We are currently witnessing stark inequalities of income, wealth, and wellbeing all over the world. In May 2023, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development released a new report that recognizes mounting inequality as a systemic risk that poses an existential threat to our society and economy. “Tackling inequality: An agenda for business action” provides new analysis into the critical role of the private sector in addressing inequality, and the powerful reasons why business must act with urgency. The report underlines how tackling inequality helps companies mitigate operational, reputational, regulatory and financial risks, while unlocking new market opportunities. The document offers a comprehensive and impactful action agenda that business leaders can leverage to help build a world of opportunity for all.

The Business Commission to Tackle Inequality (BCTI) outlines 10 key actions that businesses across all sectors can take as part of their efforts to address the systemic risk of mounting inequality:

  • Action 1: Adopting policies and practices that put respect for human rights at the center of how business gets done.
  • Action 2: Ensuring that all people have what they need to be healthy and productive.
  • Action 3: Building work environments and markets in which all individuals are empowered to participate, prosper and reach their full potential.
  • Action 4: Building a workforce that is skilled and empowered to benefit from the developments that are transforming the world of work.
  • Action 5: Ensuring that the terms and conditions of work protect and enhance the health and wellbeing of all workers.
  • Action 6: Eradicating poverty wages and ensuring that everyone who works earns enough to afford a decent standard of living.
  • Action 7: Giving workers greater ability to affect corporate decision-making about the terms and conditions under which they work.
  • Action 8: Helping to propel government toward greater and more impactful action on inequality.
  • Action 9: Approaching tax as an essential part of good governance and a fundamental investment in the societies where business operates.
  • Action 10: Acting in line with science to address the climate emergency and restore nature, while leveraging these transformations to advance shared prosperity. 

Inequality-related risks are also strongly linked to climate change and nature loss. The environmental crisis is having direct impacts on people, health, products and services, and hitting the most vulnerable groups 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.