Building Back Together: A new partnership for the recovery

This paper examines the role of business in addressing the underlying issues outlined in the first paper and in helping us to build back better and deliver a stronger, fairer, more resilient economy. We believe that business has a significant role to play beyond its traditional roles as employer, investor and adviser. We believe that a renewed relationship between purpose-led business, government and society can help us deliver a stronger, fairer economy. Below we set out five ways in which businesses can and do act to support this vision.

Creating the conditions for innovation and value-added growth

The ability of firms to innovate and scale new technology to create ‘value added’ growth will become more and more important to our nation’s future success. Businesses in the UK invested £20.3 billion in R&D in 2018 and the success of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has shown the remarkable potential of new forms of public-private partnerships. Purpose-led businesses collaborate to innovate and solve complex problems, whether at the national, international or local level.

Investing together in the skills of the future

As well as providing thousands of opportunities for people to train and learn, including school-leavers and graduates, purpose-led businesses also provide opportunities for the most disadvantaged to access employment, such as Tesco. But as we transition to the green economy, business will have a role in helping workers retrain and transition into new roles.

Find out how Shell and Blenheim Chalcot are helping people reskill for the new economy.

Investing in and delivering world class infrastructure

Private companies will be essential in funding and delivering projects to turn around the UK’s poor infrastructure performance. This will include traditional infrastructure such as transport connectivity and digital connectivity to support regional rebalancing, but it also relates to how we build a thriving supply chain in the UK giving businesses across the country a stake in our success.

Find out how Hitachi has been investing in our manufacturing capacity and how Vodafone and the telecoms industry collaborated to improve rural connectivity.

Delivering net zero transport, households and businesses

Many businesses have set out their plans to become net zero. But working with others they can have an even greater impact on delivering net zero, including for example to tackle ‘wicked problems’ such as decarbonisation of heat and buildings. Success will rely on public support and private investment so the government has a role to play in creating consensus for a stable and long-term policy roadmap.

Find out how industry and government have collaborated to tackle climate change.

Building community and personal resilience

In the last year it has become clear how important the physical footprint of businesses is to their communities. Many have provided essential services such as shops and petrol stations as well as being repurposed for vaccination and test centres. Purpose-led businesses engage with these communities in a meaningful way to understand their impact and how to make a difference to personal or local resilience. This can be through employee support programmes, community volunteering and outreach or financial investment.

Find out how Babcock worked with one of its communities following a site decommissioning

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The Covid Recovery Commission’s work is now finished. The Secretariat was provided by WPI Strategy and the analysis conducted by WPI Economics. If you would like to find out more about their work please contact or