Leonardo joins the Purpose Coalition to highlight the defence sector’s role in geopolitical security

18 July 2023

Leonardo joined fellow leaders from the defence, manufacturing and procurement sector in Parliament to discuss and promote how our sectors are upholding UK values in a transformed geopolitical landscape.

The Purpose Coalition’s ‘Solidarity with Ukraine’ reception, powered by Leonardo UK, took place in the House of Commons yesterday and brought together leaders from across the business, political and education landscape, in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. The event highlighted the ongoing support for Ukrainians both in the UK and abroad and how each sector is playing its part in this international effort.

Keynote speeches at the event included Chair of the Purpose Business Coalition and former Labour MP, Lord Walney; Chair of the Purpose Coalition and former Education Secretary, Rt Hon Justine Greening; Leonardo UK CEO, Clive Higgins; Simon Fell MP; Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP; Luke Pollard MP; and General Secretary of the CSUE (Confederation of Shipbuilding & Engineering Unions), Ian Waddell.

Lord Walney said: ”Russia’s war on Ukraine has caused a seismic shift in the world. It has highlighted the crucial nature of defence in upholding our values and the need for a vibrant, well-regulated defence industry. The best defence companies have always acted with high ethical standards but their central role in helping the Ukrainian people to defend their sovereignty, and the significant investment they make in the communities where they operate, is rightly prompting ESG investors to look again at the sector.

“That is why I am proud to launch the Purpose Defence Coalition, part of the wider Purpose Coalition, to  bring together the defence sector’s most innovative leaders and businesses to share best practice and develop policy solutions.”

Clive Higgins, Chair and CEO, Leonardo UK, said: “From across UK society, many have actively demonstrated their support for Ukraine, both professionally and personally, including opening their doors to Ukrainian refugees. The UK defence sector is a critical part of the overall defence of Ukraine and I am proud that equipment provided by Leonardo is helping to protect infrastructure and save lives today.

"Security is the foundation on which we build society, underpinning our freedom, prosperity and national ambitions such as net zero. The defence sector ensures that security, while at the same time acting as an engine of social mobility, creating high-value, high-skilled jobs around the country. We’re pleased to be working alongside the Purpose Coalition as it brings together Britain’s vibrant defence industry to address critical issues like social mobility and deliver meaningful results for the communities we serve.”

Speaking at the event, Rt Hon Penny Mourdant, Leader of the House of Commons, Lord President of the House of Commons and former Secretary of State for Defence said “We want people to be able to have life experiences and build connections, so that when there is victory for Ukraine, that future is secure and it hasn't been put on pause. That’s why these personal networks that you are helping to build are so critical; it's an absolute example of the best of civil society and business working together with a little bit of help from government.”

Speaking at the event, Luke Pollard MP, Shadow Minister for the Armed Forces and MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, said “This is another opportunity for Parliamentarians and our country to show our support for Ukraine to make sure that support is long lasting and to start those difficult conversations to ensure that we can in the long term continue to show that support to Ukraine, not only in fighting Putin's illegal and criminal invasion, but also being ready to rebuild and help Ukraine get back its democracy, its security and its economy. These are big challenges that we mustn't shy away from.”

Chair of the Purpose Coalition and former Education Secretary, Rt Hon Justine Greening, said: “It has been inspiring to see how businesses and individuals have responded to the war in the Ukraine, and to Ukrainians who have come to the UK in search of safety. The Purpose Coalition works with its partners to connect talent with opportunity, especially for those without connections or networks to help them, including those displaced from Ukraine. With no end to the conflict in sight, it is even more important that businesses continue to step up to the plate to provide jobs and training that can have such a positive impact on their lives and communities.”