Rebooting our economic operating system

Shopping mall, Krisztina Papp, Unsplash

Rebooting our economic operating system

The majority of the UK public would favour brands that are doing good in the world

A recent poll commissioned by B Lab UK has shown that while more than 50% of respondents thought capitalism was still ‘the best way to manage society’, 76% thought the system either ‘needed to be fixed or was harmful to the UK economy’.

B Lab UK survey shows 76% of respondents think capitalism isn't working

The report notes that people’s attitudes toward capitalism are complex, but that it is often viewed as a necessary evil. Nearly half of the respondents agreed that capitalism leaves the poor behind, creating widening inequality in society, and is destroying the environment.

As the core operating system we’ve been using for hundreds of years to create jobs and increase wealth, that’s a fairly damning assessment.

And there are changing expectations for the role that business plays in society. Over 70% of the UK public think that business should have a legal responsibility to the planet and people alongside working to increase their profitability – the original concept of John Elkington’s triple bottom line.

While businesses are more likely to be seen as part of the problem right now, those able to turn their values and ethics into positive business practices are reaping the rewards. The majority of the UK public would favour brands that are doing good in the world.

B Lab UK survey shows people favour brands doing good in the world

And that’s good news for businesses who are – or who are considering becoming – Certified B Corporations.

At its heart, B Lab UK, the non-profit that sits behind the B Corps movement, is working to challenge the concept of shareholder primacy (focusing only on driving revenue) and instead ensure businesses act responsibly to their customers, workers, communities and the planet as well.

B Corps are working across every sector and industry and around the world to build an economy and a society that is just, fair and inclusive. They make that purpose central to everything they do and use it as a North Star to help them make decisions.

As we navigate the turbulent economic landscape of the early 2020s, there are four key areas where the decisions businesses make can influence customer loyalty:

  • How they look after their staff, including paying them more as profits increase
  • How seriously they take their environmental responsibilities (especially important for the younger age groups)
  • Whether or not they are improving the community they’re based in
  • Whether or not they pay their fair share of taxes (more important for the older age groups)

We certainly agree with the overall message from the report: It’s time for an economic reboot…

You can access the full report here, and if you’re interested in becoming a B Corps, we’d love to speak with you. You can complete our contact form or send us an email at hello@planetshine.com.