Dec 2021

Reshaping Business and Capital: Economics of Mutuality in China

Published December 2021

Bruno Roche, Economics of Mutuality Founder and Executive Director, gave a keynote address at the China Social Enterprise and Impact Investment Forum 2021 at the start of December. The theme of the virtual gathering, which attracted more than 6 million views across the course of 3 days, was ‘Reshaping Business and Capital’. It covered topics such as green recovery and co-creation, with leading Chinese and global speakers from academia, business, investment, public welfare, and media.

An extract from Bruno’s speech entitled ‘How to Unlock the Power of the Market and Create a More Equal and Inclusive Society’ has been transcribed below. Click the button to watch the recording.

Extract From Bruno Roche’s Keynote

I think we are moving into a time and into a period where the power of markets, which has prevailed especially in the western world where the market is king, will have to be balanced. I think markets still remain an important power – business and investors remain an important power – but they are being balanced by civil society.

Especially with the emergence of social media – people being connected with one another. Civil society is playing an important role now as a way to counter power – the power of markets. And you can see that in how consumers choose brands right now. It’s interesting to see that the younger generation is really sensitive to these issues and they will not vote necessarily politically, but they will vote with their money – they will choose certain brands versus other ones.

With Covid, we have seen a comeback of government and regulation. Without government, I don’t think most countries could have managed through the economic crisis. It’s an important shift. There is a race between different parts of the world – the EU, China, the US, and to some extent the UK. There is a race towards developing a new form of regulation that will force companies and investors to report not only their financial performance, but also their non-financial performance.

The EU plans by 2024 to compel all companies with more than 40 million Euros of revenue to report their non-financial performance. There are still some discussions about this, but it’s very clear that behind this regulation there is also the philosophy – the vision – that the economy should be in service of society and that finance should be in service of the economy. I know in China the program of common prosperity is really at the heart of this. Also, the EU is, in my view, on a similar wavelength.

Extract edited for space and clarity.


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