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A Practical Guide To Assessing, Shaping and Embedding Corporate Culture




The City Values Forum and Tomorrow’s Company are publishing a guide following the newly publish Report on Corporate Culture and the Role of Boards by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC).

The guide is entitled Governing Culture: Risk and Opportunity? – a guide to board leadership in purpose, values and culture.

Drawing upon practical experience, research and consultations with senior chairmen and both executive and non-executive board members the guide helps boards to determine how boards might approach the key questions like:

  • What do we have to do to address this issue?
  • How do we go about it?
  • What does good look like?

Boards are the ultimate custodians of an organisation’s purpose, values and culture. Their role is to ensure the organisation is delivering its purpose and that the purpose, values, strategic goals and capability, including culture are aligned. Boards also need to assure themselves that the culture of the board is the desired culture and that appropriate action is taken to maintain the desired culture throughout the organisation. The guide:

  • Highlights the difference between the role of the board and the role of the executive team in leading
    and managing culture
  • Sets out an agenda of 24 questions that boards might ask of themselves and of their executive
  • Offers a ‘roadmap’ to help boards assess how mature their approach is to governing culture
  • includes case studies, quotations and ‘top tips’ from leaders .

Sir Win Bischoff, Chairman of the Financial Reporting Council, in a foreword to the guide writes:

“Every organisation will have its own approach to this important topic and appropriately it is not the purpose of this guide to be prescriptive as to outcomes. It does however offer a practical agenda and roadmap to help boards to assess where their organisation stands in relation to their accountability for culture, to evaluate areas for priority action and periodically to assess progress.”

In his introduction to the guide Sir Roger Carr, Chairman of BAE Systems, comments:

Culture should have no geographic boundaries or be subject to management interpretation.

“The definition of doing the right thing should never change at a border crossing or adjusted at an executive meeting. Culture should be the bedrock on which good business delivers great performance. This guide is intended to help in identifying why culture matters, who drives the agenda, what good look s like and how it is delivered.”

Commenting on the guide, Richard Sermon, Chairman of the City Values Forum said:

“Especially in times of uncertainty business strategies will be buffeted by economic and political pressures and societal changes. A healthy culture which is aligned to purpose and defined values will serve to enhance the organisation’s relationship with its stakeholders and can act as an anchor, enabling the emergence of more agile strategies while keeping the organisation pointed towards its purpose and living its values.”

Mark Goyder, Founder and Chief Executive of Tomorrow’s Company, commented:

“For too long the high priests of shareholder value have told us that we must worship at the altar of financial analysis. Now, at last, after Enron, LIBOR, Volkswagen and others , boards and investors alike recognise that what most threatens shareholder value is to neglect the purpose, values, relationships and the human side of a business. The question is what to do about it?

The answers are to be found in this very practical guide and its tool- kits.”


While boards recognise the importance of culture, many still find it an intangible and difficult topic to address in terms of assessment, accountability and assurance. To help address this issue the FRC brought together the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), the City Values Forum (CVF), the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), the Institute of Business Ethics (IBE) and the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) to form a Culture Coalition to highlight good practice and promote the importance of a healthy corporate culture. Their outputs are designed to make it easier for boards to get to grips with culture and properly to fulfil their duties of accountability and assurance.

Building on their earlier work on Governing Values (2013) , the City Values Forum and Tomorrow’s Company have developed Governing Culture: Risk and Opportunity? – a guide to board leadership in purpose, values and culture, a practical guide for those boards seeking to define, assess, monitor, nurture and develop the culture of their organisation.

About the City Values Forum

The City Values Forum works to embed the principles of trust and integrity in the financial and business services communities and the corporate sector and to improve cultures and behaviours. Formed in 2011 to deliver the recommendations of The Lord Mayor’s Initiative ‘Restoring Trust in the City’, the Forum is constituted as an informal working grou p reporting to The Lord Mayor. The City Values Forum continues to work across a broad front with City institutions, corporate entities, regulators, professional and trade bodies, think tanks and academic institutions to strengthen standards of integrity in the City and corporate communities.

Our latest work, Governing Culture: Risk and Opportunity ? – a guide to board leadership in purpose, values and culture is the latest in an occasional series of initiatives addressing standards of corporate governance, professional competence and the development and sharing of best practice – each aimed at improving business culture and behaviour. No single initiative can remedy the failures of integrity revealed in recent years, but by acting with the support of many organisations, working throughout the financial, business services and corporate sectors, we aim to reassert the City’s long – standing reputation for fair dealing and to encourage the development of healthy business cultures and behaviours in UK corporate life.
If we succeed together we will inspire customers and clients to entrust us with their business and earn society’s endorsement of our economic role.

About Tomorrow’s Company
Tomorrow’s Company is a London – based globally focused agenda – setting not – for profit think tank whose purpose is to inspire and enable companies to be a force for good. It champions a practical agenda for better leadership, governance and investor stewardship. Tomorrow’s Company believes that adopting an approach that focuses on purpose, values, relationships and the long term is the key to enduring business success.

It promotes this approach by engaging business leaders, investors, policymakers and NGOs in a uniquely thoughtful process which sets new agendas. Tomorrow’s Company developed the concept of the business licence to operate and redefined the concept of corporate social responsibility in the 1990s. Its work on investor stewardship and capital markets stimulated the emergence of the UN Principles of Responsible Investment and the UK’s Stewardship Code. More recently it has championed integrated reporting and a new agenda for governance and stewardship. It has significantly influenced the direction of corporate governance, including defining the inclusive duties of directors for the UK’s Companies Act 2006 and influencing the King III report in South Africa.


