The world faces an unprecedented convergence of social and environmental challenges. COVID-19 continues to impact the lives, livelihoods and access to learning of the most vulnerable people. Unless action is taken now, these impacts will be long-lasting. At the same time, it is recognised that urgent action on climate change must put people at the centre of efforts on mitigation and adaptation. The transition to a green economy must also be a just one.
Across these challenges, the impacts reflect deep-seated inequities - due to factors including gender, race, and income. COVID-19 has pushed back progress on gender equity and poverty reduction, and climate change is doing the same. People from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds face disproportionate barriers.
While the challenges are unprecedented, so too are the opportunities to tackle them collaboratively. Business is now seen as a key partner, alongside government and civil society. Employees, customers, stakeholders and shareholders, believe business must take a stand on social and environmental issues. The focus is now on how we can collaborate - to tackle both rapid onset challenges and deeper systemic issues.