Future of the Corporation – February 2021 Purpose Summit

Monday 1 February,

Tuesday 2 February and

Thursday 4 February 2021

Purposeful Business for an Inclusive and Sustainable Economy

With the resilience of business and society tested to the limit by the COVID-19 pandemic, our assumptions around the roles of business, investors and government are shifting.

The British Academy’s Future of the Corporation review into the role of business in society brought to the fore a new definition of the purpose of business – “to profitably solve the problems of people and planet, and not profit from creating problems”. Eight principles supporting this vision were published in our November 2019 report, Principles for Purposeful Business, which outlined necessary reforms to company law, corporate governance, finance, measurement, and the role of regulators.

This definition and the associated principles now provide a robust framework for reshaping business policy and practice in response to the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to public health, the economy and the well-being of our societies.

The Purpose Summit series is providing a platform for policymakers, business leaders, investors and civil society to share ideas to transform business behaviour at this pivotal time. Our work, along with many others, has shown that there is a growing appetite in business for a purpose-driven approach. But what does this mean? And in times of crisis – whether the immediate COVID-19 pandemic, the related recession, or the climate crisis – how can purposeful business contribute to preventing, reacting to and rebuilding from crises?

Meanwhile, you can still view recordings of the the first summit that took place virtually from 22 to 24 June 2020.

For all enquires, please contact the team




Why we need government leadership to promote purposeful business

  • Chair: Gillian Tett, Chair Editorial Board, Editor-at-large, US The Financial Times
  • Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States Chairman of Generation Investment Management
  • Baroness Minouche Shafik, Director of LSE
  • Arunma Oteh, Executive-in-Residence at Said Business School University of Oxford and former Treasurer and a Vice President of the World Bank

How government can promote purposeful business through law, regulation and standards

  • Chair: Professor Julia Black CBE FBA, Professor of Law and Strategic Director of Innovation at LSE
  • Leo Strine, Former Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court
  • Janine Guillot CEO, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)
  • Professor Rebecca Henderson FBA, University Professor at Harvard Business School
  • Professor Raghuram Rajan, Former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India
  • Rt Hon Edward Miliband MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
  • Saker Nusseibeh CBE, CEO of the International Business of Federated Hermes

How government can support business to become purposeful through partnerships and skills

  • Chair: Julie Pybus, Freelance Journalist and Global Editor of Pioneers Post
  • Lord Victor Adebowale, CBE Chair of Social Enterprise UK
  • David Blood Senior Partner, Generation Investment Management
  • Natalie Campbell, CEO of Belu Water
  • Rt Hon Jesse Norman MP Financial Secretary to the Treasury
  • Julia Hobsbawm OBE Editorial Intelligence and Chair of Workshift Commission

Partners and supporters

The British Academy would like to thank the following partners and supporters for their support of the Future of the Corporation programme.

If you would like more information about becoming a partner or supporter of the programme, please contact Michelle Waterman, Head of Development on 020 7969 5290.

Principal supporters

Associate supporter

Corporate partners

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