The World of Business-logo

The World of Business


Insights into the business world - featuring content from BBC Radio 4's In Business programme, and also Global Business from the BBC World Service.


London, United Kingdom




Insights into the business world - featuring content from BBC Radio 4's In Business programme, and also Global Business from the BBC World Service.




Still in Business

For the final programme of the series, John Murphy returns to a selection of businesses that have come through this far. A fabric and haberdashery shop, a fruit farmer and a micro-pub. What’s their story of survival, what did they change and what of the future? The potential difficulties and pitfalls, are not over. Presenter: John Murphy Producer: Phoebe Keane Series editor: Penny Murphy


Building Back Better

The pandemic and the resulting recession have led to widespread calls to recognise that we now have a once in a generation opportunity to re-think how we put the economy back together again. Research shows we can help our economy flourish again by prioritising spending on environmentally friendly initiatives. From electric bikes, to eco-friendly cement, to a new type of plastic that could heat our homes, fill our mattresses and cushion our running trainers, Adam Shaw meets the businesses...


Wine, Widgets and Brexit

As Brexit talks between the European Union and the UK got under way earlier this year, before anyone was using the word “pandemic”, Caroline Bayley began following two companies which both export to Britain– one in France, one in Germany – to see how they were planning for trade with the UK outside of the EU. One is a vineyard and wine business in Bordeaux and the other makes components for kitchen furniture and cabinets in Germany. Both were knocked sideways by the coronavirus but have...


The Tree Trade

Politicians keep promising more trees – seen as good for the environment and for fighting climate change. Trees are also big business sustaining vital rural jobs. So will lots of new planting keep everyone happy? Chris Bowlby explores forestry’s future in one of its key locations – Northumberland. He visits the huge forest at Kielder, and a rural factory turning thousands of logs into essential materials for millions of British homes. But there are problems too – a thicket of bureaucracy...


The March of Robots

Robots and Artificial Intelligence have been moving into our workplaces for years. But is now the time that they will become fully established and take over some jobs entirely? Is the march of the robots going to get louder now that everything seems to be changing ? David Baker investigates. Presenter: David Baker Producer: Sandra Kanthal Credit: Getty Creative / iStock / PhonlamaiPhoto


Black Business Matters

Sparked by the Black Lives Matter protests around the world that followed the death of George Floyd, companies are wading into the conversation on racial inequality. With a focus on diversity in business, there was also interest and investment in a lot of companies run by black people in the UK. Tobi Oredein, founder of media company Black Ballad, asks businesses including a home-ware maker, an interior design firm and a global bank if this is all a trend or if there will be substantial and...


Keep up at the Back!

The UK fitness industry employs twenty thousand people and is worth an estimated £5 billion to the economy. But - like most other industries - it shut down overnight in March. Some teachers and trainers made swift decisions to move online. Some businesses closed permanently. Will people want to return to busy gyms, even with the new protocols? Tanya Beckett dons her leotard to discover what shape the exercise industry is in. Presenter: Tanya Beckett Producer: Beth Sagar-Fenton Credit: Getty


The Gatwick Effect

The coronavirus pandemic and the associated global economic lockdown have had a dramatic impact on businesses across the UK, perhaps none more so than on the aviation industry and airports like Gatwick, usually the UK's second busiest. The consequences, though, go far beyond the confines of the airport. Tens of thousands of jobs in the wider economy and in nearby towns, like Crawley, are under threat. One report has suggested that, because of its dependence on Gatwick, Crawley could be the...


The Jobs Challenge

As the UK emerges from the coronavirus lockdown, millions of employees are still furloughed – either fully or part-time – with most of their salaries paid by the government. But how many of them really have jobs to go back to? Already companies including British Airways, Rolls Royce, Bentley, Jaguar Landrover and Centrica, to name just a few, have announced thousands of job losses and no-one knows what the true picture will look like by the autumn, as government support is removed. There are...


Oil Shock 2020

The oil price has crashed - for a while some producers were even paying customers to take it away. It's like no oil shock the industry has ever seen before. Lesley Curwen sets out to discover what difference cheap oil will make to our lives. Which jobs are at risk? Will there be a knock-on effect on our household finances - utility bills and pensions for example? And as lockdowns slowly start to ease, could it change how much we rely on oil for good? Presenter: Lesley Curwen Producer: Beth...


