Business Fights Poverty Fortnightly Round-Up 

By Annabel Beales, Writer, Business Fights Poverty

As the world marked the anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, Business Fights Poverty launched its new programme on Climate Justice. As well as becoming environmentally sustainable, climate justice demands that equity and inclusion are front-and-centre in efforts to tackle the climate emergency. The content shared by our community this fortnight provides insights into work already underway. 

This month marked the anniversary of the WHO declaring the COVID-19 pandemic. This milestone presents an opportune moment to reflect on the devastating loss of life and opportunity that has been suffered – particularly by the world’s most vulnerable people. Alongside this, the anniversary has been a time for us to remember the countless acts of solidarity by organisations across all sectors.

Business Fights Poverty’s Business and COVID-19 Response Centre was established to support and guide businesses in their own response to the crisis. The shared learning from a year of deep conversation and focused action now provides the foundation for the next stage: how we can rebuild better together.

Central to this urgent task is the role of business in tackling the climate emergency; 2021 has been described as ‘a make or break year’. In the words of US Special Presidential Envoy John Kerry, this year’s UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, will be ‘the world’s last, most important opportunity’ to limit global warming below 2oC, in accordance with the Paris Agreement.

As things stand, there is a mountain to climb to hit this target, and – as we have seen with COVID-19 – it is those who are already most vulnerable who will have to bear the worst impacts of climate change.

So, with 215 days remaining before the start of COP26, Business Fights Poverty and our partners are launching a programme to crowdsource and share best practice on how business can ensure people are at the centre of climate action. This will culminate in our Climate Justice Summit in November 2021, to coincide with COP26. We hope you will all join us in this urgent mission.

For more information on how businesses can take action for climate justice, check out:

Of course, many businesses are already taking action on climate justice, and several of our articles published in the last fortnight provide insights into the valuable work that is underway:

  • The wonderfully titled ‘Unleash the Accountant Warriors’, provides seven things businesses need to get right as they work towards net zero carbon emissions, and looks at two simple ways in which Bayer are integrating sustainability into their remuneration frameworks.
  • In ‘It’s time to scale up regenerative agriculture’, explains how traditional and indigenous agricultural practices are pointing the way to ‘a conservation and rehabilitation approach to food production’, with insights from the work of Rainforest Alliance.

Climate justice is not solely about the establishment of sustainable environmental practices; it also prioritises social equity and inclusion. Many of our members are already making strides in this area, particularly in the realm of economic and financial inclusion:

Our content this fortnight also particularly highlights the need for economic inclusion of women and youth, who are often marginalised but who also have the capacity to catalyse transformative change.

For articles with a focus on supporting women:

  • Business Partnerships as a Force for Good’ provides a window into the work of Business Partnerships for Global Goals (BP4GG), a UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office programme managed by Mott MacDonald. Their vision is to leverage the power of business supply chains to enable 1 million vulnerable people – 50% of them women – to recover from the economic shocks of COVID-19. The article focuses on how their projects are impacting women working in the garments and agricultural industries.
  • A day in CottonConnect’s Women in Cotton programme’ explores the work of CottonConnect to improve the livelihoods of women farmers, showing ‘the tangible changes that can occur when businesses intentionally choose to put women at the centre of their Rebuild Better strategies.’
  • Women entrepreneurs make changing norms the new norm’ shares learnings from Ashoka’s Women’s Initiative for Social Entrepreneurship (WISE). Ashoka’s 2018 Global Impact Study showed that women social entrepreneurs are more likely to have a ‘deep impact’, challenge social and cultural norms through their work. The article suggests ways in which ‘success’ must be redefined to better recognise and support women’s potential as changemakers.
  • And do also listen to our latest Podcast with Rupa Dash, UN-Award Winning Media Entrepreneur turned philanthropist and Founder and CEO of World Woman Foundation, a global community of women leaders committed to scale and accelerate the impact of one million women and girls by 2030.

For insights into how business is empowering youth:

  • Over 300 practical tools to make your youth employment initiative a success’ provides information on a new digital resource of practical tools and resources, launched by Solutions for Youth Employment (S4YE), a global partnership led by the World Bank to tackle the problem of youth unemployment; an issue which has been exacerbated in the past year as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Building the next generation of responsible businesses and leaders’ raises the question of what can be done to ensure decent work, particularly in MSMEs that are headed up by young entrepreneurs in emerging markets. YBI’s pilot project in Bangladesh, supported by the IKEA Foundation and Catalystas Consulting, has developed training for entrepreneurs to equip them to incorporate decent work principles into their organisations.

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