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Principles for Purposeful Business - Executive Summary

Published by The British Academy

The Future of the Corporation is one of the most important and pressing topics of our time. This report is not just for business leaders, shareholders and policymakers. It is also for people who work for businesses, buy their products, benefit from a pension or feel an impact from business activities. And facing a climate crisis, this report is crucial for the world at large.

The Future of the Corporation programme is one of the largest and most ambitious ever conducted by the British Academy, the UK’s national academy for the humanities and social sciences. It lies at the heart at the heart of the future of capitalism, the future of humanity and the future of our planet. This second report builds on the November 2018 report, “Reforming business for the 21st century”. It revisits the case for change and highlights that climate change, the urgency of delivering on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), technological developments, the increasing dominance of companies without significant tangible assets, and negative perceptions of business make this agenda particularly urgent. It identifies how change can and should be achieved. It sets out a series of principles to guide lawmakers and business leaders in any jurisdiction towards the policies and practices that can release the potential of business to profitably solve the problems of people and planet, and to prevent business from profiting from harm. The findings are summarised below. 

Full report

Principles for Purposeful Business

The British Academy, 2019

The Future of the Corporation is one of the most important and pressing topics of our time. This report is not just for business leaders, shareholders and policymakers. It is also for people who work for businesses, buy their products, benefit from a pension or feel an impact from business activities. And facing a climate crisis, this report is crucial for the world at large.

Publication part of

Future of the Corporation

A major research programme examining the purpose of business and its role in society, led by Professor Colin Mayer FBA, Professor of Management at the Saїd Business School.