Posted 21st April 2020
Social Value UK would like to share a piece written by the How Do Companies Act group about their response to the COVID-19 pandemic:
The How Do Companies Act (HDCA) group has grown over the last 6 months, into a powerful collective of people and initiatives from different sectors all with a shared interest in building a different economy or at least a different landscape for businesses to operate in. It has focussed primarily on legislative reform specifically of the Companies Act.
As an informal group of volunteers (members, supporters and partners of SVUK) we have reacted to relevant pieces of research such as High Pay Centre’s Shareholder-first business model report, and co-produced statements and an open letter for businesses to sign. The group gathered momentum around these activities and particularly around the general election. Since January we have been exploring opportunities to work together again.
This group has seen us turn around work and further our movement to change in decisive moments, like we did with the General Election late last year. Now is the time for us to channel our energy into looking forward, into building back a better world than the one which plummeted us into this crisis.
The COVID-19 crisis is highlighting the cracks in capitalism more than ever. We’re seeing the public being failed left, right and centre. Be it by their employers, their health care system which has not been properly funded, by their Government who hasn’t taken this pandemic seriously enough until it’s too late. We’re getting used to seeing ourselves and others failed daily.
As a group, we’ve had many discussions about moving away from a sole focus on legislative reform, to looking at broader regulatory reform and encouraging a true culture change in the way businesses operate. Now is the time to prepare ourselves for this, there is an appetite for drastic change, and soon, once we are moving towards a functioning world again, there will be the opportunity for it.
How exactly we do this, we don’t know. It’s too soon to tell, as the situation is still changing daily. But we know what we must fight for: companies to take responsibility for the wellbeing of their workers. The economy works for us, not the other way around, the Government must work for us, we should not work to uphold it. These fatal flaws are more apparent than ever, with millions relying on income support worldwide, with inequality only rising and even the richest people in the world calling for their staff to take unpaid leave so they don’t lose a fraction of their hoarded wealth.
We as a group look towards the next steps in creating a world that works for us, that protects wellbeing and that takes the burden of responsibility away from us as individuals and pushes it to the people who hold significant amounts of power. Some of us are lucky enough to be in a position where we can look forward, rather than worrying keeping our work afloat here and now, if we are in this position, it is our responsibility to forge the first steps to a business environment and system that will protect society from facing a crisis like this ever again.
If you are interested in joining the How Do Companies Act group, or sitting in on one of our team meetings, please contact David at [email protected].
You can find out more on www.howdocompaniesact.org