Blog: Katy AskewBig business backs Aldersgate call for more equitable UK

Katy Askew | 9 December 2014

The Aldersgate Group - an alliance of big business, NGOs and civil society pushing for a "sustainable economy" - has set out a new campaign calling for the introduction of a fiscal policy that tackles rising inequality in the UK, as well as issues such as resource pressures.

The organisation, which includes businesses such as Nestle, Asda and Marks and Spencer, as members, has published a report, entitled An Economy That Works, which pushes for high and flexible employment, equality of opportunity, social mobility and the introduction of living wage levels. The group places "wellbeing at the core" and argues everyone should have the confidence their material needs will be met "supported by strong healthcare and education systems".

The coalition also insists on the need for the development of a green technologies that support a zero waste, low carbon economy.

Peter Young, chair of the Aldersgate Group, said: "Despite encouraging UK growth figures, we risk getting stuck with reduced wellbeing, rising inequality, continued loss of natural capital and rising resource pressures. Policymakers urgently need to look beyond GDP to define successful growth - setting far more coherent policy goals which strengthen the links between our economy, our society and the environment."

FMCG groups have been making strides in developing more environmentally friendly operating models. It is perhaps more surprising to hear them speak out on issues such as the need for an equitable society where businesses provide their employees with a living wage (although Nestle took action on this front in the UK independently).

However, it makes perfect sense. In the CPG sector, wealthier, happier consumers make for better shoppers. A bipolar society where extreme wealth and extreme poverty exist side-by-side would be to the detriment of FMCG consumption patterns.

With an election nearing in the UK, it seems clear issues such as the cost of living and employment will shape the discourse around the economy as much as GDP figures or the false storm surrounding the UK Independence Party. 

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