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RSA roundtables at this year's party conferences will ask "How can businesses help meet social needs in communities as hard times bite"?

With more large stores increasingly acting as 'community hubs', promoting social interaction amongst their customers and developing local action plans, the RSA will discuss the rise of strategic frameworks between government, public services and business.

The RSA believes that we are at a moment of change. Spending on public services is being reduced, and citizens experiencing a painful squeeze on their living standards are becoming more critical of the way business generates growth and distributes rewards. 

At the same time, the limits of traditional models of business growth have been exposed. Markets are defined by societal needs, as well as economic needs. Successful businesses understand and shape their markets, so addressing social weaknesses should be part and parcel of any sustainable business strategy. 

We can see fragments of the future. The RSA's Community Footprint report highlighted innovation in the high street – retailers supporting skills development and social networking. The RSA's 2020 Public Services Hub looked at Business, Society and Public Services, and highlighted vital new collaborations around Smart Cities, and exciting 'Regulation Plus' initiatives, through which multi-stakeholder groups collaborate on creating policy to achieve clearly stated government objectives. Asda, who are supporting these conference roundtables, have an ambitious Community Life programme that aims to put local stores at the heart of their communities.

  • Rt Hon Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

  • Rt Hon Stephen Gilbert MP

  • Lord Newby

Labour - 1 October

  • Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

  • Rt Hon Gareth Thomas MP, Shadow Minister for Civil Society

  • Rt Hon Hazel Blears MP

Conservatives - 9 October

  • Rt Hon Nick Hurd MP, Minister for Civil Society

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the RSA will chair each of the events.  Paul Kelly, Director of Corporate Affairs at Asda will participate in all of the roundtables.

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the RSA, said:

"It is increasingly important that companies show alignment between profit making and the creation of social value.  This can't simply be bolted-on through corporate social responsibility, but must rest on civic-mindedness and deeper relationships with customers."

ASDA corporate affairs director, Paul Kelly, said:

"Asda is proud of its Community Life programme.  Our stores are becoming hubs for involvement and innovation, delivering long-term benefits that help people live healthier, happier and more sustainable lives and make their communities stronger.  We look forward to joining the RSA at these events to explore the future of shared value approaches."


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