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Social Contract

The relationship between business and society after the crisis.

The discussion centred around the relationship between business and society, and what needs to be in place for this social contract to operate appropriately. There was an overwhelming consensus that good corporate governance is not something that is determined solely by the business nor the Board of Directors, increasingly it is the stakeholders who are able to vote with their wallets when they feel the business is not delivering on their values. This relationship should be underlined by proper legislation which plays an important role when existing checks and balances fail.

There were mixed emotions towards how the pandemic has impacted this relationship. In some regards, it showed what is possible when business and societies’ goals are aligned. This sparked optimism, particularly with regard to reaching climate targets in the coming decades. The panel also issued caution, suggesting that the regulation that came into being as a result of the 2008 financial crisis has played an important role, however we may need more to steward business behaviour in the future. Auditors can and will be crucial in this, enabling greater transparency around debt levels and financial resilience, however it was felt that they should not be seen as a guarantor.

You can read the full summary report, including essays by the key speakers, here. Or scroll down to watch the event in full.
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June 15, 2021



This event was kindly supported by EY



Jun 9
Can the UK stay scientifically competitive in a multipolar world?
Jun 6
The future of work and a post-pandemic future.
May 26
A private breakfast with Onward’s Business Leaders Network
May 24
The Social Fabric Summit will bring together leading politicians, community and faith leaders, leading thinkers, and ordinary citizens to generate ideas, momentum and conversations to renew society in the wake of coronavirus.
May 19
Making the most of British families’ generosity, and the lessons for future crises
May 3
What can the UK’s response to the pandemic teach us about wider science and technology policy?
Apr 27
A private breakfast to discuss the future of work in the UK.
Apr 26
A private roundtable with Nigel Huddleston MP