Geneva, 19 June 2020: Earlier this month, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) launched a set of business principles aimed at putting people first when it comes to the impact of technology on how work is carried out by direct employees, contract and temporary workers, and workers throughout the supply chain. This includes automation, digitization, AI, machine learning, ICT, platform technologies, IoT, virtual & augmented reality, 3D/4D printing, and more.
The so-called business principles for people-centered technology transformation are now available in Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish to support their adoption by companies across the world.
The principles call for companies to:
- Respect workers’ rights when developing and implementing new technology
- Engage workers in technology transformation, by communicating transparently, consulting with workers and involving them in the design and adoption of technologies
- Empower workers to benefit from new technology, through learning, training and support, by ensuring inclusion and by fairly sharing the benefits of tech-driven improvements
The Principles build on the WBCSD’s leadership statement on the Future of Work, launched in September 2019. Endorsed by top executives from Ayala, Banco Santander, Charoen Pokphand Group, Firmenich, Fujitsu, Microsoft, Nestlé, PMI, PWC, Randstad, Solvay, Sonae and Unilever, the statement invites business leaders to shape a sustainable future of work through people-centered solutions and collaboration with governments, educational institutions and civil society.
Shaping a future of work where people can thrive is essential for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. The combination of rapid technological evolution, socio-economic polarization and the shifting expectations of workers have been the main drivers shaping the world of work over the past years. Predictions abound on how many jobs may be displaced by technology and there are numerous scenarios trying to visualize what the future of work may look like, what work may look like, and where we may be carrying out our work.
The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating the uptake of technological solutions across business, workplaces and private life. Numerous technologies enabling business continuity across value chains while minimizing personal exposure have seen unprecedented growth rates. At the same time, assessing or preparing for the impact of these solutions being deployed at unprecedented speed and scale is an ongoing challenge.
Filippo Veglio, Managing Director, People Program & Outreach at WBCSD, commented: “As companies learn to adapt to our ‘new normal’, we have seen that technology has played a huge role in enabling business resilience. Now is the time to shape the future and ensure that it is people-centric. Through the translations of the principles into Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish, we aim to inform and guide technology-related business decisions of an ever-larger pool of companies across the world, ensuring that technology benefits workers, now and for the years to come.”
WBCSD’s Future of Work Project is developing supporting guidance material to further assist companies in integrating the principles in their decision making, strategies and solutions. Furthermore, companies and partner organizations are joining forces to explore and develop collaborative solutions in the areas of skills (upskilling and reskilling) as well as workers’ health and wellbeing.
23 WBCSD members are engaged in the Future of Work Project: Accenture, Ayala Corp., Charoen Pokphand (C.P.) Group, Firmenich, Fujitsu, Microsoft, Nestlé, Nomura Research Institute, OCP, Philip Morris International, Philips, Phoenix, Pirelli, PwC, Randstad, Santander, Solvay, Sonae, The Navigator Company, Total, Unilever, Verizon and Whirlpool.
They are accompanied by 7 WBCSD Global Network partners: BCSD Australia, CEBDS (Brazil), CECODES (Colombia) FIBS (Finland), Forética (Spain), SKD Türkiye (Turkey), and Sustainable Business Council (New Zealand).
- Technology and the workplace: Putting people first
- Business principles for people-centered technology transformation (available in English, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish)
- WBCSD Future of Work Project
- Davide Fiedler, Manager, Social Impact