Business can and should provide solutions to society’s most pressing challenges, says Journal of the British Academy

31 Aug 2022

Business can and should help solve the problems facing society and the planet, according to the authors of a new Special Issue of the Journal of the British Academy.

Foundations of the Future of the Corporation programme report ‘Policy & Practice for Purposeful Business’”, edited by Professor Colin Mayer FBA (Emeritus Professor of Management Studies at the Blavatnik School of Government and the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford), brings together key ideas, research and evidence from the British Academy’s long-running research programme into the Future of the Corporation.

The programme combined research from a range of academic disciplines with insight from senior business and policy leaders, and recently concluded with a final report, Policy and Practice for Purposeful Business.

This special issue of the Journal of the British Academy examines research that contributed to the findings of the Future of the Corporation programme, which has highlighted that policies and business practices centred around corporate purpose would enable business to help provide solutions to society’s problems.

Articles in this edition of the Journal explore relevant policies and business practices in the areas of corporate law, measurement and finance, and consider illustrations of practices reflecting some of these ideas. They accompany the other research and policy papers produced by the programme since 2018.

Articles include:

  • The Research Background to the Final Report of the Future of the Corporation programme on ‘Policy & Practice for Purposeful Business’, by Colin Mayer
  • Findings of the Future of the Corporation ‘Purpose Labs’, by Jocelyn Bailey, Lilian Barratt, Molly Morgan Jones and Henry Richards
  • The Future of the Corporation: The Avenues for Legal Change, by Dalia Palombo
  • Through the Looking Glass: Tying Performance and Materiality to Corporate Purpose, by J.C. Stroehle, K. Soonawalla and M. Metzner
  • The Purposeful Corporation and the Role of the Finance Industry, by David Pitt-Watson and Hari Mann
  • Principles of Purposeful Business: Illustrative examples, by Charles Ebert and Victoria Hurth.

Professor Colin Mayer FBA, Emeritus Professor of Management Studies at the Blavatnik School of Government and the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, said:

“The British Academy’s Future of the Corporation programme is one of the most ambitious projects examining the role of business in society in recent years. We set out to determine which policy and practice reforms should be implemented to help ensure that business produces solutions to the problems facing society and the planet. This special issue of the Journal of the British Academy demonstrates aspects of the research, evidence, expertise and opinion that went into the project and shows that it is not just possible to put purpose at the heart of business, but necessary."

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