Top 14 UK Employers Join Social Business Program | Corporate governance

The bosses of 14 major organizations, including Capita, Unilever and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), are committed to putting the well-being of staff, local communities and society at large higher on the board’s agenda. administration, after concluding that it would improve the long-term profitability of their businesses. .

The Purposeful Company, a nonprofit, said it has brought together business leaders from major FTSE 100 companies and major accounting firms, whose businesses employ 2 million people and manage £ 1 billion in assets. investment, to show that having a goal beyond a simple profit motive “brings strategic clarity, operational discipline around what is important to stakeholders and more meaningful work for employees”.

Capita has been accused in recent years of poor working conditions, Unilever of causing environmental damage and PwC of facilitating tax evasion, but The Purposeful Company said its latest report showed generation current leaders understood that consumers, workers and local communities were increasingly concerned. that companies uphold high standards of conduct.

The report’s proposals include the introduction of a ‘say on purpose’, which would mimic consultations with shareholders on director compensation and climate policies, which The Purposeful Company said should be based on agreed criteria. by which their performance can be assessed and encouraged ”. A medium-term goal should be to create an asset class of determined companies, the report adds.

Clare Chapman, who became head of the Acas Conciliation Department last year and co-chair of the Purposeful Company, said the pandemic had accelerated the need for businesses to have a foundation of support based on the contribution they make. to the society.

“This is a moment to seize. The more determined the companies are, the greater the chances of success in building a stronger and fairer economy after the pandemic and in tackling the climate crisis, ”she said.

The report states that having an explicit goal “takes companies away from a single focus on maximizing shareholder value,” as it forces companies to recognize the interests and views of all of their stakeholders.

The 14 business leaders include Mohit Joshi, president of Infosys; John Pettigrew, Managing Director of National Grid; Sir Simon Stevens, Director General of NHS England; Alison Rose, CEO of NatWest; Kevin Ellis, senior partner at PwC; Liv Garfield, General Manager of Severn Trent; and Alan Jope, Managing Director of Unilever.

They are joined by Barclays Managing Director Jes Staley; Jon Lewis, CEO of Capita; Hywel Ball, President of EY; Saker Nusseibeh, Managing Director of Federated Hermes; Anne Richards, Managing Director of Fidelity International; Susan Bright, Managing Partner at Hogan Lovells; and David Neal, Managing Director of IFM.

Several nonprofit groups have sprung up to encourage minimum standards of corporate behavior towards staff, including the U.S. B Corporation certification program, which focuses on small and medium-sized businesses and to which the Guardian Media Group is a signatory. .

Unilever has acquired several companies that have B Corp status, but is not itself a corporate member.

The Purposeful Company co-chair Will Hutton, also an Observer columnist, said: “It has been an exciting and inspiring endeavor. These leaders, drawn from a wide range of businesses and organizations, all insist on the primacy of the goal. The more capitalism can secure its future and gain public support, the more its leaders are determined to achieve a goal. “

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