Adventures of an Elle Presidente

Bristol and The West of England, the final frontier. These are the voyages of a Chamber of Commerce President. My two-year-ish mission: to explore strange new sectors, to seek out more businesses doing good and sustainable business models, to boldly go where no (female, ethnic minority) president has gone before..

Every president has a theme or a set of aims to focus their activity during their terms. With all the challenges being faced I had a smorgasbord of natural and man-made disasters to pick from, but these are not normal times.

In the West of England, there is a strong socially responsible community of businesses, and we are proud to call many of them members of the West of England Initiative. Many are doing amazing things in the name of addressing the big issues, but how joined up are those actions? Business can only really be a force for good in the West of England if it is working collaboratively across sectors and across our region to:

  • Evidence, celebrate and communicate the good already being done (hope into action)
  • Acknowledge the failures and challenges, holding itself and its peers to account (transparency into trust)
  • Strategically join up and scale up that good (#DoNoHarm #DoMoreGood)

It may sound obvious and simple, but as an activist working on supply chain transparency for seven years, I can tell you that it has taken many of us (and far louder voices than mine) to achieve even a little progress in real terms. That is why joining up our efforts is critical. We can’t scale sustainably without connecting our actions. This is why part of what we do as a proactive Chamber is catalysing and nurturing partnerships. 

I’ve said this many times before but businesses are neither good nor evil. They are corporate vehicles; shells within which human beings work either functionally or dysfunctionally together in order to achieve maximising profits whilst minimising risks. Those humans who make corporations ethical are the ones whose stories need to be heard. That’s what this blog is for..

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