Future of the Corporation – Purpose Summit Series

1-4 February 2021

22-24 June 2020

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?

For all enquires, please contact the team

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Purposeful Business for an Inclusive and Sustainable Economy

Watch

Why we need government leadership to promote purposeful business

Watch

  • 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

Watch

  • 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

Watch

  • 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

Purposeful Business in Times of Crisis

Watch

How is business adopting purpose around the world?

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  • Chair: Hetan Shah, CEO, The British Academy
  • Professor Colin Mayer, Academic Lead, Future of the Corporation
  • Stefan Oschmann, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Merck
  • Ashley Grice, CEO, BrightHouse Consulting, a Boston Consulting Group company
  • Alan Jope, CEO, Unilever
  • Anneliese Dodds MP, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer

What is the role of stakeholders in purposeful business?

Watch

  • Chair: Dr Victoria Hurth, Convenor of ISO37000 - a global standard on 'Guidance for the Governance of Organisations’
  • Professor Colin Mayer, Academic Lead, Future of the Corporation
  • Frances O'Grady, General Secretary, Trades Union Congress
  • Dan Labbad, CEO, Crown Estate
  • Emma Marcegaglia, Chairman and CEO of Marcegaglia Holding S.p.A, and Vice Chairman and CEO of Marcegaglia Steel Spa
  • Jim Snabe, Chairman, Siemens and Mærsk

How can technological change serve society through purposeful business?

Watch

  • Professor Colin Mayer, Academic Lead, Future of the Corporation
  • Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft
  • Greg Clark MP, Chair of the Science and Technology Committee
  • Professor Ngaire Woods, Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government and Professor of Global Economic Governance at Oxford University

How can investors and owners support purposeful business?

Watch

  • Professor Colin Mayer, Academic Lead, Future of the Corporation
  • Douglas Lamont, CEO, Innocent Drinks
  • Hiro Mizuno, until recently Chief Investment Officer of the Japan Government Pension Investment Fund
  • Phil Thomson, President, Global Affairs at GSK
  • Deb Oxley, Chief Executive, Employee Ownership Association

What can we learn from crises, past and present, in solving the problems of people and planet?

Watch

  • Chair: Roula Khalaf, Editor of the Financial Times
  • Professor Sir David Cannadine, President of the British Academy
  • Professor Colin Mayer, Academic Lead, Future of the Corporation
  • Mohamed Amersi, Chairman of the Amersi Foundation
  • Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance and until recently Governor of the Bank of England
  • Alistair Phillips-Davies, CEO, SSE
  • Darren Jones MP, Chair of the Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy Committee
  • Professor Ngaire Woods, Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government and Professor of Global Economic Governance at Oxford University
  • Dan Labbad, CEO, Crown Estate

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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