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A Blueprint for Better Business - August Newsletter
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Message from Charles Wookey, CEO:

The Brexit decision has been the catalyst for a deep and far-reaching political debate which is just opening up in which corporate reform will be very firmly on the agenda, fuelled by the most recent high profile stories of corporate failings.

When many within business and society are demanding a step change in the relationship between business and society, the distinctive contribution Blueprint can make - as a non-regulatory catalyst for change – is more needed than ever.

I’m delighted that over the last few months since our conference in March we have continued to develop and grow, with more businesses becoming involved in testing and exploring the Blueprint Principles and Framework. This newsletter gives details of the advisory council we have now formed chaired by Sir Mike Rake.

We are holding a panel discussion on Purpose and Performance from 5-7pm on 15th September chaired by the FT’s Andrew Hill who is now one of our trustees, ahead of the academic conference we are holding with London Business School on 16/17 September combining the latest evidence with challenges to dominant modes of thought about business success.

We have contributed to the Cabinet Office mission-led business review and are planning a series of autumn events, following on from successful events we held on mental health and executive pay.

It is sometimes difficult to put across the more realistic view of the human person which lies at the heart of Blueprint’s approach. My colleague Loughlin Hickey has just done a superb TED talk which captures it brilliantly. It's well worth the 17 minute investment.

Thank you for your continued interest in our work, and please keep in touch.

Mental Health and Well Being

Last month Blueprint convened a group of business and civil society leaders to discuss mental health and well being in the workplace. There is a clear financial and human case to address mental health in the workplace. One in six workers experiences depression, anxiety or unmanageable stress. However, employees can feel uncomfortable voicing their distress because of the perceived stigma. Unvoiced problems can spiral and are often not identified until too late, exacerbating the business and human costs. A report found that the total cost to employers is estimated at nearly £26 billion each year. That is equivalent to £1,035 for every employee in the UK workforce.

However, there is a wider case for a purpose led business to address mental health in the workplace. As Charles Wookey says in his blog post on mental health; "if a business really seeks to live out a purpose that serves society, healthy and fulfilled people are not just a means to business success but part of what business success really means. Their reason for being gives them a reason for caring for people just as people."

Governance

Dame Barbara Stocking has been appointed as Chair of Trustees for the Blueprint Trust. Barbara was one of the charity’s founding trustees in 2014. On her appointment, Barbara commented: “I have been proud to serve on the Board of Trustees for the past few years, so it is an honour to accept the role of Chair. Blueprint’s ambition is to make it possible to put ‘doing good’ at the heart of modern business so I look forward to working with the management team to ensure our work continues to fulfil this goal.”
Barbara Stocking is currently also the President of Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge and is the former CEO of Oxfam GB.

This year Blueprint has also appointed Andrew Hill (associate editor and management editor, FT) as a Trustee of the Blueprint Trust. In a piece he wrote for the FT, Andrew explains how purpose can help make; "business and society happier, more humane, and more prosperous".

The Blueprint Trust has formed an Advisory Council to advise the Trustees. It is made up of representatives drawn from a cross-section of business and wider society; and is chaired by Sir Mike Rake (Chair, BT and Worldpay). Sir Mike Rake was interviewed in the Sunday Times about why he thinks Blueprint is important.

The initial Advisory Council members are:
  • Baroness Jeannie Drake (Trustee, O2, Satander; Labour Peer, House of Lords)
  • Lord Ian Livingston (Conservative member, House of Lords; formerly CEO, BT)
  • Sir Charles Mayfield (Chair, John Lewis Partnership)
  • Cardinal Vincent Nichols (President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference for England and Wales)
  • David Nussbaum (CEO, WWF; Chair, WWF Global Climate and Energy Initiative)
  • Baroness Onora O’Neill (Crossbench member, House of Lords; Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, University of Cambridge)
  • Paul Polman (CEO, Unilever; Chair, World Business Council for Sustainable Development)
  • Lord Rumi Verjee (Chairman, Thomas Goode & Company; Founder, Domino’s Pizza)

Events

July
Executive Pay: Executive pay is increasingly recognised as a cause for the distrust between business and society. Blueprint recently convened an event to discuss how a business' pay levels contribute to or inhibit respect for the dignity of all and the capacity of people to co-create in the service of a purpose.

September
Immersion workshop (7th-9th): We run two day residential immersion workshops aimed at senior people, coaches, and consultants to business who are either working with, or considering working with, the Blueprint tools. If you would like to find out more or attend then please email Jeanette.Lacy-Scott@blueprintforbusiness.org

Academic Conference (16th-17th): Blueprint and the London Business School Leadership Institute are collaborating to create an inter-disciplinary academic conference on the impact and character of organisations with purpose. This conference is only open to academics but we will be holding a panel discussion at 5pm on the 15th which will be open to all, and outputs of the conference will also be accessible on our social media and website.

October
Blueprint is convening a private dinner for COOs or CFOs to discuss the future of work in the age of automation. While there are worries about the impact of AI on workers and society as a whole, it has the potential to create huge benefits. The challenge is to ensure that success and prosperity is shared at all levels of our society.
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