Why the ‘decent work’ agenda is reshaping sustainability goals


The “Decent Work” agenda is not new. The International Labor Organization (ILO) has been promoting decent work standards since 1919, and we have come a long way since. The workplace today is safer and fairer, and employment has lifted millions out of extreme poverty and created a sizeable middle class in developing economies.

Here’s the definition the ILO uses:

Decent work sums up the aspirations of people in their working lives. It involves opportunities for work that is productive and delivers a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development and social integration, freedom for people to express their concerns, organize and participate in the decisions that affect their lives and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men.

Yet, the fact that Sustainable Development Goal 8 calls out “Decent Work and Economic Growth” as an area of focus is a helpful reminder of how much progress is still to be made on persistent issues, including unemployment, social mobility, and gender and wage inequalities.

At the same time, new norms, challenges and opportunities keep emerging. Companies increasingly need to act in response to new regulation and civil society expectations. Employee well-being, living wages, the gender pay gap and human rights are only a few of the complex social challenges companies are expected to tackle.

 As part of the “Targeting Value” research, we examined how corporate sustainability goals are addressing the evolving decent work agenda and its complex issues. To understand the landscape of goals that drive positive impact we examined the approaches of known leaders on the agenda and created a database of goals from the top 65 Fortune 500 companies from the energy, finance and food sectors.

We found that companies generally have some goals around decent work and labor standards that align with the ILO and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) agendas; however, the scope of issues addressed varies. The majority of companies in our sample have set goals that focus on:

  • Health and Safety — such as reduction of employee and contractor injuries and implementation of best practice or prevention culture.
  • Diversity — including gender equality, such as targets to achieve specific percentages of female employees at senior levels of company management or in the talent pool.
  • Employee Development, Training and Skills — that promote investments in existing and future talent through education and mentoring programs.

Alexandra Brill

Makalenin tam metni için: https://www.greenbiz.com/article/why-decent-work-agenda-reshaping-sustainability-goals

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