Green Weddings Trend: Why 70% of Newlyweds Are Going Green



A couple of months ago, my best friend got married to her new husband. They are both very eco-conscious people, so they decided to have a unique twist on their wedding. They asked for the following:

  • They arranged a carpool with their friends.
  • They didn’t have any balloons. Instead they used umbrellas.
  • They used plant materials instead of plastic confetti.
  • My friend insisted her husband not purchase a diamond. In addition to being ecologically conscious, she didn’t like the idea of having a stone that was used in conflict zones.

My friends aren’t the only ones making these changes. In fact, nearly a quarter of all newlyweds are organizing green weddings.

Green Weddings Are Becoming the Norm

People are more concerned about green living than ever before. They are trying to incorporate environmental protectionist ideas into every facet of their lives, even the most intimate, such as marriage. A growing number of people are trying to have green weddings, which can make a big difference in reducing their carbon footprint.

How much of a difference can this make? Here are some statistics to bear in mind:

There are a number ofreasons that green weddings are becoming more important. Here are a few.

People Are More Worried About Environmental Preservation than Ever Before

Green living in general is becoming a greater concern for most people. Even younger conservatives are breaking from their older counterparts by insisting on fighting climate change. According to a poll from Pew Research earlier this year, 75% of Americans say that they are very concerned about protecting the environment. Having green weddings is a good way to act on this concern.

One of the biggest changes people are making is using recycled products for their green weddings. This is explained by the research from Pew:

“Overall, 32% of U.S. adults say they are bothered a lot by people throwing away things that could be recycled. Roughly six-in-ten Americans (61%) who say they always try to live in ways that protect the environment say it bothers them “a lot” when others throw away things that could be recycled. Among those who are less focused on environmental protection, only a quarter say it bothers them a lot when others don’t recycle. People who are environmentally conscious are also twice as likely as others to say that seeing someone incorrectly putting trash in recycling bins bothers them a lot (42% vs. 21%).”

Indifferent Politicians Are Driving them to Take More Initiative

Many politicians in power have been very hesitant to take action on climate change. Many of them have openly stated that it is a hoax. These politicians are forcing people to do what they can in their own lives to make a difference. Making small changes, such as hosting green weddings, is a great way to improve the environment without waiting for political momentum.

Cost and Simplicity

A couple of the biggest reasons that people want to host green weddings have nothing to do with their concern for the environment. Running green weddings is simply cheaper and simpler than having a massive, traditional one. One of the biggest changes is that they are buying green engagement rings from the best brands.

Green Weddings Are the Future

Green weddings have become very popular over the past few years. They will probably account for close to 90% of all marriages by 2025. People that are planning to get married should look into the benefits and plan accordingly.

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Green Tech Start-Ups: Are they the Future?



Endless innovations are occurring in green companies, reinventing the industries they belong to. Gradually, they are beginning to amass more success and popularity. Consequently, these factors serve as a good indicator for green technology businesses, and their development must begin somewhere.

Green tech start-ups boast a wide array of opportunities for the economy and environment, while boosting recruitment openings with valuable services. While the technology industry is littered with high revenues and competition, the green tech start-ups are the clear sign of a cleaner future.

Fulfilling a Genuine Need

Many tech companies will market themselves as the ultimate tech giants to shift stock and make profit. As they all vie for attention through warped corporate rhetoric, there is only one ethical winner; the start-up green tech company.

Some argue that mainstream tech businesses have grown far too big, branching out into other industries and standing between the consumer and practically everything they do. However, green tech start-ups go beyond the shallow ambitions of a company, answering a call to sincerely help the customer and climate in any way they can. Of course, this is an attractive business model, putting customers at ease as they contribute to a humanitarian cause that is genuine through and through.

After all, empathy is a striking trait to have in business, and green tech start-ups maintain this composure by their very nature and purpose.

Creating Opportunities

Despite the pursuits for clean energy still needing more awareness, green tech is an area that is ripe for contribution and expansion. There’s no need to copy another company or be a business of cheap knockoffs; green tech start-ups can add a new voice to the economy by being fresh, fearless and entrepreneurial.

Technology is at its most useful when it breaks new ground, an awe that eco-friendly innovations have by default in their operations. Of course, green tech start-ups have the chance to build on this foundation and create harmony instead of climate crisis. Ultimately, the tech advancements are what revolutionise clean energy as more than an activist niche, putting theory into practice.

Despite the US gradually becoming more disengaged with green technology, others such as China and Canada recognise the potential in green technology for creating jobs and growth in their respective economies. The slack of others spurs them on, which creates a constant influx of prospects for the green tech sector. Put simply, their services are always required, able to thrive from country to country.

A Fundamental Foresight

Mainstream technology can seem repetitive and dull, tinkering with what has come before rather than turning tech on its head. Since 2011, technology has been accused of stagnation, something which the internet and petty app services seem to disguise in short reaching ideas of creativity.

However, green tech start-ups aren’t just winging it, and operate with a roadmap of climate change in the years ahead to strategize accordingly. In other words, they aren’t simply looking to make a quick profit by sticking to a trend, but have the long-term future in mind. Consequently, the green tech start-up will be there from the very start, building up from the foundational level to only grow as more and more people inevitably go green.

They can additionally forecast their finances too, with the ability to access online platforms despite the differing levels of experience, keeping them in the loop. Consequently, with an eye for the future, green tech startups are the ones who will eventually usher in the new era.

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