What is business for?

The question of the broader purpose of enterprise has come to the fore in recent years. Increasingly, people are looking to businesses to contribute to the wellbeing of individuals, communities and society.

However, despite a growing awareness of the role businesses can play in delivering positive social impact, misconceptions remain around the impact a values-based approach can have on commercial performance.

To address this, Anthony Collins Solicitors is today (Thursday 18 March 2021) launching a new campaign, uncovering the journey to becoming a more ethical business in the UK. The aim of the campaign, called The Ethical Business Project, is to show that doing business and meeting the needs of people, society and the planet are not mutually exclusive, but inextricably linked.

Working with research partner, Opinium, the firm surveyed 300 senior decision-makers from businesses across the UK to better understand their ethical approach.

The results of the survey reveal a profound shift in how we are doing business. Nine in ten businesses stated they are either already adopting ethical practices or committing to becoming more social purpose driven. Many recognised the Covid-19 pandemic, climate crisis and the Black Lives Matter movement as key factors driving this positive change.

Our survey also found that UK businesses are addressing ethics across their entire organisation, with leaders planning to improve their employment and recruitment practices, as well as their environmental approach and supply chain management.

However, the survey also revealed UK businesses still face major barriers to adopting ethical practices.

Nearly two-in-five leaders admitted it was financially unviable for their business to make changes to increase its social impact. Businesses also pointed to a lack of guidance from the UK Government or other advisers, including law firms.

In response, Anthony Collins Solicitors is also launching a new handbook, as part of The Ethical Business Project, to support businesses at varying stages of taking on a more values-based approach.

Broken down into sections from experts across the firm, the handbook includes information and key resources on a range of ethical topics, such as how businesses can create better workplaces for their employees, minimise waste and energy consumption, as well as securing ethical funding or changing their structure or ownership model.

Most importantly, the handbook details how, by embarking on the ethical journey, businesses can positively impact society and the environment around them, while also improving workforce engagement and market reputation – leading to new commercial opportunities.

We hope The Ethical Business Project will provide businesses with both the impetus and knowledge to become more principled organisations, benefitting their employees, suppliers, stakeholders and customers.

Businesses do not face this journey alone. Please do engage in the ethical conversation with us - looking at your business and how you are seeking to embed positive impact in what you do.

We are all on the same journey. Let’s travel the road together.

Find out more about The Ethical Business Project