The initiative will draw on the distinctive strengths of the two organisations to consider the future of the relationship between business and society in the wake of the ongoing financial crisis. It will also address critical underlying trends in the globalisation of business; the emergence of social media; demographics and life expectancy; expectations of different generations; and those related to human rights including labour issues, the environment and climate change, water and other sustainability drivers.
Business in Society will seek the involvement of key stakeholders- including investors, bankers, employees, board members and those involved in political life as well as NGOs and other organisations - and encourage the participation of players from different generations including future business leaders.
The initiative will seek to identify the key elements of a new sustainable compact between business and society, recognising their mutual need to develop the social, political, economic, physical and cultural infrastructure that underpins a flourishing society.
Business in Society will also consider the critical success factors for individual boards and institutional investors if their companies are to be successful over a sustained period and to avoid alternating cycles of over-exuberant growth followed by prolonged retrenchment.
The initiative will be launched in Brussels, London and Paris in Autumn 2012 followed by events in other European cities in 2013
David Herbinet, Mazars' UK Head of Public Interest Markets and co-chair of its Steering Group said: 'I am very excited by ‘Business in Society’ and determined that it will have a significant practical impact. It is vital for business that we strengthen the covenant between business and society which has been dangerously weakened in recent times. We must create an inclusive market economy in which everyone has a stake. This will require a sharper focus on innovation, developing people's talents, sustainability and long-term engaged shareholding'.
Tony Manwaring, CEO of Tomorrow's Company and co-chair of the Business in Society Steering Group added: 'We must go beyond just defining various models of capitalism - responsible, caring, stakeholder and so on - and focus at a more fundamental level on what is driving the emerging agenda. We need to open up the conversation so that it is proactive and inclusive, confident but humble and, very importantly, systemic and strategic. In India and the other emerging economies which will dominate the global landscape in the new century, business is seen as a part of society: in Europe all too often we see business as apart from society.
Business in Society will set out why and how we need to understand that our future is best secured by business being an integral part of society.