By Astrid Zweynert
GLASGOW, Scotland (TrustLaw) – Social entrepreneurs need to remain politically engaged if they want to change the rules of business for a better society, a senior manager in Britain’s co-operative movement has said
Paul Monaghan, head of social goals and sustainability at The Co-operative Group, said that when the modern-day co-operative movement began in 1844, it was more than just a business – it was a means of challenging an unfair society.
The co-operative pioneers were "deeply politically engaged", Monaghan said.
He urged social entrepreneurs and people in the co-operative movement to put aside definition debates and get on with trying to change the rules of business through political means as well as commercial activity.
“Good business means doing the right thing, even when there isn’t a business case,” Monaghan told delegates during a "Good business and How To Do It" session at the Social Enterprise Exchange.
Chuka Umunna, the opposition Labour Party's spokesman on business, said that spreading the insights and practices of social enterprise to the rest of the economy was crucial to Britain's future success.
“The values and practices that we see in this sector encapsulate that business should invest in the long-term, not just for a quick buck,” he told delegates during the session.
"A thriving and growing social enterprise sector is to be welcomed, encouraged and supported, “ Umunna said. “As a sector, social enterprise is a source of much innovation, in public services and beyond.
"But the prize is to make it easier for all businesses to build on the learning from your sector – to increase the confluence between advancing social priorities and doing well."