“Better Business: Better Society”

Fri, August 25th, 2017

Chamber Annual Dinner Awards to celebrate responsible business

This year’s Chamber Awards are celebrating businesses and individuals who are mainstreaming responsible business as part of their everyday activities.

The quote above comes from Blueprint for Business, an independent organisation supported by senior corporate leaders which is challenging business to be a force for good.

The broader concept of responsible or “better” business however is not new. The Victorian and the Edwardian industrialists practiced their own version, a philanthropic approach which was very much of its time, but which linked productivity to a healthy and “happy” workforce. The legacy of this approach is still evident in this region, for example Port Sunlight Village.

A more recent example is the John Lewis Partnership, founded in its present form in 1929 by John Spedan Lewis, whose ultimate purpose was to balance the happiness of Partners with a successful business, creating a company where staff "share knowledge, power and profit". We are delighted that Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, is the key note speaker this year’s Annual Dinner so we can understand how the model works in today’s business environment.

Many organisations already have policies in place, for example, a staff support programme or measures to reduce waste, often driven by legislation or defined through their Corporate and Social Responsibility plans. However more and more businesses, regardless of their size, now understand the commercial benefits of implementing responsible business practices.

A recent article produced by Blueprint for Better Business focussed on reports that UK productivity is at an all time low with the impacts being described in some quarters as “bigger than Brexit” in terms of damage to the UK economy. If efficiency is defined as doing the same with less and productivity as doing more with the same, then we need to do more to engage and support staff.

We also need to recognise the power of the customer. Since the global financial crisis there is an increasing expectation on businesses to be accountable and transparent and those who are not risk losing both their reputation and their profits, evidence of which can be seen in empty premises on the high street today.

As the applications for the Annual Dinner Awards start to come through we are already impressed at the breadth and diversity of what is being achieved by organisations in our region.

We would love to hear more about what you are doing and you have until Friday 15 September to tell us!

For more information on the Dinner and the Awards visit the Chamber website.

Submit your awards entry today!

Final word to John Spedan Lewis, “A successful economy is one where private interests ultimately serve the broader public interest”. As true now in today’s economy as it was back then.

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