It’s time to Bthe Business the world needs
A national poll undertaken by BLab in July 21, 2020, revealed Seventy-two percent of the UK population believe that businesses should have a legal responsibility to the planet and people alongside maximising profits,
The poll, conducted by Hanbury Strategy in May 2020, surveyed 2,175 members of the UK public on their attitudes toward capitalism and the role of business in addressing environmental, societal and economic challenges during the post-COVID-19 recovery.
Of those who expressed an opinion, 76% think that businesses have a significant responsibility towards the environment, while 47% agree that businesses have a responsibility to solve social issues such as inequality, poverty and mental health.
“It’s clear that the public’s expectations of the role and responsibilities of business have evolved, aligning with B Lab UK and our B Corp community’s belief that business can and should be a force for good. Our approach is to upgrade our existing system so that it is equipped to tackle the profound challenges that we face with the urgency that’s required”, said Chris Turner, Executive Director at B Lab UK.
While key findings highlight the role of business in solving society’s greatest challenges, negative perceptions of the current economic system span the entire political spectrum and all age groups. The poll found that 76% of those who expressed an opinion believe that capitalism either isn’t working properly or is harmful; however, 53% of respondents did not believe that replacement with another economic system would be
“With our current economic model as the operating system responsible for our wealth and wellbeing, it’s clear that the UK public feels it’s in need of a significant upgrade,” continued Mr Turner. “The results of this poll also support B Lab UK’s advocacy of legislative change to the default model of company purpose.” In December 2019, B Lab UK and members of the B Corp community called for an amendment to Section 172 of The Companies Act; specifically, a change to the default model to ensure that business activities have a positive impact on society and the environment, alongside benefit to shareholders.
According to James Perry, Co-founder of COOK and a co-founder of B Lab UK: “Our economic model currently runs on a system that’s no longer fit-for-purpose, focusing business narrowly on shareholder returns, and unresponsive to a world of increasingly limited resources. Any meaningful system upgrade must begin with legislation that enshrines recognition of those businesses which declare, in their articles, benefit to all stakeholders”.
The poll results show that B Corps in the UK are modelling the responsibilities that people now demand of business. This public sentiment is expected to drive more businesses to certify and increasingly adapt their ‘purpose’ to ensure responsibility for all stakeholders. To establish these as minimum legal responsibilities for all businesses, B Lab UK will continue to advocate the systems upgrade that will see the replacement of shareholder primacy, primarily through the amendment of section 172 of The Companies Act.
Fast forward to April 2021 and the Better Business Act is now live. you can sign your business up to get involved here
The b-corp movement is on the rise, as businesses shift their model to be more purpose driven, the cooperative movement is getting a resurgence in interest and we launched or better business consultancy , Bthe, to help guide businesses like you to become the business the world needs.
If you feel you need our help or want to know more about any of this get in touch, let’s chat and together let’s get our capes on and change the world, for the better