A coalition of global leaders and businesses said Thursday they are launching a new initiative aimed at aligning business interests that can also deliver social impact.
The 34 leading international companies joining the Business for Inclusive Growth initiative will work with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, whose chairman — French President Emmanuel Macron — is expected to promote the initiative at the upcoming G-7 meeting in Biarritz, France.
The companies have committed to act more assertively to address social inequalities in society and their workplaces.
A three-year program, including a global inclusive growth accelerator and fund, will be supported by robust measurement and analysis led by the OECD. B4IG will focus primarily on G-7 countries for now.
The organizations will work with the OECD across three key areas: securing basic human rights, building inclusive workplaces and strengthening inclusion in company ecosystems. This includes impact investing, active ownership, and environmental, social and governance principles. A focus will be on experimenting, replicating or scaling-up inclusive business solutions from B4IG companies to deliver social impact and drive social progress.
Participating global businesses with a combined market worth of more than $1 trillion and more than 3 million employees have pledged their commitment. Nigel Wilson, CEO of Legal & General, one of the participating firms, said in a statement that "delivering shareholder value and furthering social progress are not mutually exclusive. It is the opposite — for companies to prosper in the long term, it is imperative that they be socially as well as economically useful."
The announcement follows a statement issued Monday by the Business Roundtable that reversed a long-held position about the purpose of a corporation. The new position, signed by 181 CEOs, detailed how corporate leaders pledge to lead their companies for the benefit of all stakeholders — customers, employees, suppliers and communities as well as shareholders.