Today, The Princess of Wales launched her new Business Taskforce for Early Childhood, as part of her work to support the early years.
The Taskforce consists of NatWest Group, Unilever, Aviva, Deloitte, IKEA UK & Ireland, Co-op, The LEGO Group, and Iceland. Catherine wants the Taskforce to transform the way in which society prioritises and supports children and the ecosystems around them in their earliest years, and hopes more organisations will join them.
Addressing ‘some of Britain’s most influential business leaders’ at NatWest’s City of London headquarters, the Princess said ‘the way we develop, through our experiences, relationships, and surroundings at that very young age, lays the scaffolding for our abilities and capabilities as we grow, and into adulthood’.
The assembly of the Taskforce is the latest step in the Princess’ Shaping Us campaign, which highlights how we develop during early childhood and why these years matter so much in terms of shaping who we become.
Part of the meeting saw the group watch the 90-second launch animation for the campaign, with Kate explaining that the project was ‘about looking at childhood holistically’.
The mother-of-three noted how the development of early childhood is on par to tackling climate change in ‘helping create the societal change that is needed’. She called on those who had committed to the net zero target, to help ensure ‘that our social ecosystems are protected too’.
Kate acknowledged many business are already championing in this area, through ‘supporting parents in the workplace but also prioritising diversity and inclusion’.
‘It is and will remain, important to find new ways of adapting to your workforces’.
She notes how it is the relationships people build are key to workplace ecosystems, whether it’s internal with employees or externally with customers. Catherine questions whether businesses have to ‘skills and capability to build and maintain these vital relationships’ if we are to build and foster collaboration and work through individual differences.
‘We need the ability and capacity to be self-aware enough to manage our own behaviours and actions, in order to build meaningful relationships with each other. We need the ability to manage things like stress and conflict, to be adaptable to change and stay motivated when faced with challenges. This comes from our social and emotional skills, the foundations of which are laid in childhood.’
The Princess believes there are two key things needed in order to transform society for future generations:
1. Prioritise workplace environments that provide support and training to cultivate the emotional and social wellbeing of staff.
2. More concentration in supporting the social and emotional development of the younger generation.
Noting how businesses are facing hard times, due to the cost of living, Her Royal Highness shared that she firmly believes by investing in early childhood, with a specific focus on social and emotional development, ‘businesses in turn will see in the future better communication, better working relationships, improved resilience, employees finding better work–life balance, less stress, more patience and understanding and increased job satisfaction’.
Amanda Berry, chief executive the Royal Foundation of The Prince and Princess of Wales, said: ‘We all have a role to play in building a supportive and nurturing world around children and those who care for them, and it is fantastic to see business leaders placing the subject of early childhood at the heart of their organisations.
‘Businesses play a key role within society and with their huge reach to their employees, consumer and the wider community, their involvement can have a transformative impact on the health and happiness of generations to come.’