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Tackling Inequality: Setting the business agenda

WBCSD understands inequality as the uneven distribution of income, wealth, opportunity, power, political voice, and overall wellbeing. Today, we perceive inequality to be one of the most pressing challenges facing our society globally. Business, driven by our current model of capitalism, bears its share of responsibility for the inequality we face today. Under pressure to increase profits and maximize shareholder returns, many companies have adopted business practices that have widened social and economic gaps. At this critical juncture, business can - and must - play its part in closing these gaps.

    The challenge

    Three decades of increasing inequality have brought us to a tipping point. Around the world, we are seeing increasingly wide swaths of people that are dissatisfied with their circumstances and pessimistic about their futures. Social cohesion is breaking down, trust in key institutions is eroding, and protest movements are gaining strength—in some cases, causing violent conflict. 

    The business case

    For business, inequality is a great source of risk and missed opportunity. It limits productivity and innovation, constrains consumer spending and growth, destabilizes supply chains, breeds political instability, and jeopordizes license to operate. Inequality also acts as a threat multiplier, making other problems worse, something we have witnessed all too clearly as the COVID-19 pandemic has both fed on and fuelled inequality globally.

    The solution

    Business has an essential role to play in reducing inequality and in generating inclusive growth that can be enjoyed by all. Through this project, WBCSD is supporting the Business Commission to Tackle Inequality to create a compelling overarching narrative and agenda for business action on inequality, leveraging expert insight and mobilizing the global business community to generate shared prosperity for all. 

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