As part of Business Fights Poverty NYC Online 2020, Business Fights Poverty and AB InBev are convening a webinar and online peer discussion to explore opportunities, challenges and collaborative solutions as we rebuild better from COVID-19.
The webinar will take place on Monday, 21 September at 8.30 – 9.30am EDT / 1.30 – 2.30pm BST, followed by 30 minutes Peer Discussion ending at 10.00am EDT / 3.00PM BST.
Register here to attend.
Far from acting as the “Great Leveller” as some initially claimed, the COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on the structural inequalities and fragilities that are ingrained in our current systems – in our economies, social security and health care systems, in food production, education, sanitation, access to the internet and digital services, and much more.
As a result of these inequalities, the pandemic has disproportionately impacted the most vulnerable – women and girls; older people and youth; Black and Minority Ethnic individuals; indigenous peoples; those from developing economies or in informal employment; and those with disabilities and underlying health conditions. Meanwhile, this year has also brought increasingly urgent warnings on the climate emergency and vehement calls for racial justice from the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd.
It is no wonder that the events of 2020 have caused many of us to pause and consider the direction that our lives are taking – both individually and collectively.
A Global Conversation on Building the Future We Want
From September 15th, the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly will bring together world leaders to discuss global challenges and to make progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. For the first time, the General Assembly will take place online, allowing more people than ever before to take part in what the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, has called the “largest global conversation ever on building the future we want”.
To rebuild better, everyone must be part of the conversation, and must play their part. So far this year, we have seen an unprecedented mobilisation of all sectors of society to protect the lives, livelihoods and learning of billions of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people from the pandemic. In the face of a common threat, we have witnessed a groundswell of human resilience, solidarity and ingenuity at the international, national and community level that provides hope for a better way forward.
Drawing on the Collective Experience of the Business Fights Poverty Community
Business Fights Poverty is founded on the potential of purpose-led business to be a force for good, and in the power of cross-sectoral collaboration to achieve transformational change.
In our first session of Business Fights Poverty NYC Online 2020, we will co-host a webinar and peer discussion to bring the collective experience and knowledge of our community to bear on the most pressing question of all – what kind of future do we want, and how can we work together to make it happen?
The session will draw on Business Fights Poverty’s work over the last few months to support business in responding to the short-term and long-term impacts of COVID-19:
- The Business and COVID-19 Response Framework, jointly published in March 2020 by Business Fights Poverty and the Harvard Kennedy School Corporate Responsibility Initiative. The Response Framework sets out guidance for how businesses can take immediate action to support the most vulnerable across three areas of impact: in their lives (health and safety), livelihoods (jobs and incomes) and learning (education and skills). It sets out actions that businesses can take in these three areas through their core business capabilities and activities, philanthropic donations and volunteering, and policy engagement, advocacy, and support for institution strengthening. An accompanying Action Mapping Tool sets out over 300 examples – including from AB InBev and Bayer.
- The Rebuild Better Framework, which followed on from the Response Framework, looks beyond the immediate “respond” phase, at what actions business can take next in the near term to help individuals, enterprises and communities “recover” – to get back on their feet – and ultimately to “rebuild better”. With this final phase comes the opportunity to be ambitious and enable those people who have faced the most severe social and economic impacts to thrive, and at a deeper level, to create a future that is more inclusive and resilient.
- Mining as a Partner in Supporting More Inclusive and Resilient Societies explores how to apply the Rebuild Better Framework in the context of the Mining Industry. It was published in September 2020, together with the International Council on Mining and Metals and The Partnering Initiative. It provides practical tools and resources for use by the mining industry and other sectors to help guide them through the initial stages of the pandemic and to lay the pathway for building forward to a more resilient future post-COVID-19.
Meanwhile, we will learn from the experience of many other organisations in our network, who have been making their own invaluable contributions to the response effort. For example:
- WBCSD, as part of its Vision 2050, has produced a framework to think about the post-COVID world. This identifies 9 business pathways to a post-COVID world, all aligned with the Paris Agreement and the SDGs (energy, products & materials, living spaces, mobility and transformation, connectivity, finance, health & wellbeing, water & sanitation, and food) and presents the critical and complex systems transformations that are needed.
- Multinational companies such as our event co-host ABinBev – the world’s largest brewer – have leveraged their own resources and networks to support their customers, consumers and people in their workforce, value chains and local communities. ABinBev has converted brewing facilities to provide over 1 million bottles of hand sanitiser and donated masks to front line workers; donated water for drinking and irrigation; worked with partners to build a new hospital annex in São Paulo, Brazil in just 35 days, set up a new free digital platform for online ordering and delivery service, Tienda Cerca, to help small neighborhood grocers and shops to stay open in Mexico and Colombia; and developed initiatives to financially support local bars and restaurants during lockdown.
By bringing together insights from across the network, we can begin to imagine what a new normal could look like, and to take tangible steps towards a future that is both equitable and resilient.
“No one can solve today’s challenges alone; partnerships and collaboration are essential. Businesses can draw learnings from around the world and apply them in the areas that need it most. As we build back to what we hope will be a better world, it will be critical to develop a set of international tools and support to successfully recover business. We need to take a collective action towards the solution of this global crisis and rebuild together and better.”
Catalina Garcia, Global Director of Corporate Affairs, AB InBev
How Can I Find Out More?
Please join us for the online webinar on Monday, 21 September at 8.30 – 9.30am EDT / 1.30 – 2.30pm BST, followed by 30 minutes Peer Discussion ending at 10.00am EDT / 3:00pm BST.
This session will address the following questions:
- As we start to think about rebuilding better towards the future we want – what are they key challenges and opportunities?
- What are some tangible examples of what business can practically do, and what should they stop doing?
- How can we strengthen business, government and civil society partnerships to build the future we want?
We look forward to seeing you there.
This online event on the Future We Want is part of Business Fights Poverty NYC Online 2020, a one-week, online conference (21 to 25 September) that builds on our recent online conference Business Fights Poverty Online 2020 (13 to 17 July) to drive forward connection, conversations and collaboration around how we rebuild better – how together we create an equitable and resilient world.
The week consists of inspiring and engaging content, live events, peer networking and community-led learning. The week also builds on our Business and COVID-19 Response with Harvard Kennedy School Corporate Responsibility Initiative, and supported by DFID and a number of our corporate partners.
Each day, we will focus on a specific theme: Imagining the Future We Want (Monday); Creating an Equitable World (Tuesday); Helping People Survive and Thrive (Wednesday); Building Resilient Livelihoods (Thursday); Shaping System-Level Partnerships (Friday).
The conference Headline Supporter is Visa and AB InBev. Our Supporting Partners are Mars, Nestlé, Anglo American, Walmart and Standard Chartered. Content partners include Harvard Kennedy School Corporate Responsibility Initiative, the UN Office for Partnerships, WBCSD, Business in the Community, The Partnering Initiative and the League of Intrapreneurs.