Minute of the Quaker Business Conference 2011: Building Responsible Businesses
We were taken on a journey by Deborah Cadbury and Mark Reckitt which began with the foundation of Cadbury's and finished with its takeover by Kraft.
Early Quaker companies would compete in normal times but would gather in common cause, such as addressing slavery in cocoa plantations. We are not sure this would happen today due to the current value given to the importance of business rankings. Whereas historically businesses may have started within the belief systems of the founders, modern business models often involve creation of wealth leading to philanthropy rather than building an organisation where all involved in its success benefit from the start.
Today, business owners and managers are often distant from their employees and communities and we see new concerns such as business and tax minimalisation, child labour across the world, ratio of pay within a company and whether global ethics could be adopted which would be legally enforceable within companies. Consumers and stakeholders need to recognise these issues arise partly because of governance systems and scale.
We hope to explore these matters in greater depth at our Spring 2012 meeting by researching and considering material for a future Quakers & Business publication.
Watch the presentations and Q&A with Mark Reckitt and Deborah Cadbury.