The Lens – UK Responsible Business Podcast
CO-OP: Business with purpose - what does it mean to be a social enterprise?
This month our host Oli Barrett MBE is joined by Co-op Chief Executive, Steve Murrells and Alice Sparks, Head Invisible (Manchester).
In this episode our host Oli Barrett MBE gets an understanding of business with purpose what it really means to be a social enterprise.
And of course, our host asks both Steve and Alice who they’d most like to meet for coffee and which books they’ll be adding to the famous Lens Reading List.
Steve Murrells is the Chief Executive of Co-op. Having led the Co-op’s Food business since 2012. He now has overall responsibility for all the Co-op’s businesses. Steve has led on Co-op campaigns to address issues that are important to Co-op’s members. He spoke on water poverty at the Global Citizen Festival in 2017 where he committed to donate 1p per litre from sales of all branded bottled water to the Global Water Fund. He has committed the Co-op to tackle the scourge of modern slavery and called on his fellow business leaders to follow his lead. Over a dozen businesses have subsequently signed up to work on Co-op’s Bright Future programme; supporting survivors of modern slavery with paid work placements. During Steve’s tenure the Co-op has responded to the call of its members to tackle loneliness raising £6.5m. Its campaign to get the issue recognised by the Government has led to the appointment of a Minister whose responsibility is to address the issue of loneliness.
Alice Sparks, a recent graduate from the University of Manchester, is Head of Invisible (Manchester), a global social enterprise that trains people who have experienced homelessness to become walking tour guides of their city. Her interest in social impact was first ignited whilst on placement as a business consultant to a Rwandan arts social enterprise in 2017. As a voice for young people in social enterprise and a member of the G20 Young Global Changers, her future is committed to pursuing social and creative enterprise as an innovative solution to tackle society’s biggest injustices.
The Lens Reading List
Steve chose Why I'm no Longer Talking to White People about Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge. This #1 Sunday Times Bestseller is a book that sparked a national conversation, exploring everything from eradicated black history to the inextricable link between class and race.
Alice chose Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez. From government policy and medical research, to technology, workplaces, and the media. Invisible Women reveals how in a world built for and by men we are systematically ignoring half of the population, often with disastrous consequences.
The Lens Podcast
Powered by Fujitsu, supported by McCann and in partnership with One Young World, The Lens represents the breadth, diversity and priorities of the responsible business agenda. From gender equality to zero hours contracts, learning on the factory floor to activist businesses, The Lens covers a range of topics from a host of varying perspectives.
Each episode brings together a business and future leader to foster disruptive conversations and fresh connections. Innovators and CEOs join Oli Barrett in the studio for a unique conversation covering their journeys, lessons learned, advice, insight and of course, the inspirational person they’d most like to meet for coffee.
Business in the Community is The Prince's Responsible Business Network. We convene a unique network of purposeful leaders to share insight, expertise and create innovative programmes that deliver impact. Together our ambition is to make the UK the world leader at responsible business.
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