Over 200 people from the UK’s leading businesses met in London this morning to search
for a new blueprint for doing better business in Great Britain. They were seeking
to unite corporate purpose with personal values so that businesses better serve society.
The conference explored the themes of the business need for change, the inevitability
of a conflict between profit maximisation and developing common good, and the distinctive
practical contribution of a faith based ethical framework to personal and corporate
The conference was facilitated by the Archbishop of Westminster,
“I think one of the most vivid images that we had this morning
was that a duty of business is to contribute to the adhesiveness of a society – to
its ‘glue’ is the phrase that we used – because if a society doesn’t have some glue,
then it’s bad for business,” Archbishop Nichols said. “Because it’s difficult to understand
that society. It’s difficult to get to appreciate what its needs are and what therefore
what business can creatively respond to.”
He told Vatican Radio a business
thrives when it provides a good working place for its employees.
“A good business
which recognizes that people are working best when they can take a pride in their
work… actually contributes to the social fabric of a society,” the Archbishop said.
on the key issues the conference is addressing, Dominic Barton, Global Managing Director
of McKinsey & Company, said: “The implicit contract between a capitalist system and
society is in danger of breaking down if the fundamental issues revealed by the crisis
are not addressed. This is not a failure of capitalism itself, rather, of a particular
brand of capitalism. We must urgently re-define the way we govern, manage and lead
corporations; to focus on long-term objectives rather than quarterly results, to infuse
throughout businesses the value of serving society as well as shareholders, and to
govern our corporations as if it were our own money at stake.
“To do so is
a moral imperative. It is also good business. For the prize at stake is not only renewed
public faith in business, but also shared prosperity and the capability to tackle
the world’s grand challenges.”
Listen to the full interview by Charles
Collins with Archbishop Nichols: