Is the purpose of business 'to make as much money as possible while conforming to the basic rules of society' (Milton Friedman)?
Since the crash of 2008, the value of the contribution of business to society has been increasingly questioned in the context of a growing awareness and concern for its impact on the environment, and on societal well-being. However, the short-term financial interests of shareholders and the measurement of value creation on the basis of financial metrics still prevails – can doing 'good' ever really be good for business?
The Responsible Business Forum is part of a joint research programme launched in 2014 between Saïd Business School and the Catalyst think-tank at Mars Incorporated, the global food and beverage company, to co-develop a business management theory for the economics of mutuality with corresponding teaching curriculum, new management practices and business case studies.
There will be a series of company presentations on the Friday that will illustrate how some of the largest and most significant firms in the world are striving to implement responsible business practices and what makes for both their success and failure. The forum will tackle head-on the tough questions of whether companies are succeeding or failing commercially, socially and environmentally and what needs to be done to improve their performance. Amongst the companies presenting at the forum are Danone, HDFC Bank, Mahindra, Mars Incorporated, Novo Nordisk, Safaricom and Unilever.
On the Saturday morning, there will be panels of some of the most prominent business leaders, policymakers, institutional investors and thought leaders from around the world. Throughout the forum there will be numerous leaders from companies, governments, financial institutions, international agencies and NGOs present.
The forum will be held over one and a half days on Friday 13 and the morning of Saturday 14 May 2016 at Oxford University's Saïd Business School.
Day one Friday 13 May
Through the presentation of a series of case studies, and contributions from the 2015/16 Oxford MBA students, the Forum will illustrate how companies are implementing innovative responsible business practices, assessing them against a common framework and highlighting the lessons learned.
8:30 – 9:00 Doors open
9:00 – 9:30 Welcome & introduction
9:30 – 10:00 Vision for a new economic model of mutuality: Mars Incorporated
10:00 – 10:30 Responsible business: the Oxford MBA student perspective
10:30 – 11:00 Refreshment break
11:00 – 11:10 Introduction to the case studies
11:10 – 12:30 Driving purpose from the top down: Unilever UK, Mahindra and Novo Nordisk
12:30 – 13:45 Lunch
13:45 – 14:55 Purposeful finance: Arabesque and Truestone IIM; HDFC Bank and Safaricom
14:55 – 15:15 Refreshment break
15:15 – 16:45 Driving purpose from the bottom up: Al-Sanabel and Danone WAS; Maua and Bloom, Mars Incorporated
16:45 – 17:00 Looking forward: Lotte Duty Free Shop, InnoCSR; Livelihoods Venture, Danone and Mars Incorporated
17:00 Day one close
Day two Saturday 14 May
Four panels will evaluate the strength of the evidence presented and how compelling it is from the perspective of prominent investors, policy makers and business leaders. The forum concludes with a final set of reflections from thought leaders drawn from across the globe.
8:00 – 8:30 Doors open
8:30 – 8:50 Day one overview and introduction to day two
8:50 – 10:00 Panel One: Business perspectives
How does responsible business impact on operational and financial performance and how do managers deliver it fairly down the value chain?
10:00 – 10:50 Panel Two: International investor perspectives
How can investor perspectives be refocused on the long-term and embrace a wider set of goals than financial performance?
10:50 – 11:10 Refreshment break
11:10 – 12:00 Panel Three: Policymakers' perspectives
How should public policy and law be designed to assist companies to address societal challenges?
12:00 – 13:00 Panel Four: Thought leaders' reflections
What can and should be expected of responsible businesses of the future?
13:00 – 13:20 Perspectives of Oxford MBA students
13:20 – !3:30 Closing remarks
It is intended that this will be an annual event for academics, companies, investors, NGOs and policy makers working in this area. Over time, it will become the repository of the best cases that illustrate the successes and failures of responsible business in action.
Participating senior business leaders, investors and policy makers will derive as much benefit from attending the forum as students. The forum will show how and why doing “good” is good for business, and how the best businesses do good through the co-creation of commercial and social benefits. It will be a knowledge powerhouse for promoting transformational change and creating a movement to reform business for the 21st century.
For more information: Email organiser