Webinar: SDG8: Decent work and economic growth
Sustained and inclusive economic growth is necessary for achieving sustainable development. Increasing labour productivity, reducing the unemployment rate, especially for young people, and improving access to financial services and benefits are essential components of sustained and inclusive economic growth.
Over the past 25 years the number of workers living in extreme poverty has declined dramatically, despite the lasting impact of the 2008 economic crisis and global recession. In developing countries, the middle class now makes up more than 34 percent of total employment – a number that has almost tripled between 1991 and 2015.
The webinar provided information about measuring social impact of companies in regard to SDG8 and their integration in the business models. Speakers in the webinar were:
- Donato Calace introduced the SDG8 and its progress in 2018 with interesting statistics from Report of the Secretary-General The SDG Report 2018: (1) Labour productivity at the global level grew by 2.1% in 2017, what is fastest growth registered since 2010, (2) the global unemployment rate in 2017 was 5.6%, down from 6.4% in 2000, (3) Youth are 3 times more likely to be unemployed than adults, with the global youth unemployment rate at 13% in 2017.
- Victor Riega Garcia from insurance company Aviva and asset management, provided insight to modern slavery and supply chains. Around the world there are 40 million people under forced slavery, so there are many related risks like: doing business within immediate business operations with employed directly with the people that work in company’s buildings and are delivering services, and external risk related to suppliers and investments (how is the capital distributed in projects) so due diligence process and procurement practices are needed.
- Kevin Chuach from London Business School Research od SDG8, more specifically on relationship between investors with companies ESG issues and activism on the living wage. We got an insight on building coalitional power for labor rights between unions and (consumption-based) social movement organizations. According to the research made by Kim and Davis (2018), companies that excessively outsource and that are very geographically dispersed find a very difficult to certify the welfare conditions of their workers, so those companies should take more control and be more active in the monitoring the supply chain. Regarding the company’s pay practices and income inequality (Cobb, 2018) if companies would focus their evaluation by external comparison (how is an employee paid in competitive company) that would reach more inequality than just looking at the quality of output of the individual employee. One example where NGO/CSOs are turning shareholder activism to raise concerns about Living Wage is an organization ShareAction which buys shares in top companies and goes to Annual general meetings to ask questions about management and board of directors about things like the living wage.