This position paper clarifies the ambitions of the B4IG coalition through a roadmap built in collaboration with the member companies to advance Inclusive Growth. It has been prepared by the Business for Inclusive Growth (B4IG) coalition of companies, in collaboration with the OECD. Specifically, the paper has been written by the B4IG Working Group on Inclusive Workplaces, chaired by Accenture.
Below is the executive summary : read the full paper here.
A Moment of Awakening
The global economy stands at a critical moment, confronting a number of simultaneous crises across the spheres of health, economy, employment, leadership, environment, geo-politics and social pressures rooted in long-standing inequities. These trends are well documented by the OECD and other international organisations. As these crises perpetuate and escalate, they can reinforce one another to generate further uncertainty about the future.
At times of crisis, it is tempting to crave a return to the comfort of how things were before. As a coalition of organisations focused on positive change, Business for Inclusive Growth (B4IG) rejects this temptation. Rather, the B4IG coalition views this moment as an opportunity for business leaders and policymakers to create a future of work that is much better than what came before.
Every CEO, every worker and every citizen has experienced a shared moment of awakening. We have been awakened to the degree of interdependence between individuals and between organisations; we have been awakened to the intrinsic value of previously “invisible” workers; and we have been awakened to how collaborative, empathic and supportive we can all be, as individuals and as organisations.
The B4IG coalition contends that this once-in-a-generation moment must be harnessed immediately. Today’s economic crisis compels us to consciously shape a future of work that is more equitable, more inclusive and more relevant to future trends and shocks.
Lockdown has highlighted and intensified systemic inequities, such as the divide between those with access to digital tools and those without; or those with access to social safety nets and those without. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the dangerous extent of these inequalities, and the degree to which economic systems depend on the contributions of the very workers that lack equal opportunities and social protection.
The employment crisis puts at risk recent improvements in workplace diversity and inclusion (D&I), as workers that are already disadvantaged and discriminated against are hit hardest. In fact, HR decisions in response to the current crisis will be a crucial determinant of whether we see a reversal of the D&I progress made over recent decades, or a new resolve for structural change. The spotlight on enduring racial discrimination sparked by recent events in the US, brings an opportunity to address key social injustices and widening gaps worldwide.
The lack of global preparedness and cooperation in response to the pandemic has raised alarm bells for the future. Impending trends that will shake the workforce, such as the 4th Industrial Revolution, are accelerating due to this crisis. The response from business and government can be positive and constructive, such as investments in training and education for skills of the future, incentivising growth sectors like the green economy, the care economy or bio-tech, and anticipatory planning for future shocks, such as climate-related incidents. With challenges of this scale, global cooperation is crucial to shape that better future.
Seizing the Moment
With this paper, the B4IG coalition identifies three priority themes to guide collective business and policy interventions. These are “The Future of Work”, “Diversity and Inclusion”, and “Good Jobs with Decent Wages”. Specific business and policy priorities are detailed within each theme. The OECD has drawn upon its long-standing expertise on these topics to present the policy challenges and areas for priority attention.
The B4IG member companies have already gathered 80 of their own initiatives across these themes, which have formed the basis of sessions to share experiences and learn from one another. Many of these examples are highlighted within this paper, and further information is available. These efforts have generated eight business priorities across the three priority themes, as summarised below:
Priority themes to achieve a more equitable, inclusive and relevant future of work:
In accordance with the B4IG Pledge, this paper intends to encourage concrete action. The writing of this paper has acted as a springboard to explore and define subsequent workstreams that form the B4IG programme of activities on Inclusive Workplaces. The intent of these workstreams is to stimulate and guide collaborative action towards an inclusive recovery. These initiatives are outlined in the paper and summarised below:
B4IG workstreams to accelerate an inclusive recovery:
In response to today’s historic crisis, the B4IG coalition launched a collective call for an inclusive recovery. In an environment where government resources are stretched and business attention is focused on survival and financial sustainability, the risk of reversing decades of progress is real. Proactive intervention by both business and government is essential.
History rarely presents opportunities that bring together such broad consensus for transformative change. The B4IG members commit to harnessing this powerful moment of awakening and working together to ensure an equitable and inclusive recovery into a brighter future of work for all.
Read the full paper here : To Recovery and Beyond: Building an Equitable and Inclusive Future of Work