Businesses explore their role in connecting the unconnected in our society

Business in the Community brought together private and public sector representatives last month for an event exploring how the wider responsible business network can redouble its efforts to support communities.

90 public and private sector representatives convened at Nuffield Hall (RCOG) in London on 22 September to explore the role of business in responding to disconnectedness in society, as highlighted by the referendum in June.

Delegates discussed the underlying issues behind the outcome of the referendum, and the challenges these issues raise for those aiming to build a fairer society and more sustainable future.

Guest speaker Katie Schmuecker, Head of Policy at Joseph Rowntree Foundation, spoke about economic inequality in the UK and the role business could play in alleviating this.

She was followed by Phil Clothier, CEO of the Barrett Values Centre, who explored the divergence in values between communities, business and government.

Roundtable discussions confirmed that inequality and a lack of trust between local communities, businesses and government, were key factors behind the disconnection in society, and were closely interrelated.

The discussions highlighted the need for organisations to understand both the net impact of their activities on the communities in which they operate, and the reality of how people perceive these activities.

Read BITC's report about the key themes which emerged from the event. The report also highlights some of the future work planned on this topic, and includes contact details for businesses who are interested in becoming involved.