Companies joining forces to tackle inequality
Submitted by Mars, Incorporated
Mars, Incorporated is among a coalition of 34 leading international companies that has committed to step up business action to advance human rights throughout their value chains, build inclusive workplaces and strengthen inclusion in their internal and external business ecosystems.
For Mars, joining this group is an extension of the ambitions set out in its Sustainable in a Generation Plan and the company’s commitment to a healthy planet, thriving people and nourishing wellbeing.
The G7 B4IG coalition will be coordinated by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Its members cover a broad range of sectors, employ more than 3.5 million people around the world and have combined annual revenues of over 1 trillion USD.
The B4IG coalition is the first business-led initiative of its kind, thanks to its 360° approach to tackling inequality, international dimension, and multi-stakeholder approach focused on building synergies between companies, governments and philanthropic organizations.
The coalition’s strategy rests on three pillars:
A Business Pledge Against Inequalities to advance human rights, workplace inclusion & diversity and value chain inclusiveness;
An incubator to design or expand new inclusive business models, piloting social innovation and private-public collaboration at the micro-economic level; and
An inclusive growth financing forum to promote innovative financing mechanism between business, governments and philanthropic actors.
Coalition member companies have put forward over 50 projects representing more than 1 billion USD in investments for the B4IG incubator program — with the ambition of sharing and scaling up through collaboration. Mars has put forward multiple projects, including its Cocoa & Women for Change program which is is part of the broader Mars Cocoa for Generations strategy – a long-term approach to enhancing responsible and sustainable practices in the Mars cocoa supply chain globally.
B4IG will be presented to President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysée Palace on Friday, August 23, ahead of the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Biarritz.
Mars CEO Grant F. Reid said: “Mutuality, one of the core principles at Mars, is about creating enduring benefits which are shared. It isn’t about philanthropy, but rather an understanding that a business can only be successful if it also enables all of its partners, community and the environment to thrive. That’s why we’re joining the B4IG effort to help create a more inclusive economy which enables greater opportunity for all.”
Mr. Reid added: “We want to demonstrate the power of leadership and collaboration – so much more is possible if we work together. Delivering on our ambitions won’t be easy. But, powered by this kind of cross-sector collaboration, we are optimistic that we can build a movement to create a tomorrow we are all proud of.”
Danone Chairman and CEO Emmanuel Faber said: “The middle-class is shrinking in most G7 countries, whereas it is the foundation of market economy around the world. And we know that beyond a certain threshold, inequalities are economically damaging. Smartphones used by Gen Z make inequalities more visible than ever and shift social consensus. The result is that market economy will not last without more social justice. It’s not a matter of ideology, it is hard realism that calls us to a collective and inclusive action, for both governments and companies. With B4IG, our aim is to build a constructive dialogue to advance social inclusion, pilot and scale innovative, inclusive micro-economic business models, and thereby help inform macroeconomic policies.”
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.”
APPENDIX – G7 Business for Inclusive Growth pillars
1/ Pledge ensuring benefits of economic growth are shared more widely through public-private cooperation
The Business for Inclusive Growth (B4IG) Pledge commits Mars to advance human rights throughout their production chains, fight child and forced labor and respect freedom of association. Signatories agree to build equitable and inclusive working environments, including by providing decent wages, promoting gender equality and helping prepare employees for the future of work through training and upskilling programs. The companies also commit to tackling inequalities of opportunity such as those caused by regional disadvantages by supporting community development programs, strengthening inclusive sourcing and expanding access and affordability of basic services.
Among the B4IG coalition, Mars will commit specifically to a three-year program aimed at advancing the ambitions laid out in the pledge. Underpinning the pledge is the view that such engagement is not just good corporate citizenship but is the future of successful business. Business benefits from more inclusive growth models through a more educated and engaged workforce; a larger middle class of consumers with greater purchasing power; more stable operating environments; and a high level of trust from employees, customers and stakeholders.
2/ Business for Inclusive Growth (B4IG) Incubator: a platform where companies can incubate, share, scale-up and replicate new inclusive business approaches.
The B4IG incubator will act as a laboratory to test, scale and replicate social innovation projects. It aims to ensure micro-economic action can inform macro-economic policies at the G7 level and beyond.
B4IG members have already earmarked over 50 projects to the platform, mobilizing more than one billion USD in private finance and benefiting 100 million people to date. Through B4IG, they will look to leverage these projects to strengthen their collective social impact worldwide.
Certain projects will be accelerated, scaled or replicated through the B4IG incubator, leveraging collaboration with other coalition members, philanthropic organizations and the public sector. In addition, companies will share learnings from projects that are already underway and that can serve as inclusive business models to be emulated or replicated. Among the projects earmarked are schemes to tackle homelessness, help the unemployed back into work and improve access to basic services such as finance, insurance and transport in deprived and remote regions in G7 countries.
3/ An inclusive Growth Financing Forum to bring synergies between financing streams
B4IG members will also establish an Inclusive Growth Financing Forum, to catalyze innovative, hybrid financing for social impact, and to assess how to build greater synergies between private, public and philanthropic funding streams. The Forum will look at how to test and expand promising financing mechanisms such as results-based financing, through the B4IG incubator.
ABOUT MARS, INCORPORATED
Mars is a family-owned business with more than a century of history making diverse products and offering services for people and the pets people love. With more than $35 billion in sales, the company is a global business that produces some of the world’s best - loved brands: M&M’s®, SNICKERS®, TWIX®, MILKY WAY®, DOVE®, PEDIGREE®, ROYAL CANIN®, WHISKAS®, EXTRA®, ORBIT®, 5™, SKITTLES®, UNCLE BEN’S®, and COCOAVIA®. Mars Associates proudly take care of half of the world’s pets through our nutrition, health and services businesses such as Banfield Pet Hospitals™, BluePearl®, Linnaeus, AniCura, VCA™ and Pet Partners™. Headquartered in McLean, VA, Mars operates in more than 80 countries. The Mars Five Principles – Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency and Freedom – inspire our more than 125,000 Associates to take action every day to help create a world tomorrow in which the planet, its people and pets can thrive.
About the OECD
The OECD is an international organization that works to build better policies for better lives. Together with governments and civil society, it establishes standards and seeks evidence-based solutions to a range of social, economic and environmental challenges. The OECD website provides further information on the B4IG initiative and on its work on inequality and inclusive growth. Additional enquiries on OECD work on inclusive growth and for the G7 should be addressed to email@example.com, to firstname.lastname@example.org or to the OECD’s Media Office.
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