In 1948, the world’s great powers, 58 countries, came together at the UN to tackle the world’s problems. If today we brought together the 100 greatest economies to do the same, over 40 would be companies, not countries.
In 2000, the UN laid down the Millennium Development Goals, 6 challenges to world leaders. In 2015, these became 17 Sustainable Development Goals, many of which cannot be achieved without the active participation of business.
Over decades, business has helped to cause many of the world’s problems: climate change, human rights abuses, exploitation of the poor and the depletion of natural resources. Even more reason to demonstrate that there’s an attractive business case for investing in renewable energy, adopting a ‘circular’ approach to resources and getting the best out of supply chain workers rather than bleeding them dry.
After a career in education and government, including 13 years as a Member of Parliament, and a lifetime of supporting charities, Tom Levitt, author of The Company Citizen, realised that not only could business be a force for good but that it had to be so. His book examines the case for the company citizen on a global, national and community level working alongside another. Today’s problems can’t be solved by the public and voluntary sectors alone; business must be part of the solution; a long term ‘business case’ is what makes such solutions sustainable. Business, he says, is more capable of thinking long term than is Government; the tragedy is that too many businesses too often focus on only short term gains.
Julia Unwin, Chair, Independent Inquiry into the Future of the Civil Society, says: “The challenges of our modern world, and the need for an effective new social contract are well documented. In this timely and interesting book, Tom Levitt brings practical knowledge, and credible policy solutions to the question of business, and makes a compelling case about the potential of business to help us all change the world, and our economy, for the better. What is more, he articulates a clear duty for business to play its full role as corporate citizen – a hugely important and resonant message for our times.”