Every Business Can Have a Social Purpose

Sarah Mitchell, Heart of the City’s Director, discusses how all businesses can have a social purpose. 

We’ve come a long way since US economist Milton Friedman asserted ‘the business of business is business’. Successful businesses today know that profit itself is undermined when they fail to recognise the contribution they make to wider society.

‘Companies must ask themselves: What role do we play in the community?’ (Larry Fink, CEO at Blackrock)

Investment companies like Blackrock are linking investment to social purpose. Legal and General’s Girl Fund invests exclusively in companies with strong representation of women at all levels.

Increasingly companies are taking action where government does not or cannot. This autumn we will see a global conference of business intent on combatting climate change. Closer to home large UK businesses now make public commitments to sustainability and community.

Every business can have a social purpose

You don’t have to be a FTSE 100 company to have a social purpose. 99% of UK firms are small to medium-sized companies (SMEs) and increasingly leaders in corporate responsibility recognise that SMEs will drive culture change towards more responsible business.

At Heart of the City we inspire companies of all shapes and sizes to make a positive difference to their employees, community and environment. 80% of our members are SMEs and every year they develop creative and low-cost programmes with real impact. Their results show that social purpose is achievable and meaningful whatever a company’s size.


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