Healthy people, healthy business

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed health and wellbeing at the forefront of the global agenda, revealing an urgent need to strengthen healthcare systems and build capacity and preparedness for health emergencies as well as routine care. The pandemic has also underlined inequalities, raising significant questions around access to healthcare and healthy lifestyles for the most vulnerable in our societies. Meanwhile, environmental disruptions such as the climate crisis and nature loss, are compounding health concerns. Against this backdrop, WBCSD’s Healthy People, Healthy Business project explores how businesses can play a pivotal role in supporting the long-term promotion of health and wellbeing.

    The challenge

    The world is falling critically short of many of the Sustainable Development Goals’ health-related targets, from the delivery of universal health coverage to ambitions to end epidemics such as AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis and to reduce premature mortality from non-communicable diseases by 2030. COVID-19 is throwing progress on global health and wellbeing even further off track. Over three million people have now lost their lives to the disease, while the physical and mental collateral health impacts of the pandemic also look set to have devastating consequences.

    The business case

    Poor health represents a burden not only to those who suffer directly, but also to the economy at large. The business case for supporting health and wellbeing is undeniable. By recognizing and working to improve their impacts on health and wellbeing among their own employees and across global value chains, businesses can help to foster and benefit from a more robust economy and marketplace, a healthier, happier and more productive workforce, and more resilient supply chains.

    The solution

    WBCSD’s Healthy People, Healthy Business project is building a cross-sectoral coalition to identify private sector priorities and opportunities to drive progress on health promotion and disease prevention. Specifically, we maintain four key focus areas: 

    • Employee health and wellbeing: Promoting corporate initiatives and behaviors that foster the health and wellbeing of employees throughout organizations and value chains.
    • Resilient and accessible healthcare: Clearly articulating how multiple sectors can contribute to more resilient and universally accessible healthcare.
    • Healthy lifestyles: Identifying critical barriers to healthy lifestyles and exploring business solutions to overcoming them.
    • Planetary health: Working with the scientific community to develop a compelling business narrative around the health-related implications of the planetary emergency.

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