The UK Government has promised an industrial strategy for Brexit Britain that rebalances regional disparities and puts productivity, innovation and clean growth on a level playing field. An emphasis on ‘place’ as one of the five foundations of productivity is an acknowledgment of the crucial role that towns and cities play in driving economic and social advancements. A number of emerging Local Industrial Strategies are explicitly addressing ways to align economic development with the creation of social value.
Such strategies recognise that there is no one-size-fits-all approach; flexible and tailored solutions are key to ensuring that the different economic and social assets within local places are harnessed for collective impact. This includes mobilising businesses and employers to help connect people to the infrastructure and opportunities that exist locally.
How can companies play a positive and purposeful role in this context, using innovation and creative collaboration with others? What sort of corporate leadership helps ensure that everyone can both benefit from and contribute to the local economy? What else can business do to ensure that social value not only forms an embedded part of corporate DNA, but acts as a force for inclusive growth?
Chris is the Director of the Institute for Industrial Strategy at King’s College London. Previously, he served as the MP for Warwick and Leamington. During this period, he was a member of both the International Development and the Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy Select Committees and chaired the All Party Parliamentary Groups on Manufacturing, Social Enterprise, and Video Games. His Private Member’s Bill, now the Public Services (Social Value) Act, received Royal Assent in March 2012. His review of the Social Value Act, ‘Our Money, Our Future’, was published at the end of last year by Social Enterprise UK. He also co-authored a report on the future of UK Industrial Strategy with Dr Benedict Wilkinson, which was published by the Policy Institute at King’s in November 2017.
Rachel has over 20 years’ experience in developing award-winning sustainability strategies within the built environment. She is passionate about the role business plays in society and has led programmes which have shaped the built environment sectors approach to sustainability ranging from eliminating waste to landfill, inspiring young people through education to integrating social enterprises into supply chains. Her vision in 2014 led to Wates Group being the first construction company to integrate social enterprises into its procurement practices. Since then nearly £20m has been traded with social enterprises across a range of services. Rachel is a member of the Voluntary, Community & Social Enterprise (VCSE) panel within the Cabinet Office. The role of the panel is to ensure that all public procurement provides access to SMEs and VCSEs and the Government delivers on its commitment to spend £1 in every £3 with the sector. Rachel is also board member of the Institute for Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (ICRS).
Alasdair is a founding Partner of Collective Works and Trustee of Architecture for Humanity UK. He has long held a commitment to finding a better way for architects to balance the needs of the wider community with the needs of their clients & stakeholders. He has been recognised for his work and is now contributing to the RIBA Commission on Ethics and Sustainable Development as well as speaking on topics such as ethics, responsibility and social value.
Cliff Prior is CEO of Big Society Capital - the wholesale investor and market champion for UK social impact investment. In our first 5 years, Big Society Capital has made over £1.25bn available with its co-investors, with £800m already taken up by over 800 social enterprises. Previously Cliff was CEO of UnLtd for social entrepreneurs, which has supported 13,000 new startups, and built a 50-country Global Social Entrepreneurship Network. He has worked across the social sector as CEO and on boards, with government on policy and regulation, mentors emerging social leaders, and has co-created a number of social startups. Cliff is involved in the UK National Advisory Board on Impact Investing, and is leading an international working group to help more countries develop impact investment wholesalers and market development agencies.
Cassandra Brown establishes and develops strategic partnerships for WaterAid, the world's leading charity dedicated to providing clean water, sanitation and hygiene in line with SDG6. WaterAid helps their partners in the private sector develop more sustainable supply chains internationally, and works in partnership with global companies including H&M, GAP Inc. and Diageo. Cassandra previously worked for Cancer Research UK and British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS).
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