On Friday last week it was announced that Britain had voted to leave the European Union. The results meant that Leave Campaigners were granted the victory with a 52% majority. Tomorrow’s Company has responded to Brexit by urging the business sector to regain its licence to operate.
The public mood has in part been driven by what people feel about bankers, rewards for failure at the top and people at the bottom being made to pay for the crisis, and business not being seen to pay taxes. Equally the fact that when reputable companies tried to intervene in the debate their views were dismissed as somehow not legitimate is a sign that the overall licence to operate of business is poor.
This makes it more important than ever that individually, companies connect with their employees and their other stakeholders, and collectively show by the way they act that they are a force for good in society. As we show in the UK Business: What’s wrong? What’s next? there are huge financial and reputational benefits to companies who get this right and steal a march on their competitors.
Whatever the short term uncertainty, there is a common interest among employees, shareholders, and taxpayers that we create a climate in which businesses do invest, and do take the longer view and thereby earn more dividends to pay out to savers and investors.
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Tomorrow’s Company’s role, to inspire and enable business to be a force for good in society, is therefore more important than ever.
Mark Goyder, CEO of Tomorrow’s Company said: “I talked to a manager this week who described the impact a new CEO had on his company a few years back. His words were impressive. But what really impressed my friend was his actions. His predecessor had been chauffeur-driven in a top-of-the range BMW. The successor had a VW Golf and appeared on company sites driving himself.
“There has never been a better time for businesses, especially larger businesses, to show by example that they are worthy of trust, that their leaders do care, and are in touch; that they are a force for good. To do so effectively, those in charge need to avoid the impression that they are aloof, distant, and living in a bubble of their own. They need to connect with real feelings of their people and other stakeholders.”