Wake Up to Better Business
26th April 2023
Today we are launching our Wake Up to Better Business campaign. To kick us off, we’re having breakfast in Westminster with MPs, policy makers and business leaders and convincing them of the need for the Better Business Act’s proposed changes. Across the next two weeks, we’re asking our supporters to raise awareness of the campaign, show why they are supporting and engage their MPs.
This small change in the law will have a huge impact on our future. As things stand, the 2006 Companies Act means businesses are primarily accountable to shareholders and this profit-first mindset means we are sleepwalking into social and climate crises. Even Margaret Hodge MP and Jonathan Djanogly MP, two MPs involved in debating the 2006 Act, now believe an update is needed.
Additionally, voters increasingly feel that the current law is not fit for purpose: just one in ten believe that businesses should have a legal responsibility to solely maximise their profits. Whereas, over two thirds would support the Better Business Act’s proposed changes. (Executive Summary, 2023)
The Better Business Act is calling for an amendment to Section 172 of the Companies Act, which sets out the ‘job description’ for company directors to ensure they align social and environmental impact with shareholder returns.
Our growing coalition of now over 2,000 UK businesses, led by co-chairs Mary Portas and Douglas Lamont, is coming together to wake the Government up to the benefits of ensuring businesses prioritise people and the planet alongside profit. Businesses including Innocent, Iceland, Suez, Graze and organisations such as the RSPB, Institute of Directors and ShareAction are pushing the campaign forward.
The public also want this change. The vast majority (78% pro) are now backing a change to company law that would see the interests of people and the planet sit alongside those of shareholders when making boardroom decisions. Our new research shows the proposed shift is consistent across party divides, with strong support among those planning to vote conservative (73%) and current Labour supporters even more likely to be in favour (87%) (Executive Summary, 2023).
Ahead of next year’s general election, we want to make sure the Better Business Act’s proposals are included in all the main parties’ manifestos, and this campaign will help raise awareness amongst key policymakers and MPs.
WHAT WE ARE DOING IN WESTMINSTER?
Keep an eye out for The Better Business Times being given out in Westminster this morning and MPs enjoying their morning coffee from our branded Keep Cups!
Help us launch ‘Wake Up to Better Business’ with a thunderclap moment across social media this morning. Make sure you tag your local MP to ask if they will come to Westminster and discuss the change, and hashtag #WakeUptoBetterBusiness so we can reshare it.
Over the next two weeks:
- Sign up to the coalition if you haven’t done so already.
- Demonstrate why your business supports the Better Business Act by using our adaptable asset. Make sure to tag us in this post, so we can re-share it!
- Write to your MP and tag them on socials to ask for their support of the amendment of Section 172 of the Companies Act.
- Host your MP at your business. Use this toolkit to see how best to engage with your constituency MP and showcase better business.
The Wake Up to Better Business campaign is supported by Kin + Carta.