What will it take to make tomorrow better than today? And where do we even start? In 2021 we held an inquiry to explore these questions, asking board members, youth leaders, environmentalists, creatives, economists, and other subject matter experts, one deliberately broad question: “What is the role of business in creating a fairer future for all?”

Leaders care about many different things — that much is obvious. But, after engaging with a wide cross-section of decision makers, what’s even more obvious is that a few key themes linger in most leaders’ minds:

  • Three are key topics: opportunity & education, environment & climate change, and technology & innovation. They pose the greatest threat to fairness — but also hold the possibility to have the greatest positive impact.
  • Two are barriers to progress: what we value, and how insulated leaders are. They are what’s preventing us from tackling these threats — and it’s here that business leaders have the strongest personal mandate for change.

In this report, we dive deeper into these themes, exploring what needs to change to enable business leaders to create a fairer future.

Dr Scarlett Brown

Director, Board Intelligence Think Tank

Download the report
and find out ways you can effect change in your own organisation

Many thanks to our core contributors who chaired the roundtable discussions and were interviewed as part of the research:

Lord Bob Kerslake

Chair, Peabody, the Centre for Public Scrutiny; President-Elect, the Local Government Association

Sarah Flannigan

Chair, Riverford Organic, Yeo Valley Farms, Sawday’s; NED, Kew Gardens, Inspired Energy, IOP Publishing

David Dickson

Chair, Family Business Matters, Western Pension Solutions, St. Leonard’s Hospice; NED, ITP

Stephen Welton

Founder & Executive Chair, BGF; NED, Intermediate Capital Group

Sir Brendan Barber

Deputy Chair, the Financial Services Culture Board; Former General Secretary, the Trades Union Congress

Baroness Patience Wheatcroft

Member of the House of Lords; Former NED, Stellantis, Barclays, St James’s Place

David Bennett

Chair, Virgin Money, Allfunds; NED, PayPal (Europe), the Department for Work and Pensions

Richard Burge

CEO, the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Co-Founder, ESG Validation

Susan Hooper

Co-Founding Director, Chapter Zero; Chair, CareSourcer, EBS; NED, Uber UK, Moonpig, The Rank Group,

Watch the key findings

Our research was launched on 9 December 2021 at a webinar featuring Stephen Welton, executive chair of BGF, Hetti Barkworth-Nanton, chair of Refuge and CEO of Ploughshare Innovations, and Lizzie Beale, board member at The Careers and Enterprise Company — and you can watch the discussion below.

Visual minutes

What does a fairer future bring to the mind of UK leaders? Visual minutes by Blanche Illustrates capture the thoughts and emotions of the roundtables conducted as part of the research.

Fresh voices

Hear a different perspective from thinkers not usually found in boardrooms, about what it takes to create a fairer future.