Jericho Conversations

Business Life After The Virus: Investing in Society

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Nation States vs Capital Markets

Thank you to everyone who joined the Jericho Conversation on Investing in Society – with John Kay, Economist, author and fellow of St. John’s College, Oxford; Catherine Howarth, CEO, Share Action; Leon Kamhi, Executive Director, Head of Responsibility, Federated Hermes; and Lord Maurice Glasman, Labour peer, Common Good campaigner, originator of the “Blue Labour” movement.

“Goldman Sachs Ethics Statement is about as robust as Red Bull Gives You Wings”

Professor John Kay

John Kay on the urgency of intelligent conversation

“Some CEOs will still tell you that they have a duty to maximise profits. We are moving to a climate hopefully where it is harder to believe these things. Extracting managerial value has been prioritised over extracting shareholder value.”

“We have lived through a highly individualistic era that has downplayed the importance of community. Moving forward we must reassert its value.”

“We should be careful about our desire to quantify things that can’t and shouldn’t be quantified – such as cultural capital.”

Maurice Glasman on the need for a new social covenant

“Capital has to learn not to be dominant and instead to build relationships. Is capital capable of negotiation?”

“There is clearly a bigger role for the state in the economy and it’s up for grabs what that is/ looks like. Only where there is a way, there is a will.”

“We need a new social covenant – international and binding to reach a common good for the future.”

Leon Kamhi on why a good society needs good investment

“We must think about the social and environmental impact alongside the return. A holistic return for the investor is the way forward.”

“I don’t think it is capital vs labour. Labour owns capital through its pensions. The investment industry is intermediary and we must act as good stewards of what we’ve invested in, we must leave companies better than we find them.”

“It was society who told the government they were wrong about the lockdown. We were ready to sacrifice the economy a little bit to save lives. Society does have a voice through investors.”

Catherine Howarth on the time is now

“The first obligation of a corporate citizen is to pay its taxes. Investors in corporates need to hold them accountable for this – and for being a good employer. Can there be investment sector-led conditionality to build credibility around the purpose statements issued by companies?”

“The business vote is powerful. It’s important for companies to take a stand on important societal issues but in a way that is authentic.”

“There is an interesting debate over the terms and conditions around public-sector bailouts at the moment. There are conditions in some countries, for example, of an environmental sort being imposed to ensure we don’t have another climate crisis following this.”

If you would like to (re-)watch the webinar in full
you can do so here.

Added bonus material: today’s chair Matthew Gwyther has just written this piece about COVID and society.

We hope that we can keep the conversation flowing, as we look, optimistically, to business life after the virus.

#JerichoConversations – Next Up

Join us for Jericho Conversations: A Greener Future, Friday 12 June 12.30 – 1.45pm (London).

For all the talk about a New Green Deal and a post-COVID Green Industrial Revolution, is anything actually going to change? We all want to #BuildBackBetter (apparently) so what are we going to do about it?

Is the great energy transition underway? Can it be accelerated? Should polluters pay? And what future for nuclear as we move towards Net Zero? And what will we change – as business leaders and as citizen consumers?

The conversation will be led by Mike Barry; Former Director of Sustainable Business at M&S. A challenging panel includes: Dr Mallika Ishwaran, Senior Economist and Policy Adviser Shell Scenarios; James Alexander, Director of Future Agenda and founder, #voicefortheplanet; and Julia Pyke, Director,
Sizewell C.

#JerichoConversations – Join In

This note is being shared with the wider Jericho community – 4,000+ business leaders, politicians & policymakers, academics and experts, activists and campaigners, media and commentators. Your participation and support is what makes it special.

You can find all Jericho Conversations to date on Do get in touch if you have thoughts or ideas to share or would like to find out more about Jericho and/ or working with us to help build a better society.

Keep well. Stay safe. Take care.

Matthew, Robert, Becky, Becca, Roxi and Team Jericho
June 5 2020

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