BUSINESS is not all about making profits for shareholders, the boss of Dorset Chamber has said as he unveiled its new mission to “enable better lives through business”.

The chamber of commerce and industry launched a “declaration of intent” which includes a focus on the environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda as well as on supporting firms.

Dorset Chamber has been focusing on mental health and wellbeing, with an initiative called Got Your Six to support leaders under pressure and events about menopause in the workplace.

Its annual meeting heard the chamber would also help businesses focus on ESG, including net zero and sustainability, and connect with young people. New apprenticeship awards are planned this year.

Chief executive Ian Girling said: “We want to recognise the incredibly important role business plays in society.

“Business isn’t all about making big profits for shareholders, it’s not about exploiting people to make money or all about dividends.

“Business helps finance our health service, our welfare system and education. Business provides opportunities for people, it supports the charitable sector and provides opportunities for individuals to lead happy and fulfilled lives.

“We have been thinking bigger than the usual mission statements and wanted our vision to reflect the critical role business plays in society and how we want to contribute.”

The annual meeting, held before Christmas at Bournemouth’s Marsham Court Hotel with Covid safety protocols in place, re-elected president Caron Khan and vice-president Tony Brown for second terms in office.

The president praised businesses for their perseverance, ambition, resilience and willingness to evolve in the face of the pandemic.

She added that there was a great future to look forward to as “forward-thinking, taboo-smashing” business leaders.

Theresa Higgins has been promoted to chief operating officer and Frankie Murphy has been appointed events co-ordinator.