Building a future where “no one is left behind” is central to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and a key objective of the associated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Empowering all people to be agents of change and contribute to sustainable development is essential to achieving the world we want.
However, people around the world continue to face discrimination based on factors such as gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age and disability, among others, limiting their prospects of benefiting from and contributing to sustainable development. Further, widespread racial, religious and cultural intolerance and the rise of xenophobia present a major threat to peace, security and economic growth. Combatting discrimination and tackling the stereotypes and discourses that deepen patterns of hostility, mistrust and disrespect is a critical sustainable development priority that requires bold leadership and new thinking.
As employers, investors, innovators and influencers, business has both a stake and a role to play. The corporate responsibility to respect human rights includes the cross-cutting and internationally recognized principles of non-discrimination and equality. At the same time, put simply, inclusion is good business. Harmony between people within and among communities supports an open global business environment. Further, companies that value the diversity of their customers, employees, business partners and community stakeholders as a source of business insight, creativity and opportunity tend to outperform their peers.
Business for Inclusion will explore the spectrum of ways that business can help end discrimination, promote equal opportunity and help build bridges between people and communities. By building on the existing work of the United Nations Global Compact on inclusion, including the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), and leveraging its strong network of UN partners, expert organizations and Global Compact Local Networks, Business for Inclusion will help deepen understanding on what business can do to help achieve the SDGs and catalyze concrete action and partnerships to ensure that progress towards the SDGs narrows, rather than widens, inequality.
Business for Inclusion is both an opportunity to learn and an opportunity to lead.
- Thought leadership on the role of business in driving inclusion to advance sustainable development, reflecting the perspectives of leaders of participating businesses.
- 20+ companies launch new (or expand/strengthen existing) business practices or partnerships to advance inclusion and create opportunities for economically and socially excluded people.
- A minimum of three multi-stakeholder partnerships and/or collective action initiatives launched at the country-level in support of national SDG action plans and the achievement of targets related to equality, diversity and inclusion.
- A compendium of business “stories” on driving inclusion in the workplace, marketplace, community and society at large, highlighting effective approaches/strategies for maximizing impact (print and/or multi-media).
- A business-led advocacy effort to promote social cohesion and raise awareness of the economic and social benefits of diversity and inclusion, linking to and supporting UN commitment platforms, campaigns and messaging where possible.
Benefits of engaging
- Be part of a network of fellow businesses and leading organizations from around the world that are committed to driving inclusion within and throughout business
- Engage in a series of five Roundtables/Workshops to facilitate peer-to-peer learning and engagement with expert organization to help prioritize, expand and deepen your inclusion efforts
- Share experiences, explore opportunities to partner and collaborate, and amplify your company’s inclusion story
- Manage potential human rights and labour risks and expand the reach of your company’s inclusion efforts by launching new (or elevating existing) business practices and partnerships
- Learn new strategies for creating systemic, cultural, and behavioural change that will enable inclusion initiatives to reach their intended mark
- Demonstrate leadership by engaging employees and working with like-minded companies to create a business-led advocacy campaign to promote the social and economic benefits of inclusion
- Connect your company’s inclusion efforts to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and identify opportunities to support implementation of the SDGs at the national level
Activities and Events
- 26 or 27 April: Making Global Goals Local Business – India
- Introductory Consultation on the Business for Inclusion Action Platform
- September: UN Global Compact Leaders Summit 2017, New York
- Launch of the Business for Inclusion Action Platform
Expected outcomes (and other aspects) of this action platform may vary consistent with feedback obtained from our stakeholders during the course of the consultation process.