Growing inequalities across economies are a killer to democraties, peace and business stability. In response, I was delighted to take part in official launch of “Business for Inclusive Growth” at the Paris Peace Forum in Paris today 12 November 2018. In partnership between OECD and Danone, I have been driving our work at BSR with several colleagues to support this leadership initiative.
The growing consensus among business and policymakers on the need for a new model shaping more inclusive growth
Decades of globalization and technological innovation have created tremendous economic growth, but a growing proportion of the population has been excluded from contributing to, or benefiting from, economic prosperity. A lack of inclusive growth has given rise to heightened social tensions, voter discontent, and the return of populism and protectionism in many countries. Taken together, the effects are threatening the long-term health of our economies and societies, and the capacity for businesses to operate effectively.
There is a growing consensus among business and policymakers on the need for a new model for growth that “creates benefits for all groups of the population and distributes the dividends of increased prosperity both in monetary and non-monetary terms, fairly across society.” To date, however, there has been no comprehensive effort to link business practice and governments policies on inclusive growth.
The B4IG initiative
B4IG aims to fill this gap, and to align business and government action on inclusive growth. Specifically, it will:
- Identify complimentary business actions and public policies that promote inclusive growth, and where there are opportunities for greater synergies.
- Explore how the private sector and governments can work together to tackle the structural issues hindering inclusive growth (for instance, gender equality, corporate governance, business dynamism and productivity, digitalization and the future of work).
- Strengthen the corporate and political “business case” for inclusive growth and identify systemic factors (regulation, enabling environments, incentives) that encourage or discourage inclusive business practices.
- Advocate for companies and governments to adopt best practices and policies, including through case studies and best practice dissemination.
The B4IG platform will also serve as an incubator. Through a web portal, workshops and high-level events, it will provide a virtual and physical space to discuss and test new ideas and policies on corporate governance models, business metrics and accounting standards, programs and activities, and public-private partnerships.
“Companies can take leadership position if they can especially respond to the following questions: Is my product a good one for humanity? Is my production process good for humanity? Is my supply chain good for humanity? Do I pay fair taxes? This initiative has a great potential to shape BIG collective solutions” Jeffrey Sachs, Director, United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network
Ultimately, the platform seeks to:
- Co-create a set of strategic priority areas on inclusive growth where the private sector and governments can take action together. This could be similar to the We Mean Business Coalition, which has mobilized private sector action to implement the Paris Agreement.
- Strengthen impact and competitive advantage for businesses that implement inclusive growth practices through enabling or supporting public policy environments;
- Lay the foundation for a global agenda on inclusive growth that will enable business and government to take action on mutually agreed priority areas, similar to what has been achieved through the climate movement.
The B4IG Approach
The platform will follow a dual approach with:
• high-level summits between business leaders and policymakers, to generate political will and business momentum; and
• Workstreams on specific themes (living wage, diversity and inclusion, inclusion in supply chains, etc.) to develop the necessary research, data and analysis.
• B4IG will produce a series of reports and develop specific recommendations for businesses and governments.
Companies are welcome to help and contribute and are welcome to connect.