The Prince of Wales, President of Business in the Community was joined by his sons The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry earlier this week as he attended the annual responsible business awards.

The Prince of Wales with The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry at the annual BITC Responsible Business Awards
The Prince of Wales with The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry at the annual BITC Responsible Business Awards

As they arrived at the Royal Albert Hall for the evening event, they were greeted by hosts comedian David Walliams and F1 presenter Natalie Pinkham.

Some 1,400 guests gathered for the event which featured performances by the Military Wives Choir and poet George Mpanga.

The Prince of Wales, who is President of the Business in the Community (BITC) charity, gave a keynote speech and urged business leaders to create more training and job opportunities for former military personnel.

He said: "I want to look at a situation, which is just as big a concern to my sons as it is to me, where fortune very often does not favour the brave.

“And that is in the opportunities available to our troops when they return home and seek employment outside the armed forces. Loyalty, integrity, teamwork and the ability to work calmly and with discipline and good humour under intense pressure are qualities that any business must surely value highly.

"However the transition is by no means easy, and we should not pretend it is, even for the able-bodied. For those who have been wounded, of course, the difficulties are greater still."

The Prince, who has served with the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, added: "One of the biggest differences the corporate sector can make, is the development of the skills needed to fill the skills gaps and create the employment and economic independence that enable individuals to contribute fully to the community in which they live.

“Employers must look for new ways to unlock talent – the extra steps they must take to find it and, most importantly, what they must do to ensure that their own practices do not disadvantage talented individuals because of the circumstances in which they find themselves.”

His Royal Highness, who visited the flood-hit Somerset Levels earlier in the day, said more had to be done to create a “genuinely sustainable economy”.

"The prosperity of business and society and the whole of the natural environment on which we depend for our ultimate survival are intimately tied together. One cannot succeed without the other," he said. "For the three of them to flourish we must create a more circular and genuinely sustainable economy.

“The recent flooding events across Great Britain demonstrate how vulnerable our economies and communities can be.

“I have seen the effects of this first hand, after floods in places like Braunton, Yalding and the Somerset Levels, which I revised only today, to see how people are recovering from the after effects.”

During his speech, The Prince revealed that Marks and Spencer chief executive Marc Bolland would be the new Prince’s National Ambassador for Responsible Business. He will work with regional ambassadors to encourage responsible business practices across the UK.

The awards, which celebrate companies that show innovation, creativity and a sustained commitment to corporate responsibility, are presented across 13 categories including the Responsible Business of the Year 2014.

A Clarence House spokeswoman said: "For more than 30 years, The Prince of Wales has believed that being a responsible business goes far beyond the financial bottom line.

“Through his charity, Business in the Community (BITC), established in 1982, His Royal Highness seeks to help businesses recognise their wider role in society and how they can help to tackle some of our most pressing social and environmental issues.”


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