4 min read
Jan 2024

2019 Session Recordings

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Powerful messages, inspirational stories, and practical workshops characterized the fourth annual Economics of Mutuality Forum at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, on 17 May 2019.

Over 500 MBA students, business leaders, senior executives from foundations and NGOs, academics, investors, and government policymakers attended the Forum which was organized jointly by Oxford Saïd and Mars Catalyst, the thinktank of Mars, Incorporated, as part of their multi-year joint research program.

More than 10 years after a ‘giant boot had come down on the windpipe of the financial world,’ the after-effects of the financial crash of 2008 are still with us, said Shelby Coffey in his scene-setting speech. And yet little so far has changed. Despite a growing enthusiasm for demonstrating a beneficial social impact, and a growing awareness of the urgency of action on climate change, business is still hampered by an obsession with financial capital: what Coffey called ‘the oversold gospel of the bottom line.’

There is room for optimism, however, firstly in the changing nature of business itself. Whereas once assets were tangible, and could be bought and owned, now 88% of the assets of SMP 500 companies are intangible – brands and reputation, intellectual capital, social capital, and natural assets. So these assets cannot actually be owned, but companies are increasingly dependent on them, and they increasingly impact on them.

Secondly, as passionate speeches from MBA students demonstrated, there is a growing demand from young people and from consumers for businesses to demonstrate responsibility and purpose. 74% of Millennials are seeking meaningful jobs, and by that they expect more than a lofty description of corporate purpose that simply looks good on the website, or is enacted only in a Corporate Social Responsibility program that operates at the periphery of the business. They demand purpose, but they demand to see it in practice.

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Full report of keynote speeches, panels, interactive breakouts and more


Main Session Recordings

 

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1. Welcome and Programe Overview

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2. Setting the Context

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3. Forces Shaping Global Business

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4. Introduction to EoM

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5. The Power of Purpose in Business

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6. Finance and Purpose in Business

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7. Oxford Union Debate

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8. Putting Purpose into Practice

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9. Final Thoughts

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