The Commission’s flagship report also lays out a sustainable business transformation framework to support companies in identifying, assessing and strategically integrating meaningful measures to address inequality-related risks and opportunities.
“Businesses can play a transformative role in tackling inequality by fashioning innovative business models that support sustainable livelihoods,” said Sanjiv Puri, Chairman of ITC and a BCTI Co-Chair. “At ITC, our experience on the ground has underlined how imperative it is to develop inclusive value chains, strengthen climate resilience and build capabilities for tomorrow, especially for farmers and rural communities.”
The BCTI’s report highlights how corporate efforts to address inequality must be built on the twin pillars of collaboration and stakeholder engagement. Inequality is a systemic issue and therefore requires a systemic, multi-stakeholder response. It will be critical for the private sector to work closely with policymakers, investors, NGOs and others to drive change at scale. In addition, any serious private sector endeavor to tackle inequality will need to be rooted in efforts to proactively engage with stakeholder groups that are, or may potentially be, affected by business activity, and to embed their perspectives into business decision-making.
“Business has a powerful role to play in reducing inequality and making it possible for all people to live the kinds of lives they aspire to,” said Sunny Verghese, Co-founder and CEO of Olam Group and a BCTI Co-Chair. “Olam has seen this through our efforts to improve incomes and living standards in smallholder farming communities. Collaboration across industry, with government, and other stakeholders is vital to delivering more opportunities to more people.”
The BCTI also emphasizes that inequality-related risks are also inextricably linked to the climate emergency and to nature loss. The planetary crisis is having profound impacts on people, and if left unchecked stands to further undermine human health, disrupt access to essential products and services, and destroy livelihoods – hitting the most vulnerable in our communities the hardest. At the same time, the transition to a net-zero carbon and nature positive economy will only be successful if it is equitable and inclusive, and delivers opportunities for workers and communities around the world.