Strong healthy societies go hand-in-hand with strong markets. Businesses increasingly see that growing inequality stifles growth and contributes to political and social instability where they operate. Yet, in recent years, income inequality has increased within both developed and developing countries.
Globally, inequality has also increased with 62 of the world’s richest people owning as much wealth as half of the world’s population in 2015. Further, large disparities remain in access to basic services such as education, healthcare and sanitation. Certain groups are disproportionately affected by such disparities, including migrants, women, children, persons with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, and indigenous peoples.
Businesses have a fundamental responsibility to respect the human rights of the groups influenced by their operations, and companies are increasingly realizing that prioritizing diversity and inclusion also benefits business. Diversity in the workplace helps a company drive innovation, improve productivity, and attract and retain talent. For example inclusive sourcing helps companies build resilient value-chains.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals call on business to help achieve the vision of fair, equitable sustainable development by ensuring that no group in society is excluded from accessing opportunities and realizing aspirations for themselves and their families.