Best For Wales

Later this week, Andy Middleton is assembling a few of us to talk at the Hay Festival about Best for Wales, a conversation to focus the mind on how we shift from ‘doing better’ to ‘doing what is needed’.

Hay!

At its core, Best for Wales is looking to achieve one thing:

To make it easier to identify, support and buy from companies that are fair, responsible, and Best for Wales

But right now, it doesn’t feel like such an easy job, so what does that mean?

Priorities

First, we need to identify implementable policies that companies can commit to, judged and assessed by their team and clients. They could be things like:

  • Investment in staff % of wage cost for training
  • Sustainable energy sources
  • Maximum 4/5x multiplier for lowest to highest paid employees? Or lower?
  • Reasonable/responsible payment terms
  • Contribution to local causes
  • Donating a percentage of profits to charities

Market advantage

Companies that are Best for Wales are those with one eye on our future.

Research tells us that Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an influencer on customer behaviours, and also that CSR spend isn’t always directly related to commercial success, but of course this is a no-brainer.

Making this message loud, clear, and qualified, can build consumer trust, and provide an edge in the marketplace. In industries such as food, and agriculture, consumer trust is crucial, and has been hit hard in recent years, but other industries such as the financial services are at rock bottom and don’t seem to be changing anytime soon.

A privilege or a warning sign?

We need to help companies to become more transparent, and accountable to their markets. We, as consumers, need to ask for more from the companies that keep our lives running.

A precursor to formal B Corp membership.

B Corp certification is a great way to work out who are the companies jumping on the bandwagon, and those which are truly committed to those qualities.

The B Corp movement in the UK is really building momentum, and Andy was the first to gain certified B Corp status in Wales.

It isn’t easy to achieve, and requires a great deal of time and energy to make the changes needed.

Companies that are Best for Wales are on their way to achieving B Corp status, through their responsible and accountable actions, but can still keep a focus on building a sustainable, profitable business.

Profit isn’t bad. If we want to make Wales independent, as people, not as a state, we need people who are not dependent. We need the freedom to commit our energy to that which matters, and if over 50% of people in Wales have under £500 in their bank account at any one time, they’re not in a position to make big decisions about their future.

Wales couldn’t be better positioned for what comes next.

Everything is in our hands.

We have, or will soon have devolved responsibility for water, food, and the economy the big risks facing us over the next twenty years.

The mainstay issues, that will continually go through changes, education, health and infrastructure investment, we already have control to alter.

But, we need a strategy and vision to gain more powers on energy, planning and taxation.

The Well-being of Future Generations Act is significant. If we can get people to first understand it, then value it, we are on the right path.

Right now, the wellbeing of future generations doesn’t seem to be at the top of our list of priorities.

We are currently going through a painful election period. I don’t see any party with an eye on the long-term future.

Corbyn

Nationalising services might seem like a good idea to some, but aren’t we tired of wasting money, time and energy on a major change that we know will just be reversed once the power shifts again?

Brexit might seem like a good idea to some, but instead becomes a distraction and time-sink that prevents us from really addressing what matters. Over the next three/six/ten/twenty years (who really knows?) our representatives will not be laser-focused on energy, ageing population, or housing threats, but instead a divorce that solves no problems.

May

We are not working together on policies that bring people together, but working in opposition. This social construct of good vs evil constantly runs through the narrative, and ruins any chance of constructive progress.

The extreme right offering cheaper energy at a cost of future security is stupid, but people lap it up.

You, reading this, will likely already think this way, which is the shame. We don’t bring people into this conversation. And I’m 100% confident that the audience at Hay will be the same. Are they, or we, the well-informed? The indoctrinated? The biased? The blinded?

Collectively we need to decide how we judge those that feed us, clothe us, and provide services we rely on.

Are they doing all they can to ensure that their actions are Best for Wales?

Tweet me your thoughts #BestforWales

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Gareth I. Jones

Gareth I. Jones

Founder of TownSq, focused on building communities of entrepreneurs, supporting startups and B Corps - businesses that are better for the planet.