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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Written by Loughlin Hickey
There is a growing consciousness in business of the need for a higher duty of care towards society. The latest examples present common themes but suggest different approaches to making it a reality.
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.
Written by Charles Wookey
Published by the CMI, this research from Charlie Ebert of Judge Business School Cambridge, Dr Victoria Hurth of the University of Plymouth, and Prof Jaideep Prabhu of Judge Business School Cambridge draws on research and interviews with leaders from 18 of the biggest UK and international brands, including BT, Unilever and Marks & Spencer, to discover WHY companies are becoming purpose-driven.
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. Corporate social responsibility – the idea that a business can do whatever it wants within the law so long as it is doing some good somewhere – was an earlier attempt to address these challenges, but it feels increasingly outdated.
Written by Charles Wookey, CEO A Blueprint for Better Business
Last month I went to the USA for a week. I was there to give a presentation at a University in Minnesota, and then had a series of meetings in Boston and New York with people who had expressed interest in A Blueprint for Better Business. I was very curious to understand the cultural differences and explore how what we are up to here might ‘land’ there.