In June 2021 the Chartered Association of Business Schools published its task force report on Business Schools and the Public Good. The report highlights good practice in the fields of teaching, research, engagement and operations in Britain’s business schools. It identifies purpose-led Schools, analogous to purpose-led businesses, and elsewhere the role of public good entrepreneur. These are academics committed to furthering public good through their work but not (yet) supported by the strategic backing of their departments.
By highlighting and analysing good practice the authors make a case that business leaders of the future need a broad awareness of the place of business in society and its impact on the environment. This can come through undergraduate education, the business leaders of the future, but also through research, MBAs and other ways in which education and business work together. The report features a foreword written by Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever, Chair of trustees at Saïd Business School in Oxford and an author of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The taskforce, which made several recommendations to business schools and to CABS itself, consisted of around ten academics and a similar number of non-academics brought together to oversee, scrutinise and fed into the work. The academic co-chair was Professor Martin Kitchener of Cardiff Business School and the non-academic co-chair was Tom Levitt of Sector 4 Focus. It was two years in the making, a period extended by the impact of Covid on universities.
The adoption of purpose-led values by business in recent years has been tangible.” says Tom, “and we found gratifying evidence that some business schools not only take this on board but are willing to lead on the issue, too. In most schools there is good practice to be found though perhaps not yet in the strategic manner we would hope to see. Some, however, are yet to realise that this is the future of business – and therefore of business schools, too.”