How can business and financial policy get us out of the economic crisis and value greater societal resilience?

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Digital & Data Governance
Resetting our compass in an uncertain, unpredictable and crisis-driven world


Throughout the last three decades, income inequality within societies has increased despite the global upward trend in economic growth driven by globalisation and technology. As a consequence, workers, consumers and savers in advanced economies have seen substantial changes in their lives.

Businesses play a key role in creating a sustainable and fair economy and society. In past consecutive crises – starting with the major shock of the 2008 global financial crisis and the first bailout – governments have consistently supported large corporations and the private sector with a strong determination to preserve jobs and maintain a functioning economy.

This dynamic begs the question of what should be expected from the private sector and large corporations in return. Expectations of the private sector and the corporate world have developed in recent years, moving from sound corporate social responsibility initiatives to a different type of societal accountability and engagement.

Increasingly, there are calls for the private sector to actively support climate change mitigation and adaptation measures, commit to and practice progressive corporate tax policies and tax transparency, promote and implement equity, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace, and lend support to SMEs for the green and digital transition.

Understanding a social contract as a tacit agreement amongst members of a society, the state, private sector, institutions and civil society, corporations are increasingly required to give back more to the world than they take.

This Policy Insight is the first event of our three-step journey on the private sector as a shareholder – rather than stakeholder – in a Renewed Social Contract, in which we will delve into what this change in responsibilities entails.

This event will take place in Brussels and will also be available to a wider audience via livestream. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook, and join the #FoEDebate!

Our events include photos, audio and video recording that we might use for promotional purposes. By registering, you give your permission to use your image. Should you have any questions, please contact us.



Welcome and registration of participants
How can business and financial policy get us out of the economic crisis and value greater societal resilience?
Expand How can business and financial policy get us out of the economic crisis and value greater societal resilience?

Questions include:

  • What does our changed world mean for European and national institutions, the private sector and communities? In what ways has the pandemic heightened citizens’ awareness of the social repercussions of corporate actions, and how can firms become more responsive?
  • Are businesses up for the task of being the co-producers of safer, greener and more inclusive societies? For instance, how can businesses have increased responsibilities when it comes to setting the norms both among their consumers and their business models to address carbon reduction?
  • Understanding the notion of ‘net positive’ as giving back more than one takes, what is the role of business in today’s European society? How does that materialise in sound climate and social policies?
  • How will national institutions such as national central banks leverage their existing financial tools and mechanisms to act as incentives to shape corporations’ behaviours?
  • From words to action, how do we speed up mandatory environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure requirements that will support systemic changes?
End of debate and start of drinks reception


Pierre Wunsch
Pierre Wunsch

Governor of the National Bank of Belgium

Show more information on Pierre Wunsch

Pierre Wunsch is the Governor of the National Bank of Belgium and the International Monetary Fund. He serves as a member of the European Central Bank’s Governing and General councils, the European Systemic Risk Board and the Board of Directors of the Bank for International Settlements. Wunsch also chairs the National Bank’s Resolutions College and the Board of Governors of the King Baudouin Foundation. Wunsch was the director of the strategic finance cell at the Belgian Ministry of Finance during the 2008 financial crisis, prior to which he held various positions within the ENGIE group.

Eimear Creaven
Eimear Creaven

President, Western Europe at Mastercard

Show more information on Eimear Creaven

Eimear Creaven leads Mastercard’s business in Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, through partnerships with financial institutions, retailers, governments and corporates. Creaven is responsible for leading the company’s strategy and operations, driving transformational change across digital payments, cyber services, data-powered insights, and financial and social inclusion, as well as diversifying into new areas, including real-time payments and open banking. With a career spanning over 20 years, she previously served as chief of staff to the President of Internal Markets at Mastercard, director of Alvarez & Marsal in London and vice-president of Allied Irish Banks.



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