IOSH has today launched a new global campaign to drive social sustainability forward, and is urging businesses to prioritise people as well as planet and profit to secure long-term prosperity.
Catch the Wave is a global movement to encourage businesses to have a much sharper focus on what it means to be a responsible, sustainable and resilient business built on solid financial, environmental, social and ethical principles.
The call comes as the Covid-19 pandemic, the rise of social justice movements and emerging global crises mean there is now more focus than ever on how businesses treat their workers, with investors and consumers paying close attention to how they make profit.
It is targeting the occupational safety and health profession as it is irrevocably linked to social sustainability. IOSH believes by viewing everything through a health and safety lens, a business can not only manage the risks to its workforce but also secure its long-term prosperity.
'Those with a stake in business are no longer interested solely in how it makes profit,' said Vanessa Harwood-Whitcher, IOSH chief executive. 'They want to understand how its profit-making affects people and the environment. They want to know how sustainable it is.
'Before they invest in a business, investors want assurance that it has a long-term plan for managing the skills, knowledge and experience that are integral to a sustainable business model. This can’t be captured in financial metrics alone.
'And we know consumers are watching too. Increasingly, they seek reassurance that the products they buy have been made in good working conditions and by people who are treated and paid well.'
Vanessa added: 'When discussing the corporate sustainability agenda, the environment has long been the central concern. But the time has come to put people alongside planet and profit, to unlock and unleash the tremendous value that lies in a business’s workforce.
'Businesses which set high standards for the treatment of their workforce, communities and supply chains are reaping the rewards with stronger performance and growth. This is no coincidence. Social sustainability is the backbone of resilience.
'We are calling on every business and organisation to join this global movement and demonstrate to their people, their customers and investors that they are taking social sustainability seriously. Essentially, they can #CatchtheWave with IOSH – or risk getting left behind.'
IOSH is working alongside international partners to make a long-term commitment to driving social sustainability forward. It has joined the UN Global Compact, along with more than 14,000 other organisations, all of whom are committing to align their operations with universal principles on human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption — and to take actions that advance societal goals.
The campaign launched at a live streamed event on LinkedIn earlier today and coincides with a new white paper, which covers more technical detail to support the health and safety profession. Download Harnessing the power of social sustainability here.
Further information on the campaign can be found at iosh.com/catchthewave