London Stock Exchange Welcomes Paul Lindley and Kerry Kennedy Celebrating business as a force for good
London Stock Exchange today welcomed Paul Lindley (founder, Ella’s Kitchen) and Kerry Kennedy (president, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights) to a special Market Open to celebrate business as a force for good in the UK. This morning Paul Lindley, award-winning British entrepreneur and founder of the UK’s number one baby food brand, Ella’s Kitchen, introduced his vision for a new kind of company – one that is not only for profit but also driven by purpose and impacting social change.
Kerry Kennedy, Mark Makepeace (CEO of FTSE Russell) and James Perry (co-founder, B Lab UK) spoke in support of the movement at a gathering of over 50 business leaders. Ahead of the launch of the Benefit Corporation in the UK at the end of September, the event highlighted that, just as Britain was responsible for laying the foundations of modern capitalism in the past, it now has the opportunity to lead on the next evolution of sustainable capitalism. To achieve this, Paul Lindley unveiled his recommendations for a new class of business, ‘Public Benefit Companies’. A Public Benefit Company would be driven by profit, whilst also generating a clear public benefit, which could be audited and evaluated.
Public Benefit Companies would be bound by their articles of association to take active responsibility for their social and environmental impact. Having satisfied rigorous criteria measuring that impact, these companies would be offered benefits – for example, tax breaks in return for doing good. Today, Paul said: “Government alone cannot be solely responsible for society’s issues and impacting change. Today, we are calling for business to start actively solving some of the problems it previously created. We need to create a brand new type of company, one that is for profit, but also for social and environmental benefit.” Kerry Kennedy pledged her support for Paul’s vision for Public Benefit Companies, and of the role of business in the future. As president of Robert F Kennedy Compass Programme, Kerry works with the investment community developing new approaches to sustainable investment, as a way to enlist the private sector’s influence in the wider cause of justice.
This morning, Kerry said: "Today, nearly half of the world's largest economies are public companies. It is therefore crucial that we enlist the private sector's influence in the struggle for justice.
"Through the work we deliver with Robert F. Kennedy Compass, we see an increasingly engaged investment community working at the intersection of business and social impact. We see consumers, investors, and business leaders who are more educated, aware, and responsible than ever before.
"The world is changing, and so is the role of business. Paul's proposal for a new Public Benefit Company will be absolutely crucial to shaping the next evolution of sustainable capitalism in Britain.”