Adapt to Survive

2020 hasn't been good for British business - certainly not since Covid-19 showed up. The global pandemic and the lockdown imposed to try to fight it have affected individual livelihoods and those of many companies. John Murphy talks to some business owners from different sectors of the economy - a family-run pub, a fruit farm, a fabric and haberdashery shop and a multinational - to see what changes they've experienced and how they have had to adapt during the crisis. They explain what they...


Economic Recovery in the USA

With the highest Covid19 death toll in the world, and 26 million Americans claiming unemployment insurance, the US economy has taken a massive hit. But how quickly can it bounce back? Will America’s economy will be strong enough to pull its weight in the global economy? Economist Jim O’Neill explores the current scale of the problem and asks how resilient are US businesses and the country’s economy. In Business hears how Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Romer has devised A Roadmap to...


Economic lessons from pandemics past

In the 14th century the world was devastated by plague, known as 'The Black Death', in the 20th century a deadly form of influenza struck infecting around a quarter of the world's population. Since then HIV, Ebola and more have stricken nations. With each epidemic and pandemic comes a huge human cost but each also carry an economic cost. In this programme John Murphy visits pandemics past to see what history can teach us about economic cost and recovery. Presenter: John Murphy Producer:...


Working From Home

Since the Covid-19 ‘lockdown’ began, vast numbers of people have been toiling away at home for the first time: converting living rooms and bedrooms into makeshift office space, wrangling with technology, and juggling family life with working hours. How are we doing? Caroline Bayley explores the delights and challenges of "WFH". Produced by Beth Sagar Fenton.


Could carbon offsetting save the world’s forests?

Honey bees, cow dung and mulch - the company in Zimbabwe that is protecting the forests in order to offset carbon emissions. As Charlotte Ashton wrestles with ‘flight shame’, she wants to find out where her money goes if she chooses to offset her flight. She lives in Zimbabwe, but is from the UK and doesn’t have the money or time to spend three weeks at sea, sailing home to visit relatives. She focuses on a company based in Zimbabwe that runs one of the largest projects of its kind in the...


Supply Chains vs Covid-19

Ruth Alexander examines whether the complex global web of supply chains can hold up under the enormous pressure of the coronavirus pandemic. Looking further into the future, she and Jonty Bloom ask whether this global shock has shown that the days of the speedy delivery of a huge choice of cheap goods from all over the world is over. Presenter: Ruth Alexander Producers: Caroline Bayley and Lizzy McNeill


Indonesia’s new capital

Indonesia’s capital Jakarta is sinking, and struggling with traffic and pollution. The government’s solution? To build a new capital on the island of Borneo instead, better known for its jungles and orangutans. How will this work? Former BBC Indonesia correspondent Rebecca Henschke travels to the proposed new capital site and meets families, environmental campaigners, and local indigenous people to find out how they feel about being included in the proposed new capital territory. Can the...


Making fashion sustainable

Fashion is a hugely polluting industry and is under enormous pressure to become more sustainable. From the way cotton is grown, to the use of synthetic materials and the conditions in factories where our clothes are made - these are all challenges facing the sector. In this programme Patrick Grant, the British menswear designer, factory owner and judge on the Great British Sewing Bee, asks how the fashion industry should respond and what we, as consumers, should be doing too. Presenter:...


Hydrogen: The answer to Climate Change?

Hydrogen is a volatile gas with an image problem, but hydrogen evangelists think this could be the ‘magic molecule’ which will solve the world’s air pollution and cut carbon emissions dramatically. Manuela Saragosa presents the final part of this special series on energy from Italy, where hydrogen has been pumped into the existing gas network. Could a hydrogen boat replace the diesel belching cruise liners and ships along the canals of Venice? Presenter: Manuela Saragosa Producer: Nina...


Is the UK up for sale?

Jaguar Land Rover, Cadbury, Weetabix are but some of the many British brands now owned by foreign corporations. The UK has one of the highest rates of company takeovers by new overseas owners. Sometimes these deals rescue a struggling business and save jobs. And sometimes they provide welcome investment for fast growth. But is there also the risk of Britain suffering a permanent loss of technology and know-how, or even a threat to national security, such as when the company targeted for...