitments to contributing to a sustainable future.

For more on Blueprint perspective read our earlier blog Calls for climate action from across society

If you would get in touch with Blueprint about sustainability or any topic please email us


Calls for climate action from across society

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Amelia Watts, Blueprint

At Blueprint, we believe that every step towards climate action is something that should be recognised. There has been a huge surge in citizen activism – notably the school strikes across the world – and the last few days have seen a flood of activity around the challenge that climate change presents to society.

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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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Paper: Fairness in business

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On March 5th A Blueprint For Better Business hosted a panel discussion on How Not To Run An Unfair Business in partnership with the RSA to explore what fairness in business is, why it matters and how business leaders can challenge themselves to go further on fairness.

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

If you would like to explore this topic in more depth, you can download A Blueprint For Better Business’s paper Fairness in Business

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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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