symbolic image representing the conflict between Russia and Ukraine

CBiS Is ‘On-Message’ – The Challenges Facing ‘Big Business’

By Professor Lyndon Simkin, Executive Director, Centre for Business in Society

The Centre for Business in Society (CBiS) at Coventry University is now one of the largest research centres focusing on responsible business, with over forty specialist researchers, 16 Professors and Associate Professors (Readers), more than 100 doctoral researchers, a DBA programme and a specialist research support team.

CBiS explores the impact of business on society.  Much of our work inevitably involves righting wrongs… seeking to improve the life/circumstances of those who are disadvantaged… striving to improve inclusiveness and minimise social exclusion.  Not because of any political persuasion or philosophical stance, but because the impact by business and policy bodies on society and on the individual so often reveals aspects of marginalisation or exclusion.

CBiS’s four research clusters currently are examining how to reduce financial vulnerability; addressing exclusion, disadvantage and waste in access to food; creating access to renewable energy, the circular economy and sustainable supply chains; promoting inclusion in society and communities; limiting marginalisation caused by transport and mobility access challenges; encouraging inclusive green economic growth; understanding and mitigating digital exclusion, and much more.

Within our work, we regularly solicit the views of businesses regarding the pressures they are under and the challenges they are prioritising.  The latest themes they are telling us about are fascinating and exciting.  They are big agents for change.  They also are hugely concerning.  To address these developments, companies’ leadership teams and c-suites will have to adapt to many changes impacting them, their business ecosystems and their customers, while also adopting new thinking and practices.  And not just companies; there are significant challenges for policy-makers, regulators, politicians and society in general. These are the leading dozen themes currently presenting ‘big business’ with awkward challenges.  And, no doubt, providing some with commercial opportunities:

Changing Behaviours

Environment, social and governance
Environment, social and governance (ESG)

CSR has evolved; it’s now in overdrive around the UN SDGs and expectations for more accountability
A silhouette of a woman in a yoga pose over a image of a laptop
Wellbeing and mental health

In the workplace and in society, with more corporate focus on providing support and making allowances.
Value and cost-of-living challenges
Value and cost-of-living challenges

Businesses must stay relevant to their customers and develop products and services which remain accessible.
A line of migrants walking
New migration/new customers

With changing needs to understand and satisfy, and new partnerships to establish in order to access them.

Changing Practices

A spread of different vegan foods and ingredients
Plant-based foods and flexitarians

34 million flexitarians by 2035, altering production, supply chains, distribution, brands and behaviours.
Energy use/conservation
Energy use/conservation

At work, in the home, in society, in government; scarcity, cost and climate change are driving forces.
Human hands and one robotic hand reaching up into the sky
AI and workforce substitution

Automation, robotics, artificial intelligence and other technologies taking over from people in the workplace.
Hydrogen vehicles on a runway with solar panels and wind turbines
New transport solutions

Legislation is driving change and innovation, including electric vehicles, hydrogen and new business models.

Changing Rules

Abstract image that represents compliance
Compliance and reporting

There will be big growth in regulation, with huge implications for data capture, storage and reporting.
Alliances and commercial ecosystems
Alliances and commercial ecosystems

Life is too complicated to go it alone, with commercial partners/alliances offering much needed expertise.
Bad debt management (channels and customers)
Bad debt management (channels and customers)

Over the next 6-12 months defaults will escalate significantly, impacting on businesses and households.
Global trade barriers
Global trade barriers

Trump and China, Boris and Brexit, Putin and the Ukraine; protectionism, conflict and new allegiances.

The Centre for Business in Society currently has research teams focusing on sustainability, including food production/consumption, green transport solutions and energy use; CBiS’s researchers are addressing cost-of-living pressures, new business models in economic development and green growth; others are assessing the changes to our communities, wellbeing and workplaces; research teams are looking at financial wellbeing, debt management and global investment, and much more.

CBiS is very much operating in the hot topics currently facing business; issues with huge consequences for policy-makers and society.  Impactful research designed to make a difference.  Further information is available here:

Through understanding the impact of organisations’ activities, behaviours and policies, the Centre for Business in Society at Coventry University seeks to promote responsibility, to change behaviours, and to achieve better outcomes for economies, societies and the individual.