A new Commission for Business and Democracy

by Jericho Chambers in United Kingdom

A new Commission for Business and Democracy
We did it
On 30th April 2023 we successfully raised £2,860 with 7 supporters in 61 days

Help us establish a commission to research how businesses can take an active role in engaging in political topics.

by Jericho Chambers in United Kingdom

Businesses are an intrinsic part of a healthy, functioning society - but to what extent do they have a responsibility to participate in democratic or political issues? 

Donate and help us fund the production of two in-depth research pieces managed by a new specialist research commission.

From the Ukraine to #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatter and many more cultural and political issues, business can’t duck its relationship with democracy. Society increasingly expects businesses to take a stance and governments want to outsource many of their responsibilities to the corporate world.

It goes deeper though. Against a backdrop of the 2008 crash, the austerity that followed it and now the cost-of-living crisis, populism swirls around. Democracy itself is being questioned and eroded – this is not good for business. But at the same time new forms of democracy are emerging, as the spirit of the age and new technology informs greater citizens participation.

Businesses can no longer ignore their relationship with democracy. We all know there is a breakdown in the relationship between business and politics and that our Democracy needs to be renewed.

We are looking to establish a Business and Democracy Commission, to get to the heart of what’s happening, why and how business should respond.

This research will help us to understand the challenges businesses face and set out practical steps for a more effective corporate and business role in this fast-changing democratic and political context.

This project, instigated by Jericho with partners the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and Ipsos will ask difficult questions, break new ground, explore whether there is a new consensus.

Sir Ian Cheshire will chair the commission and Commissioners – who will oversee the publication of two key reports over the next 9 months (one to outline the challenges and one to suggest new and refreshing ways forward ­– include 

  • Baroness Denise Kingsmill, Labour Peer and Member of the Board of Directors of Inditex
  • Mete Coban, CEO, My Life My Say
  • Margaret Heffernan, Author & Entrepreneur
  • Vera Heitmann, Global Public Affairs Leader, Ingka Group, IKEA
  • Robin Hodess, Strategy Lead, The B Team
  • Anthony Zacharzewski, President, The Democratic Society
  • Alastair McCapra, Chief Executive, CIPR
  • Matthew Painter, Managing Director, Ipsos Corporate Reputation'
  • Ruth Yeoman, Fellow, Kellogg College, University of Oxford

The challenges at the heart of the Commission’s enquiry will include:

  • What is the correct role for a business in a healthy democratic society? 
  •  What are the dangers/benefits of a business going beyond obeying laws and regulations and engaging in active political topics?
  • What does stakeholder as opposed to shareholder capitalism mean when it comes to democratic engagement?

Jericho Chambers are a consultancy specialising in helping organisations tackle major public policy issues and societal challenges.

We’re a unique ideas and community/ network building consultancy that seeks common good solutions to the complex challenges businesses and society now face.

We know these new times demand new approaches that cannot be carried out by old fashioned top-down communications. In a digital and global age, activists can counter or overcome the power of CEOs.

Working at the intersection of business, public policy and activism we help organisations navigate the challenges and opportunities they face – not by papering over cracks but by finding meaningful common good solutions and building strong alliances for change.

Thanks for your support in conducting this vital research. There’s never been a more important time to investigate the relationship between business and democracy.

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