British Academy’s Purpose Summits to propose bold new reforms for business and government to deliver on global goals

15 Jun 2020

UN Climate Envoy and former Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney will join Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Financial Times Editor Roula Khalaf and other senior figures from business, finance and public policy for the first of the Future of the Corporation’s Purpose Summits on 22-24 June.

The Future of the Corporation is a major programme of research into the future of capitalism in the 21st century run by the British Academy, the national body for the humanities and social sciences. This Summit begins a year-long global series of Purpose Summits tackling how government and business can take action to implement the idea of corporate purpose.

In 2019 the British Academy published a new definition of the purpose of the corporation in Principles for Purposeful Business: “to profitably solve the problems of people and planet, and not profit from creating problems”. The Purpose Summits provide a forum for highlighting action already being taken as well as reforms to business practice and policy necessary to deliver on corporate purpose.

During the opening Summit’s five public sessions, Mark Carney, Roula Khalaf and fellow speakers will address the role of the corporation in meeting climate goals and delivering an inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who recently announced Microsoft’s commitment to become carbon negative by 2030, will discuss the role of technology in responding to crises.

Speakers throughout the three-day programme also include: General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress, Frances O’Grady; former Chief Investment Officer of the world’s largest pension fund, Hiro Mizuno; Chairman of Siemens and Mærsk, Jim Snabe; and CEOs of Unilever, Merck, Innocent Drinks, BrightHouse, the Employee Ownership Association and the Crown Estate.

Former Business Secretary Greg Clark MP, Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds MP and the Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University Professor Ngaire Woods will join discussions addressing how government and business can work together to achieve a more purposeful economy as we chart a path to recovery.

Professor Colin Mayer CBE FBA, academic lead of the Future of the Corporation programme, said:

“The World Bank recently reported that it expected the global economy to experience the deepest recession since World War Two threatening a substantial rise in extreme poverty, and the UK faces one of its most acute recessions in modern history. Capitalism needs to be better equipped to cope with current and future crises.”

“This will involve unleashing the potential of purpose-driven companies – whether small, resourceful, entrepreneurial firms or large, global, listed corporations – and uniting governments, owners, investors and stakeholders in promoting more resilient businesses of the future.”

The Purpose Summits are set to take place throughout 2020-21, supported by partners across the world, as part of the British Academy’s Future of the Corporation programme.

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