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How can business build more resilient health systems and leverage health as an argument to accelerate climate, nature and equity action?

Published: 5 May 2022
Type: News

Geneva 5 May 2022 - The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) together with Guidehouse and Deloitte have released new guidance today to help global businesses strengthen health system resilience and drive accelerated action on climate, nature and equity.

Over the course of 2021, 23 WBCSD member companies led the work of the Healthy People Healthy Business coalition and sought to better understand the health implications of the planetary emergency. They explored how businesses from a range of sectors can contribute to enhancing health system resilience. Today, interim findings of this work are being released:

1) Healthy People, Healthy Business: Strategies for business to strengthen health system resilience

This white paper demonstrates that businesses from a variety of sectors - far beyond the health sector - play essential roles in building health system resilience and thereby contributing to achieving the highest attainable standard of health and wellbeing for everyone, everywhere. Working in close partnerships within sectors, across sectors and with governments and multilateral institutions is key to bridging private and public domains, building capacity and enhancing knowledge transfer.

2) Healthy People, Healthy Planet: Understanding the relationship between human health and natural systems

This white paper unpacks the relationship between human health and natural systems, outlining the health implications of climate change and nature loss – and demonstrating that the planetary crisis is also a health crisis. It provides guidance on how businesses from a wide range of sectors can use this information to drive accelerated climate, nature and equity action. It makes the case that by integrating health into business decision-making, companies have the opportunity to connect the environmental and social dimensions of sustainability and build long-term business resilience in the face of an ever-growing burden of disease that looks set to threaten societies and economies now and in the future. 

Context

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the most significant global public health crisis and deepest economic downturn in a century. The tragic consequences experienced by communities across the world have brought the issues of health and wellbeing to the forefront of the global political and economic agenda.

The pandemic has reminded the world that health and wellbeing are the foundations on which societies and economies thrive. It has also prompted reflection and challenged societies to re-imagine how to promote and protect health more broadly and equitably moving forward, putting them on course to realize many of the ambitions laid out in United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being.

Against this backdrop, WBCSD established the Healthy People Healthy Business coalition that brings together 23 leading members to explore and identify how businesses from a broad range of sectors can maximize their contributions to achieve the highest possible standards of health and wellbeing.

One of the priorities of this coalition has been to help businesses implement the actions laid out in the Health & Wellbeing Pathway of Vision 2050: Time to Transform. Launched by WBCSD in March 2021, Vision 2050 provides the business community with guidance on how it can lead the transformations needed for a world in which more than 9 billion people are able to live well, within planetary boundaries, by 2050.

More specifically, this coalition of companies has been exploring the role of the private sector in building more resilient and accessible health systems and to better understand the health implications of the planetary emergency with a view to accelerating climate, nature and equity action.

Way forward

The coalition will bring together highlights and key findings of this work in a flagship report later in 2022 that will help to reshape the perception of the boundaries of health systems and present a narrative for business from a range of sectors to integrate health and wellbeing more centrally into their decision-making and core activities.

It will address why health and wellbeing are key ingredients to global sustainability and a livable future, what the opportunities are for business to drive positive health outcomes and how business can protect, promote and nature health.

Members of Healthy People Healthy Business coalition are the following: 3M, Abbott, Arcadis, Baker McKenzie, Biogen, Clariant, Deloitte, ENEL, Eni, ERM, GSK, Guidehouse, Inter IKEA Group, Mitsubishi Corporation, Nestlé, Novartis, OCP Group, Philip Morris International Reckitt, Solvay, Sompo Holdings, Trane Technologies, Unilever.

For more information on this work and how to get involved contact Uta Jungermann, Health and Wellbeing Manager, WBCSD.

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