Using the Tools of Business to Create Public Good
Sector 4 Focus was established by Tom Levitt in 2010
In this 2021 video Tom explains (to Manchester Alliance Business School) what being a Company Citizen is all about… (39 mins).
Business Schools and the Public Good
In 2021 the Chartered Association of Public Schools published ‘Business Schools and the Public Good‘, a report co-written by Martin Kitchener and Tom Levitt. They had co-chaired a taskforce for over a year which asked how and how well business schools were helping the world become a better place, through their influence on business.
BS8950 Guide to Enhancing Social Value
Published in December 2020, the British Standards Institute Guide to enhancing social value was written by a team on which Tom served for over two years. It discusses the principles of social value, how to choose the right tools for assessing it and reporting issues, for business, public and voluntary sector organisations. You can download Tom’s (free) 6-page Guide to the Guide here from BSI.
The Courage to Meddle: The Belief of Frances Perkins
Who was Frances Perkins? What does the world of responsible business owe to her? What can we learn from her work on working hours, minimum pay levels, factory safety, union recognition, opposing racism and antisemitism, women’s rights and child labour? Could she be described as the most important woman in politics in the whole of he first half of the 20th century? (Hint: yes, she could!). Find out more about Frances, and Tom’s book here… or in his 45-minute conversation with the US programme History Camp in 2021.
Tom’s 2018 book ‘The Company Citizen – Good for Business, Planet, Nation and Community’, encapsulates the ethos of Sector 4 Focus:
- Almost half of the world’s biggest 100 economies are not governments but businesses – neither planet, nation nor community can survive without business engagement in the future
- Business does not have to choose between being profitable and being ethical, responsible and sustainable; it can and must do both in order to survive
- If business needs to do just one thing to put the world to rights it is: to think longer term.
Paul Polman, then CEO of Unilever, often cited as one of the world’s most responsible and sustainable corporates, has said that ‘The Company Citizen’ is:
“A compelling account of how – and why – business has to be at the centre of addressing today’s most urgent and far-reaching issues. A book, and a theme, whose time has come. Never has the case for business to step up and help solve society’s challenges been greater. And rarely has it been better put than in this excellent account”
Sector 4 Focus believes that the tools of business need to be better focused on creating public good – not only for the planet, nation and community but for sustainable business, too. We provide bespoke consultancy, facilitation and comment.
Why ‘Sector 4 Focus’?
‘Sector 4’ – the fourth sector – is the space between the public sector, private sector and civil society. It’s where business acknowledges its legitimate and essential role in the community, nation and planet and it’s the space in which business has relationships with charities, local and central government and others.
Tom Levitt’s latest articles and speeches about the work of Sector 4 Focus are on the ‘Blog’ page.
Company Citizen podcasts
Tom has 20 ten-minute conversations about different issues raised in The Company Citizen with former BBC journalist Linda Lewis.
Fair For You
Fair For You is a social enterprise dedicated to creating an ethical, responsible, supportive and fair alternative to the high cost exploitation of poorer people by the rent to own sector. It uses the tools of business to combat poverty. Tom is its co-founder, a non-exec director at the ethical lender, and chair of trustees at the charity that owns it. Fair for You, a Living Wage employer which started trading in 2016, expresses the values of Sector 4 Focus.
…is the first theatre production by Fourth Sector Theatre. ( 53 minutes). It’s a black comedy about Brexit which enjoyed 5 sellout performances in London and Norwich in August 2018. There’s more about the play here. (In memoriam Clive Stubbs, who plays Charles King, died of coronavirus in 2020).
Reports on Small Businesses and Community Engagement
Tom has written two reports on SME engagement: In 2014 ‘The Small Company Citizen: Networks of Community Engagement’ reported on how a variety of models of business networks is evolving to help businesses – and SMEs in particular – to engage with communities to mutual advantage. Tom’s first report on SMEs’ engagement with communities, funded by JRF, was published in March 2013.
Tom’s earlier books
Tom’s book, ‘Welcome to GoodCo – Using the Tools of Business to Create Public Good’ was published in June 2014. The second, updated, paperback edition was published in September 2015.
Tom’s first book, ‘Partners for Good: Business, Government and the Third Sector’, was published in June 2012. Click here for details.