Strategy & personal development

Resolve to be a ‘better’ business

What do I mean by ‘better’? I mean one that considers the impact of its operations on all its stakeholders – employees, the environment, local community, customers, suppliers and shareholders. Rather like resolving to join a gym and working on different muscle groups to achieve a better body, take a look at your company’s stakeholders in turn and resolve to impact them more positively, or less negatively, and as a result achieve a better all-round business.

Why? We need more good businesses. The conventional way of doing business values financial performance over societal and planetary well-being. The primary purpose of the majority of companies is to maximise profits for its shareholders through continuous economic growth. This has left us with vast social and economic inequalities. The UK is one of the most imbalanced countries in the developed world with the gap between rich and poor among the worst in Europe. The average FTSE 100 CEO package in 2019 was 119 times the average pay of a UK FTE. Alongside the social and economic inequalities, we are witnessing the degradation of our living world. Today in the UK we need about 2.5 planets to provide the resources for our consumption and absorb our waste annually. By resolving to be a better business; reducing negative impacts on and generating positive impacts for your key stakeholders you have an opportunity to be a force for good.

Resolution 1 – Focus on your employees. View them as the heart muscle of your organisation, the centre of your circulation system, pumping blood around your body. Given their importance, ensure that all employees are paid a real Living Wage. This is a voluntary rate that meets living costs, not just the government minimum. Currently the statutory minimum wage (for under 23s) is £9.18, the statutory National Living Wage (for over 23s) is £9.50 and the Real Living Wage (for over 18s) is £10.90 across the UK and £11.95 in London. Living Wage employers find that paying the real Living Wage, as well as being the right thing to do, has real business benefits; staff feel more valued and this has a positive knock-on effect. It also positively impacts your employees’ families, often forgotten stakeholders in your business. To underline your commitment to your employees, consider getting Living Wage Accreditation via and join the community of 11,000 UK businesses resolved to positively impacting their employees.

Resolution 2 – Focus on the environment, as from the environment you get the nutrition required to fuel your gym session. Without respecting its importance it may no longer be able to provide you with what you need to operate. Start simple and think about the impact of your company’s operations on the environment. Next step would be to start measuring your carbon footprint. Consider setting up an environmental management system. It has become more usual for governments and the public and private sector to require this of their contractors and suppliers. It may also save you money through cost savings. There are many easy ways to successfully reduce resource use, energy use and waste and many organisations and online tools available to support UK businesses do this. There is a Northamptonshire-based environmental charity called Investors in the Environment who will provide you with guidance and advice –

Resolution 3 – Focus on your community, both local to where you operate and your larger community of customers and suppliers. View these as your biceps and triceps muscles as they play a huge role in your day-to-day activities. Support exercises that enhance and serve these communities. Consider sourcing goods from independent local businesses or purchasing fair trade goods and materials to improve the livelihoods of underserved groups in your supply chain. You could partner with a charitable or community organisation to address social issues in your area. Incentivise your employees to volunteer. Research suggests a link between volunteering and employee perception of positive corporate culture and participating in these sorts of activities builds teamwork and enriches the lives of your employees. A final exercise in your biceps and triceps routine could be to support climate projects and direct a % of your profits annually to organisations such as 1% for the Planet or Ecologi as a simple and impactful way to become a better business.

Resolution 4 – Focus on your shareholders and investors. View them as your quadriceps muscles. As some of the most powerful muscles in the body, they are responsible for keeping the body upright and enabling movement. The key word here is ‘share’. Share your vision to be a better business. Share your ambition to make a positive impact on your key stakeholders. Share your determination to reduce your negative environmental impacts and increase your positive environmental impacts. Consider introducing at board level, an annual review of your businesses’ social and environmental performance. This could lead to the adoption of an ESG strategy or a resolution to become certified as a B Corporation Through open communication, you may not find universal acceptance, but you will find common ground, a willingness to build a more resilient business with opportunities for growth and innovation and a shared desire to be a force for good.

Alexina Cassidy
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Alexina Cassidy

Alexina set up Presidio Consulting, a sustainability and environmental consultancy, in April 2022 with the purpose of encouraging, informing and facilitating businesses to work towards improving their impact on their employees, communities and the environment. Her role is to identify key actions that businesses can take whilst taking into account the needs and expectations of all stakeholders. She is keen to bring together a network of forward-thinking, sustainable businesses in the local area, all contributing to making business a force for good. Alexina has a CFA qualification in ESG Investing and is a qualified B Corp Consultant.

Resolve to be a ‘better’ business

by Alexina Cassidy Time to read: 3 min