With rising levels of disenfranchisement in western society, what is the role of business in its cause and solution? Our November Crowd Forum fell on the eve of the US election, where “broken society” has become the dominant narrative.  Does our shareholder primacy model need to give way to a broader stakeholder model, and what happens to business and society if it doesn’t?

Globalisation has brought great benefits to some, but is increasingly associated with wealth inequality, a geographical skills gaps and tax avoidance. Business leaders may be frustrated by the rise of Farage, Trump, Grillo and Le Pen, but are they – wittingly or unwittingly – creating their oxygen? With moderation from Michael Skapinker, we heard from a panel of different perspectives.

  • Helena Morrissey is the Chair of a global investment management firm, and has been outspoken on a number of societal issues
  • Stephen Kinnock MP has been tipped as a future leader of the Labour Party after one year in parliament, which has been defined by the rise of anti-establishment politics
  • Antoni Ballabriga is Global Head of Responsible Business at Spanish bank BBVA, and has a telling story from a country undergoing intense political and economic change.
  • Dr Wanda Wyporska is Executive Director at The Equality Trust, where she is focusing on improving the quality of life in the UK by reducing economic inequality.

We began with a keynote from Helena before a panel discussion. This was an evening for people in business to share thinking on the biggest challenges facing society.

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Event for: 


  • Michael Skapinker

    Associate Editor, Financial Times
  • Helena Morrissey CBE

    Chair, Newton Investment Management
  • Dr Wanda Wyporska

    Executive Director, The Equality Trust
  • Antoni Ballabriga

    Global Head of Responsible Business, BBVA
  • Stephen Kinnock

    MP, Aberavon

Round Tables

  • Engaging With A Broken Society
    When Nigel Farage told a Trump rally “The little people have been let down by global corporations” he got big cheers. Is this statement grounded in truth, or is it pure populism? What are the societal issues where business is most vulnerable to criticism? Are we now in an era where business needs to address these issues directly, and not rely on government?
  • Connecting With Investors
    Growing investor interest in ESG issues, combined with new possibilities around big data and algorithms, is putting traditional communications in a state of flux. What does this mean for the relationship between sustainability and investor relations teams, and what does best in class reporting look like in the era of big data?
  • Energising Society
    If many feel powerless and disengaged with politics and the big issues, how can we use practical action to empower people? Can we move past clicktivism, apathy or anger and mobilise on what matters to them in their communities and jobs? Do the motivations of business get in the way, making it feel like it is part of the problem not the solution?
  • Is Tech The Solution?
    Tech breakthroughs in AI, machine learning and the IOT offer extraordinary solutions in areas such as health and climate change. This may point to a way of solving problems without mass engagement. Do you feel this it is right to rely heavily on technological solutions, or is it important to mobilise people and organisations?
  • Reorganising Around Digital
    As most companies consider how they reinvent their business in a digital world, what are the societal issues they should consider? Using Artificial Intelligence, for example, may result in a loss of jobs, which materially impact lives and culture. What are the problem areas, and how can business do make this transition without alienating society?
  • Sustainability: Missing The Point?
    Whilst traditional sustainability, or CSR, struggles for airtime in many organisations, the public focus on corporate tax, worker rights, and executive pay has never been greater. Are many of today’s sustainability experts guilty of too technical a focus? Is it time to broaden the sustainability remit to deliver more for business and society?
  • The Authentic Company
    If the public has lost faith in PR and spin, and is broadly distrustful of business, how does a company communicate with its stakeholders? Are we heading to an era where companies become more like social activists, like Unilever and Patagonia? Should companies be more open with their data, both good and bad?
  • The Energy Revolution
    Explaining the need for energy reduction has at times felt like asking people to wear a hair shirt. But with the arrival of Silicon Valley tech players like Google DeepMind and Tesla, is energy reduction now becoming cool? Where does power lie - AI, storage or demand response? Do most companies have the right people and skills to play…?
  • Unlocking The Potential Of Communities


  • 17:30
    Arrivals and Networking
  • 18:00
    Welcome from Jim Woods, CEO, The Crowd
  • 18:05
    Keynote speech from Helena Morrissey
  • 18:25
    Michael Skapinker in discussion with Helena Morrissey, Antoni Ballabriga, Dr Wanda Wyporska, Stephen Kinnock
  • 19:15
    Roundtable discussions (moderated in groups of 10-12)
  • 20:00

