Confederation of British Industry (CBI)

What Is the Confederation of British Industry (CBI)?

The term Confederation of British Industry (CBI) refers to a nonprofit organization that lobbies on behalf of businesses in the United Kingdom on national and international issues. Founded in July 1965 by a Royal Charter, the CBI's mission is to contribute to and promote the sustainable progress of U.K. businesses and industry. It also aims to help domestic businesses grow and help mitigate their risks. The CBI is fully funded by fees paid by member businesses as well as the products and services it sells.

Key Takeaways

  • The Confederation of British Industry is a nonprofit organization in the United Kingdom.
  • Its mission is to lobby and act as an advocate for domestic businesses on national and international issues.
  • The organization was formed in 1965 under a Royal Charter.
  • The CBI has 13 offices across the U.K. and four international locations.
  • By joining the CBI, members can cut back on economic and political risk, and gain access to networks and international markets.
  • Funding for the CBI comes directly from member fees and the sale of its products and services.

Understanding the Confederation of British Industry (CBI)

The Confederation of British Industry began operations on July 30, 1965, following the consolidation of the British Employers’ Confederation, the Federation of British Industries, and the National Association of British Manufacturers.

The U.K. went through a period of state intervention and control in the 1960s due to rampant inflation and a severe balance-of-payments crisis. The organization sought to influence the government rather than oppose it, despite calls from business members to challenge government authorities. The CBI is still a neutral party today but remains committed to being a voice for its member businesses to help shape government policy.

The nonprofit has 13 offices across the U.K., along with bureaus in Brussels, Washington D.C., Beijing, and New Delhi.

The CBI is a Royal Charter organization that represents 190,000 different businesses across the U.K. Its governing body, the CBI Council, is made up of:

  • The Regional and National Councils
  • The Standing Committees
  • The Chairs’ Committee, which sets and directs the CBI's policies
  • The President’s Committee, which is the advisory board to the president and the executive team
  • The CBI Board, which oversees financial, operational, and strategic decisions

There are 22 standing committees and councils that operate regionally and on specific subjects. The CBI employs more than 100 economic and policy specialists.

The CBI offers an executive leadership program to help business leaders understand the effect of economic and political policy on the business landscape.

Special Considerations

As mentioned above, the organization receives no outside funding from either the government or any other entities. Funding comes directly from member fees, along with research, surveys, and other services it sells.

The CBI provides member businesses with a variety of resources, such as:

  • Risk reduction: Because the CBI is the only organization mandated to speak and campaign for domestic businesses, the organization helps reduce economic and political risks associated with policy change.
  • Business intelligence: Economic specialists help dissect key issues that affect the business landscape in the country, allowing owners to plan for the future.
  • Networks and access to international markets

By joining forces under one unit, the business community in the U.K. benefits by bringing subjects of interest to the forefront of the political agenda in a collaborative effort. Members also gain valuable insights from experts that span all sectors and industries. For instance, business leaders can access market surveys, forecasts, and analyses to help make informed decisions and policy changes, which can lead to their success.

Article Sources
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. Confederation of British Industry. "The CBI—About Us." Accessed Aug. 17, 2021.

  2. Confederation of British Industry. "Where We Operate." Accessed Aug. 17, 2021.

  3. Confederation of British Industry. "What We Do—Leadership Development." Accessed Aug. 17, 2021.

  4. Confederation of British Industry. "What We Do." Accessed Aug. 17, 2021.

  5. Confederation of British Industry. "Become a Member." Accessed Aug. 17, 2021.

Take the Next Step to Invest
The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Investopedia receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where listings appear. Investopedia does not include all offers available in the marketplace.