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A new Social Contract for business

April 22 @ 8.30 am - 10.00 am

How can we achieve a deeper, richer relationship between business & society? Join us for a debate between business leaders led by Prof. Borg

What do companies and societies owe to one another? And how should what they owe be decided, regulated and enforced?

In this session, Emma will set the scene and outline a new idea, gaining ground, that there is a need for a ‘Social Licence’, which specifies the ethical and environmental conditions firms need to meet in order to gain their social licence to operate. Emma will explain how this might work in practice, both for firms and for regulators.

We are delighted to be joined by the following eminent local business leaders who will then discuss and debate the approach with Emma:

Richard Baker, Managing Partner for EY in the Thames Valley and South

• Jonathan Firth, MD, MichaelPage Group

• Nick Bion, MD, Robert Bion & Co

• Will Barrett, MD, Francis Construction

There will be ample time for Q&A from the attendees.

Speaker’s BIO: Professor Emma Borg

Emma is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Reading and Director of the Reading Centre for Cognition Research. Her work on business ethics has focused on exploring the so-called ‘social licence’ model as a way to reshape relations between the private sector, the state and individuals. She is currently Principal Investigator on a British Academy project on this topic and she has recently taken on a role as an Independent Advisor to the HMRC Professional Standards Committee.

Roundtable Discussion Speakers’ BIOs:

Richard Baker has been with EY since 1998, focusing in his current role on leading EY’s practice in Thames Valley & South – East regions, and in his spare time volunteering with Pilotlight – an organisation that helps charities to perform better through mentoring.

Jonathan Firth is a Managing Director London & South for Michael Page, the leading recruiter of mid to senior level professional, qualified and management personnel that supports growth, development and change, and have become one of the world’s best known and respected recruitment consultancies.

Nick Bion has been a Managing Director of Robert Bion and Company for over 30 years. The company is a successful SME working in the sheet metal industry specialising in perforating metal and plastic for a wide range of applications from car speakers to perforated ceilings in airports. The Company employs 30 people and is based in Reading. He believes that sound underlying ethics provides a platform for running a successful business and a successful business provides the space to act ethically.

Will Barrett is a Managing Director of Francis Construction. An energetic business leader involved with the leading edge of the construction industry whilst running a regional construction business delivering education, commercial, NHS, MOD and residential projects. Will takes a unique look at the industry, focusing on people, relationships, and value.

We will be using ZOOM for the partner forum. Upon registration, you will receive a confirmation email. Please scroll to the bottom of the email to the ‘Additional Information’ section to see instructions for joining the event.


April 22
8.30 am - 10.00 am
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Ethical Reading
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