The Bishop of Birmingham, The Right Reverend David Urquhart and Christian Aid joined with business leaders from across the West Midlands on Monday evening (Nov 26th) to celebrate the launch of a new business network which aims to support, inspire and equip business leaders to be part of a movement towards a more just and sustainable world.
Senior managers form a wide range of industries attended the event at Chaplaincy Plus to hear what has been achieved since Christian Aid established the first Salt Network in 2016 and to consider how they might ensure their businesses have a more positive impact locally and globally.
The Salt Network was set up in recognition of the key role business leaders play in tackling global poverty and the mandate for Christian leaders to create empowering and values-based businesses.The audience heard how in the last year 70% of established members have made pledges to lead change in their businesses by adopting more sustainable, ethical and inclusive business practices.
Speakers included the Bishop of Birmingham, The Right Reverend David Urquhart, Salt’s UK Manager, Samuel Williams and Salt Lead, Helen Howe.
Bishop David, who worked in commercial management before joining the priesthood said “the good news of Jesus Christ is one of healing, acceptance and reconciliation; however it is also a call to a radical and transformational way of being which, for those who follow this way, challenges the very decisions and actions we make in the world, including the way we operate within the marketplace”.
They were also joined by one of Salt’s founding members who is based in the West Midlands, Managing Director of IE Brand, Ollie Leggett.
Ollie said “I think that as the Salt business network has found its feet, that sense of a partnership which is humble enough to listen – to people in the Global South and to the needs of business leaders here in the UK has really bedded in.Salt has helped me to see values as a mark of authenticity. An expression of my faith. Of who I am. Of the founding principles of my business. And as a means by which to unashamedly display these distinctive attributes to the world through really practical behaviours, in the hope that others might be inspired to follow suit.
Salt has given me a community of peers in which to explore these questions and it’s given me access to experts who are immersed in the ethics of responsible, sustainable enterprise – and not just the theory, but really practical guidance about how to navigate issues like modern day slavery in my business’s supply chain.It’s given me a deeper sense of understanding of, and connection to, the challenges and opportunities faced by business leaders in the global south and it’s given me a little bit of structure and gentle, invited accountability, that on a regular basis, in the midst of my busyness, draws me back to these important questions and asks me if I am still on track and if I have made the progress I had hoped for.
For all these reasons I would commend Christian Aid’s Salt Business Network to you. Salt can only be as transformative and influential as its members – and you would be most welcome."
The Salt Business Network is open to anyone who owns a business, or is in a senior management position within a commercial organisation.It is for leaders who want to learn together and support each other in making practical changes in their own business operations, as well as joining their voice with others to campaign for issues that affect the world’s poor.The Salt Network already has five UK hubs operational with this new West Midlands hub boosting that number, and the first international hub is planned for next year.
Photo L-R: Right Rvd David Urquhart (Bishop of Birmingham); Ollie Leggett (Managing Director of IE Brand); Samuel Williams (Salt UK Manager); Helen Howe (Salt Global Lead)