Translating support of inclusive growth into measurable action

Business leaders have a unique opportunity to look deeply at their own operations and challenge themselves around how they can turn their support of inclusive growth into measurable actions.

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This article is part of the Forum Network series on New Societal Contract

At this year’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, many discussions centred on the impact of globalisation, income inequality, and the need to look beyond GDP as a measure of growth.

We have seen that the advances of globalisation have not always directly correlated to the improvement of all people’s lives. The income inequality gap is widening and concerns about being left behind as new technologies emerge is a common headline as the future of work transitions into the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This recognition is driving an increasing focus on inclusive growth and ensuring an equality of opportunity for all. I believe that today’s business leaders want to understand the societal forces shaping our world and impact them in a positive, meaningful way that contributes to the advancement of the societies in which they live and work.

According to Deloitte Global’s inclusive growth survey, The Business Case for Inclusive Growth, 92% of executives surveyed overwhelmingly support the 2030 Agenda and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But, this doesn’t necessarily translate into action. Only 17% of executives surveyed believe their current programmes and initiatives will help achieve the SDGs by 2030. This is a revealing and honest assessment.

The Business Case for Inclusive Growth

Where do we go from here? I believe that when it comes to achieving inclusive growth, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach. Advancing inclusive growth requires a broad range of actions with different approaches at different scales. Business leaders need to find what aligns best with their strategic priorities, while ensuring long-term success in building a society that is both inclusive and sustainable. This was the impetus for Deloitte’s organisation–wide WorldClass initiative, which seeks to empower 50 million people through education, skills development, and access to opportunity.

Most importantly, once business leaders look deeply at their own operations and challenge themselves around how they can support more inclusive growth, they need to set out a way to measure their progress. They should set targets and communicate their progress towards them regularly and publicly.

This is why Deloitte has partnered with the Social Progress Imperative (SPI) for the last five years. Their Social Progress Index is helping redefine how we measure economic success via social progress. SPI’s framework is helping some businesses and governments to design programs and policies, direct investments and assess risks, measure progress towards the SDGs, and build new partnerships to drive more inclusive growth. A great example of this in practice is how Coca-Cola Brazil has worked alongside Natura, Brazil's largest multinational cosmetics company, to use the SPI framework to promote local development and focus on the needs of the communities they serve. 

Business leaders have a unique opportunity to turn their support of inclusive growth initiatives into measurable actions. By using various tools and approaches, I am optimistic that businesses can make progress towards fostering inclusive growth and achieving the SDGs by 2030.

The Business Case for Inclusive Growth explores the barriers business leaders face when supporting inclusive growth initiatives and who is responsible for driving these efforts. Learn more:

Related Topics

Sustainable Development Goals

David Cruickshank

Global Chairman, Deloitte