Beyond the Bottom Line
Agenda exclusive

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.

What is the purpose of business?

Why are so many firms insisting on telling us what their ‘purpose’ is? David Jevons, Oxera Partner, has been looking at the role of business in today’s society and discusses the purpose of a corporate purpose. Since the 1970s, introductory economics and finance classes have taught that the purpose of a firm is to maximise shareholder wealth; yet today, some of the most successful and high-profile firms are keen to communicate a different purpose.

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

It’s what you know about who you know: market power in digital platforms

In the digital services market, platform operators compete for the attention of consumers. However, there are increasing concerns about their degree of market power, which can be difficult to assess using the traditional tools of competition and regulation. As calls for further regulation increase, authorities must ensure that their interventions do not lead to unintended consequences, such as reducing the gains that such platforms bring to society

Read More

Fair ground: a practical framework for assessing fairness

Regulators are increasingly looking to firms to ensure that their practices are ‘fair’ in terms of the process followed (e.g. the type of data used) and the outcomes delivered (e.g. which consumers pay more). So, how can boards and senior managers satisfy themselves that practices are indeed fair and in line with their firm’s principles and risk appetite? We present Oxera’s practical framework, which has been used as a tool by senior decision-makers in financial services firms

Read More

Fairness and competition in online markets: friends or foes?

Fairness is emerging as an increasingly important policy goal across sectors. We set out a framework for assessing fairness concerns, and examine the relationship between the aims of competition policy and fairness in current debates. Do the European Commission’s platform-to-business initiative and reputation systems for sharing platforms lead to fairer processes? And do online price differentiation and negotiations between platforms and content creators lead to fair outcomes? What is the role of competition in all of this?

Read More

Consumer data in online markets

Businesses increasingly use consumer data to offer better and more targeted digital products and services. Many of these new business models rely on data to facilitate transactions and generate revenues in a way that was not previously possible. Access to personal data has understandably raised concerns about privacy. Based on a study commissioned by Which?, we investigate the delicate balance between privacy and the value of digital services

Read More

Which direction is the FCA walking on prices?

Which direction is the FCA walking on prices?

Yesterday, the FCA published the terms of reference for the forthcoming general insurance market study; a thematic review of the home insurance supervisory programme; and a discussion paper on fair pricing in financial services. Who is affected? The market study will...

Loyal, lazy or time poor?

Today Citizens Advice issued a super-complaint to the Competition and Markets Authority about the ‘loyalty penalty’. According to Citizens Advice, firms are ‘routinely punishing their customers simply for being loyal’, which disproportionately affects vulnerable customers such as older people. Who is...
Open menu Close Search Play video RSS Feed Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Follow us on Instagram Follow us on Youtube Connect with us on Linkedin Email us Copy link