Venue Details

King Edward Hall, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, 2 King Edward StreetLondon, EC1A 1HQ

Who's Attending

Communications A Blueprint for Better Business
Analyst – Responsible Investing Aberdeen Asset Management
Head of Corporate Resposnibility Aberdeen Asset Management
On gardening leave ABN AMRO Bank
Sustainability Executive ABTA Ltd
Marketing and Events Assistant Acre
Consultant | Acre Bench Acre
Director Adrian Hodges Advisory
Innovation Manager Aimia
Sustainability analyst Allianz Global Investors (UK) Ltd.
Manager, CR and Internal Comms Amazon UK
Business Expert Apple
Sustainability Director Arup
Product Development Aurum Research Limited
Community Manager B Lab UK
Group Sustainability Manager Balfour Beatty
HSES Manager – Social Value Balfour Beatty
Media Relations Manager BAML
Associate Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Head of Community Engagement Bank of America Merrill Lynch
AVP Barclays
Vice President Barclays
Vice President Barclays
VP Barclays
Environmental Manager Barclays
AVP, Citizenship Reporting & Analysis Barclays
Green Finance Initiative BEIS
Principal Social Performance Advisor BG Group
On Purpose Associate – Business Impact Challenge Big Society Capital
CEO & co-founder BioRegional
Consultant Bladonmore
Global SR Manager British Standards Institute (BSI)
Ethical Trade Coordinator Burberry Ltd
Environmental Performance Mnager Capgemini
Professor of Digital Economy Cardiff University
Director of Communications Catch22
CBx Advisor CBx
Director – E&RI CCLA
Development & Project Manager Citywest Homes
Community Manager Cleanweb Events
Managing Director Climate Disclosure Standards
Sustainability Manager Colas
Editor/Writer Collectively / The Guardian / Positive News
Business Partnership Manager Cool Earth
Environmental Manager Costain Ltd
CR Leader CSC
Partnerships Leader Current, powered by GE
Senior Sales Developer Current, powered by GE
Senior Marketing Manager Current, powered by GE
Business Development Current, powered by GE
Key Account Manager Danone
Integration Director People and Culture Deloitte
Global Environment Manager Dentsu Aegis Network
Global Community Manager Dentsu Aegis Network
Responsible Business Advisor Department for International Development
Managing Director Deutsche Bank
Design Manager Dixons Carphone
Head of UK Assessment DNV GL
Marketing Manager DNV GL
Risk Manager DONG Energy
Responsible Sourcing Manager Elevate
Dir Licensing & Relations Elsie Creative Ltd
Public Affairs, Trade and Investment Senior Consultant Embassy of Brazil in London
Corporate Responsibility, Corporate Communications Estee Lauder Companies UK & Ireland
Editor Ethical Corp
Contributing Editor Ethical Performance
Senior Advisor Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI)
Manager EY
HOD Staging Fisher Productions
CEO Forster
Corporate Responsibility Manager Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Corporate Responsibility Executive Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Co-Founder Futerra Sustainability Communications
Charity Engagement Executive GivingForce
CEO and Founder GivingForce Limited
Director, Business Performance GlaxoSmithKline
Director Global Action Plan
Partner Global Action Plan
Head of Schools Global Action Plan
Project Manager Good Business
Associate Director of Public Policy Grant Thornton UK LLP
Associate Director of Public Policy Grant Thornton UK LLP
Internal Sustainability Executive Grant Thornton UK LLP
Director, Public Affairs & Policy Grant Thornton UK LLP
Director Greenspire Advisors Limited
Senior Consultant Harvey Nash
Corporate Sustainability Manager Heineken UK
CR Coordinator Hilton
Energy & Engineering support Hilton
Energy and Environment Intern Hilton Worldwide
Energy & Environment Manager Hilton Worldwide
Consultant Hitachi Consulting
Sustainability Manager ICAEW
Strategy & Sustainability Manager IGD
Independent Independent
Marketing Director Integrated Environmental Solutions
Business Development Integrated Environmental Solutions
Programme Management Assistant International Maritime Organization
Sustainable Procurement Manager Interserve FM Ltd
