Beyond the Bottom Line
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Beyond the Bottom Line

What society expects from business is evolving rapidly. Beyond providing returns to shareholders, businesses play a critical systemic role in the development of society and guardianship of the global environment. For many, this is uncharted territory. Success will come only if we continue to discuss and debate some of the most pressing questions, such as what is the purpose of business? Do investors hold the key to a sustainable future? And what does it mean to have purpose that goes beyond the boardroom?

We must chip away together at seemingly difficult trade-offs until their complexities unravel and solutions begin to emerge. It is in this spirit that we ask businesses, organisations, and policymakers: are you ready to think Beyond the Bottom Line?

Dr Luis Correia da Silva explores what this redefining moment means for businesses.

Why we need to consider holistic consumer outcomes

As government policy, regulation and competition law all aim to make a positive difference for consumers, it is crucial to have a common understanding of what constitutes a consumer benefit. To date, consumer outcomes have been considered mainly in terms of price, quantity, quality, innovation and choice. However, Tim Hogg, Oxera Consultant, argues that advances in technology mean that authorities should consider an additional set of holistic consumer outcomes, including relationships, fairness, truth, and privacy

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Should we be cross about cross-subsidies? Experience from the financial services sector

Cross-subsidies, where one group of consumers pays a higher amount so that the price paid by another group can be reduced, are common in many markets. But the practice may raise concerns about whether firms are exploiting those consumers who pay more, and can lead to calls for competition authorities or regulators to intervene. How might we assess whether cross-subsidies represent a problem? We look at examples from the consumer credit sector

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Financial resilience: demonstrating long-term viability for utilities

Company failure can impose costs on customers as well as society more broadly. To mitigate this, regulators have in recent years subjected companies’ business models to increased scrutiny to enable a broader set of stakeholders to assess risks to financial viability. Stress-testing has been embedded in the banking sector and is increasingly being used elsewhere—such as in the UK water sector

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