DISCUSSION Launch – UK Business: What’s wrong? What’s next?

by Yolanda Villafuerte _______12th May 2016

12th May 2016, London:

Today we are launching our new report UK Business: What’s wrong? What’s next? at Barclays, where we’ll be joined by Jane Galvin, Managing Director, Head of Eastern Region, Barclays and David Tyler, the Chairman of Sainsbury’s. In the report we found that business as usual is not working for shareholders or society.

Too often these concerns are treated separately, when in fact they are all connected. Encouragingly there is an alternative approach to business success for which there is mounting evidence. This approach recognises that success starts with engaged employees, satisfied customers and stable suppliers; with shareholder returns being the end result, not the starting aim. It is underpinned by a clear purpose and set of values that help guide behaviours, and a long-term view that embraces risk.

We make a number of specific recommendations to make this agenda a reality.

Commenting on the findings, Mark Goyder, Founder and CEO, Tomorrow’s Company, said:

“It is the perverse outcome that investors get the same return from funding the national debt as they do backing UK companies to grow and invest.

Our obsession with the short-term has created companies that over-save, under-invest and fail to get the best out of their people. This can change if companies start purposefully investing in the long term. But this will only work if they are held to account by shareholders and boards who are equally focused on long term growth, in a climate reinforced by government policy.”


Commenting on the report:

John Neill, Unipart’s CEO:
“The number one strategic challenge facing business and the UK is growth. We need to grow the economy and to do so; we need to have enterprises and businesses that create growth opportunities both domestically and globally.

This means we have to be competitive and innovative, both of which derive from improved productivity. As the report shows, our current track record is not good. It has to change to avoid leaving a dreadful legacy to our children and grandchildren. I therefore highly recommend that business leaders read and consider the recommendations of the report and the Tomorrow’s Company approach. I am convinced it is a superior business model that can help solve many of the problems facing our country today.”

Andy Wood, CEO, Adnams:
“Sustainability, social purpose and strong relationships lie at the heart of Adnams’ success. This approach, based on purpose and values, relationships and the long-term, has been advocated by Tomorrow’s Company for the last 20 years. However, this approach has still not been adopted widely and business can and has to do better. This report re-emphasises this approach and puts forward a positive agenda for business success. It demonstrates why Tomorrow’s Company is needed now more than ever.”

Peter Taylor, CEO, TTP:
“Businesses need to take measured risks to be able to grow and innovate their business. At TTP we do this by having a clear purpose of world-class innovation and science rather than purely making money. This report emphasises the importance of embracing measured risk in order to invest in the long term.”

Lord Haskel, House of Lords:
“Speaking in Parliament, Lord Haskel said that the causes of low growth are not only economic they are also social.  This needs an alternative business approach with clear purpose, values and collaboration.  These ideas are not new but they have been clearly shown to work.  More than ever their time has come.  This approach is re-emphasised in Tomorrow’s Company’s timely new report”.

Scott Steedman, Director of Standards, BSI:
“The long term approach described in the report which depends on working with stakeholders to reach a consensus of what good looks like in business and enterprise, is a message that the UK’s National Standards Body, BSI, warmly supports. Effective stakeholder contribution and collaboration will be delivered in part through a wider awareness and deeper understanding of the role of business standards across industry.”

Paul Druckman, CEO, IIRC:
“This report draws together the challenges facing business and the capital markets to make a compelling argument of the need for change. It highlights the role in recognising the broader drivers of value as a means to tackle these, and how this can be helped by broader disclosure from companies. I would call this integrated thinking disclosed through an integrated report.”

Dominic Barton, McKinsey:
“Congratulations to Tomorrow’s Company on producing this wonderful and very comprehensive report. I commend both its vision and its practical thinking  and will be sharing it with colleagues and the many people with whom I am working to promote capitalism for the long term.”

David Tyler, Chairman, Sainsbury’s:
“Business leaders are concerned about the low trust the public has in business. They might find some solutions in Tomorrow’s Company’s latest report which offers a practical approach based on purpose and values, relationships and the long term.”

Jane Galvin, Managing Director, Head of Eastern Region, Barclays:
“Relationships lie at the heart of business success. Organisations therefore need to build and grow relationships and partnerships with all their stakeholder groups over the long term. The key for any stakeholder relationship is the level of communication and open dialogue you have. The more open dialogue you have, the more trusted you become in all of those fields. The strength of this report lies in its emphasis on relationships, purpose and values and the long term.”