Group Sustainability Strategy Director Interserve Plc
Global Head of Energy & Sustainability ISS UK
Responsibility Engagement Manager ITV
Project manager Jaguar Land Rover
Community Manager JLL
Sustainability manager Kingfisher plc
Sustainability Projects Assistant Kings College London
Head of Sustainability Land Securities
UK Director League of Intrapreneurs
ESG Analyst Legal & General Investment Management
Partner LGT Impact Ventures
Investment Associate Fellow LGT Impact Ventures
Digital Partneships Manager Lloyds Banking Group
Digital Partnerships Manager Lloyds Banking Group
Associate Director Lloyds Banking Group
Reporting and Engagement Lloyds Banking Group
Public policy masters student London School Of Economics And Political Science
Environmental Analyst M J Mapp
Senior Consultant MADE-BY
Sustainability Project Manager Marks & Spencer
Head of Responsible Sourcing, Packaging & Plan A Marks & Spencer
Sustainability Director Mars
Sustainability Manager Marylebone Cricket Club
Owner Median scrl
Government Affairs Director Microsoft
SRI Analyst Morgan Stanley
Founder Move for Europe
Head of Sustainability National Express Group
Executive Director Natural Capital Coalition
Business Development Manager Natural Capital Partners
Managing Director Natural Capital Partners
Managing Director – Europe Natural Capital Partners
Head of Client Engagement Neighbourly
Founder Neighbourly
Client Engagement Neighbourly
Senior Public Affairs Manager – Sustainability Nestle UK Ltd
Sustainability Strategy Manager Network Rail
Divisional Director Nord Anglia Education
Note Taker
Note Taker
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Note Taker
MSc Climate Change, Management, and Finance Note Taker
Note Taker
Corporate Press Manager Novozymes
Senior Environment and Sustainability Advisor Osborne
Director, Sustainability Pearson plc
CR Manager Penguin Group UK
Ethical Trade & Sustainability Controller Primark
Head of CR Prudential UK & Europe
Hedgehog Officer PTES
Director – External Communications Rainforest Alliance
Sustainability Projects Manager Reckitt Benckiser Plc
Director Responsible 100
Marketing Communications Executive Ricoh Europe Plc
Comms and Marketing Royal Bank of Scotland
Associate Director Royal Bank of Scotland
Environmental Reporting Manager Royal Bank of Scotland
Corporate Responsibility Manager Royal Mail
Head of Corporate Partnerships RSPB
Central Trading Finance Manager Sainsburys
Sustainability & Corporate Citizenship Graduate Samsung
Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship Samsung
Senior New Relationships Executive Scope
New Relationships Manager Scope
Marketing Assistant Simpleweb
Community Investment Project Leader Skanska
Senior Vice President Green and Corporate Community investment Skanska UK Plc
Public Affairs Manager Skanska UK Plc
Managing Director Social Spider CIC
CEO Sound Diplomacy
Head of Business Energy Strategy & Marketing SSE
Vice President Statoil
Senior Advisor Sustainalytics
Dir Sustainability Taylor Wimpey
Snr Manager International Campaigns & Corporate Responsibility The Body Shop
Intern Business Services The Carbon Trust
Head of Business Development The Crowd
Event Manager The Crowd
The Crowd
Chair The Crowd
Strategic Advisor – the Curve The Crowd
CEO The Crowd
CEO The Curve
Director The SHM Foundation
Executive Chair The Social Innovation Partnership
CEO The Social Innovation Partnership
CEO thirdbridge
Community Development & Marketing Manager thirdbridge
Founder Three Point Zero
Partner Tribe Impact Capital
Director Trucost
Account Director Trucost
Sustainability Manager UBM EMEA
Executive Director UN Global Compact Network UK
Strategy Manager, Sustainable Business and Communications Unilever
Head of Sustainability University Of Greenwich
Senior Manager UNPRI
Head of Energy and Resource Management Verco
Managing Director Verco
Senior Sustainability Advisor VINCI Facilities
External Relations Executive Virgin Management
Co-Founder We Are Europe
Corporate Responsibility Advisor www.stephenwinstanley.com
Sustainability Lead EMEA Wyndham Hotel Group Europe Limited
Executive Vice President, Delivery and Growth Xynteo