Canadian dairy co-op Agropur is teaming up with 33 other global companies to advance human rights throughout their value chains, build inclusive workplaces and strengthen inclusion in their internal and external business ecosystems.
The Business for Inclusive Growth (B4IG) coalition is the first business-led initiative of its kind and it will benefit from the economic and social evaluation expertise of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The group of companies will focus on advancing G7 government-led efforts to strengthen equality of opportunity, tackle regional disadvantages and fight gender discrimination.
The coalition was launched on 23 August by French president Emmanuel Macron at the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Biarritz, France. As part of the initiative, the 34 businesses commit to investing a combined US$1bn in more than 50 current and future initiatives. Their projects have already benefited 100 million people to date.
The coalition has developed a three-pillar strategy. As part of this, it is making a business pledge against inequalities to advance human rights, workplace inclusion and diversity and value chain inclusiveness. The businesses will also create an incubator to design or expand new inclusive business models and an inclusive growth financing forum to promote innovative financing mechanisms between business, governments and philanthropic actors.
The coalition will share the lessons learnt during an annual board meeting, with CEOs and key figures from public and civil society sectors, including the International Labour Organisation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. B4IG results will also be shared with the Business 7, which includes business leaders from G7 countries, and Labour 7, made up of trade unions from the G7 countries, to help inform their preparation and contributions to G7.
Robert Coallier, CEO of Agropur, said: “We are very pleased to be part of the B4IG coalition and contribute, with our unique business model based on co-operative values, to the necessary shift towards more inclusive growth.
“We believe we can generate positive social impacts by helping to build a stronger, more inclusive workplace and rural communities. These are important steps towards a more sustainable future, a vision that is embraced by our members and in line with our promise: ‘Better Dairy, Better World.’”
Gabriela Ramos, OECD chief of staff and G7 Sherpa, said: “Growing inequality is one of the biggest social challenges in the world today. It is perpetuating poverty, undermining social cohesion and trust.
“Sustainable economic growth means inclusive economic growth. It means giving every individual the opportunity to fulfil her or his potential, the chance not only to contribute to a nation’s growth but to benefit from it, regardless of their background or origins.
“The OECD welcomes this initiative by France to involve some of the world’s most important companies to work hand-in-hand with governments and the OECD to tackle inequalities. For our part, we will continue to lead the way in its policy analysis, research and expertise.”