Business Leadership for an Inclusive Economy: A Framework for Collaboration and Impact

May 6, 2015 9:00 AM ET

We are living in an era marked by substantial gains in human well-being but also rising income inequality and persistent jobless growth. Coupled with climate change, achieving inclusive prosperity for 9 billion people without exceeding planetary boundaries is the defining challenge of the 21st century.

From the billion people expected to remain in extreme poverty, to demographic groups systematically excluded from economic participation and benefit, to the members of an increasingly vulnerable middle class—our economy is not working for everyone. Integrating these excluded groups into the economy—through good jobs, access to goods and services, and investments in their communities—is critical to maintaining and expanding economic growth and social progress. Inclusive growth is fundamental to prosperous and resilient businesses and societies.

Business has much to gain from more inclusive economic prosperity, through access to new markets, unleashing more innovation, and greater social stability so necessary for markets to function. Conversely, business has much to lose from an economy that fails to capitalize fully on human capital, constricts markets, and experiences sluggish demand.

We define an inclusive economy as one in which all individuals and communities are able to participate in, benefit from, and contribute to global and local economies. Businesses that promote an inclusive economy—through fair and safe employment that provides for strong livelihoods, access to essential products and services, and investments that enable communities to thrive—will reap significant benefits.  

Our new paper introduces BSR’s perspective on the business role in creating an inclusive economy. “Business Leadership for an Inclusive Economy: A Framework for Collaboration and Impact” outlines how business can drive economic inclusion by creating good jobs, increasing access to essential goods and services, and investing in local communities.


Join the conversation on Twitter at #BSRinclusion, and read our new report on the inclusive economy.