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Fostering Value & Virtue in Business & the Economy

Fostering Value & Virtue in Business & the Economy

About this Workstream

Globalisation and atomisation of markets and culture have detached businesses from those whom they seek to serve: their employees, consumers, communities and supply chains. Businesses have become governed by short-term economic value rather than by a longer term economic and social purpose. Shareholders no longer participate in discerning and implementing the core purpose of the enterprise that they have invested in. The separation between capital and labour has detached employees from a corporate ethos and a transformative financial and personal reward.

Businesses have quantified their engagement with society solely through financial transaction and a denuded form of corporate social responsibility. As a result, trust between businesses and society is at an all-time low, which is eroding a vital and mutually profitable relationship.

Businesses need to re-discover their corporate and social purpose, and to become a ‘force for good’ in society. They need to re-build trust and restore transparency, respect and honour in their governance and practice. They must meaningfully engage with their supply chains, shareholders, communities and employees, and invest in long-term goals rather than short-term gains. Moreover, being a good business doesn’t mean bad business: on the contrary, the very reverse holds true. For restoring purpose and value generates greater participation, engagement and respect from both employees and consumers, which in turn, tends to increase morale, hard work, collaboration and a genial spirit of competition that favours the sustaining of an expanded profitability. Indeed, greater trust and cooperation fosters more innovation and productivity growth on which thriving businesses ultimately depend. It is the solid firms, meeting human needs with some measure of respect for their humanity, which tend to prosper over the longer term.