How to WIN with Business: The Role of Business in Supporting a Thriving and Just World
This collection is brought to you in partnership with the Well Being In the Nation Network (WIN Network). The Role of Business in Supporting a Thriving and Just World is a case study series developed by WIN with Business, a cooperative of the WIN Network.
The Role of Business in Supporting a Thriving and Just World is a series of briefs coauthored by business leaders about the role of business in ensuring the vital conditions for everyone to thrive.
The briefs are designed for business leaders, local economic development professionals, public health practitioners and other community advocates to advance our understanding about the role of business in shaping a thriving and just world, and to share key actions and examples from businesses that are leading the charge.
The WIN with Business Framework provides an organizational structure for the briefs which are presented by vital community condition for health and well-being.
WIN with Business Framework
The WIN with Business Framework is a simple way through which to consider how businesses contribute to thriving people and places, and a just society. This contribution happens in three areas: 1) the well-being of people; 2) the well-being of places; and 3) equity and racial justice.
Well-being of people
Businesses can align their cultures and environments to support the well-being of the people they directly or indirectly reach. This can include employees, families, supply chain workers, and customers. Employee benefits, workplace policies, practices, programs, and for some businesses, even products, can all be aligned.
Well-being of places
Businesses can become community stewards to enhance the well-being of places. They can work with local governments and community partners to improve vital conditions in places where their employees live, work, and play.
Equity and racial justice
Businesses can apply a strategic focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion. They can help improve the essential conditions for racial and economic justice. This means creating equitable products, programs, policies, and systems to advance the well-being of people and places that have inequitable outcomes.
Strategic action in these areas can provide new opportunities, open new markets, deepen relationships, and create a just and thriving business. Businesses can also embrace a wider ecosystem role. Being in a thriving world means that while some actions might not immediately lead to business’ well-being, everyone benefits in the long run from a thriving, just, and stable society.
Advancing Vital Community Conditions
This brief examines how business can improve access to healthy and affordable food for employees, customers, and people and in the places where they operate. There are many ways that businesses can improve access to healthy food for their employees, families, customers, and communities. They can pay employees a living wage, improve the food environment in workplaces, open grocery stores in underserved areas, fund healthy food programs, partner with groups to improve local food systems, and support policies that promote access to healthy foods.
This brief identifies how businesses can support equitable access to affordable, stable, and humane housing through approaches that help increase supply and access to affordable and humane housing for people and places. Specifically, businesses can help improve employees' access to humane housing by paying a living wage, investing in Community Land Trusts or Land Banks, helping employees access low or no interest loans, and providing support with transportation.
Meaningful Work and Wealth
Meaningful work and wealth is valuable to both employees and businesses, since people who have meaningful work often have higher job satisfaction, productivity, innovation, and loyalty. This brief describes how business can create prospects for meaningful work and wealth for people and in places. They can help improve equitable access to meaningful work and wealth through persistent attention to policies that create wealth, such as conducting living wage and pay equity audits, offering retirement accounts, providing child and elder care assistance, providing comprehensive healthcare and leave benefits for all employees, and helping employees understand how their work contributes to their personal values and purpose.
Basic Needs for Safety
This brief focuses on how businesses can address our basic need for safety. It presents ways to promote safe worksite practices and healthy working conditions for employees, such as ensuring safe worksite practices, providing personal protective equipment, ensuring healthy air, providing support for safe working conditions at home, fostering trusting relationships, and providing support for mental health and well-being. The brief also discusses how business can help create safe, healthy, connected communities for everyone, especially for people and places that are not thriving with a focus on racial justice.
Thriving Natural World
Businesses can enrich the lives of people, enhance community well-being, and ensure a healthy natural environment. Specifically, they can promote a thriving natural world by bringing nature into the workplace, providing employees access to natural light and clean water, creating green spaces, ensuring that business practices are sustainable, reducing carbon emissions, and requiring suppliers throughout the supply chain to minimize environmental harm. It is vital to ensure that operations, products, and services protect our natural world and lift up people with low-incomes and communities of color.
This brief focuses on how businesses can improve access to safe, efficient, and reliable transportation. Providing solutions to people, improving how we can move around in places, and promoting equitable policies and transportation systems is core to economic growth. Better access to a business makes it more attractive to both employees and customers. Businesses can support reliable transportation by offering pre-tax transit benefits for employees, encouraging carpooling, allowing teleworking, locating offices near transit stops, schools, grocery stores, and affordable housing, ensuring home Internet access, and advocating for more public spending on public transportation infrastructure.
A CEO Blueprint
In the wake of year 2020, the stark disparities in health, social, and economic outcomes have been highlighted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the many incidences of police violence that sparked Black Lives Matter movements. Many corporations have taken steps against racial inequity by condemning structural racism, setting diversity and inclusion goals, facilitating civic engagement, and advocating for criminal justice reform. However, more action is needed to promote racial equity. PolicyLink’s A CEO Blueprint helps CEOs and leaders of companies understand and address the intended and unintended consequences of all their products, policies, and practices on people of color. The blueprint provides actions in three key domains: 1) inside the company, 2) within the communities where the companies are headquartered and conduct business, and 3) at the broader societal level.
Where will you go from here?
Core to the approaches described here is that the role of business is not just to increase profits. According to the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, it is also to do good – to support well-being of people, ensure the well-being of places, and lobby for equitable policies and systems. There are as many ways to make a difference as there are companies and communities. Your approach should reflect your context, and the strengths of your people, products, and business model.
Ideal solutions reflect a strategic and systemic response driven by a deep understanding of the connections among the many issues that influence our health and well-being. How will you start to make a difference?