Purpose Beyond Profit: Where Next for Business?

By 27.02.20BlogAugust 28th, 2020No Comments

WATCH IN FULL: an expert panel discuss the future of business and what action is needed to tackle climate change and reduce economic inequality

On 26 February 2020 Oxfam and the High Pay Centre hosted an interactive panel discussion chaired by Oxfam GB CEO Danny Sriskandarajah on the future of business and its role in delivering social good. The panel comprised the following speakers:

  • Financial Times’ European Economics Commentator Martin Sandbu
  • Renegade economist Kate Raworth
  • Co-author of ‘Everybody’s Business: the unlikely story of how big business can fix the world’ Lucy Parker
  • Fair Trade movement leader Albert Tucker

High Pay Centre Director Luke Hildyard introduced the event touching on our report with TUC from November 2019 ‘How the Shareholder first business model contributes to poverty, inequality and climate change‘. The analysis found that across the the FTSE 100 returns to shareholders (dividends and share buybacks) increased by 56% between 2014 and 2018. This resulted from a 45% increase in dividends, while share buybacks more than doubled. Nominal pay for the median worker increased by just 8% over the same period.

The report highlighted that an economic model which puts shareholders first means less money for workers and other stakeholders, hampering efforts to tackle in-work poverty and climate change.

A wide ranging discussion ensued, including debate over the future of capitalism; whether consumption is inherently bad; and what interventions can be made to ensure businesses play a helpful rather than a harmful role in takcling the major issues of the day.

The discussion can be watched in full below.