How business leadership can advance Goal 1 on No Poverty
Poverty is a violation of human dignity, and an obstacle to the realization of all other rights. Despite progress in recent years, the number of people living in extreme poverty globally remains unacceptably high. 2.2 billion people live on less than $2 (purchasing power parity) a day. Half of these individuals live in least developed countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Relative poverty, which considers an individual or household’s position relative to others in the society, is also a serious problem that affects both developed and developing countries. The effects of poverty are exacerbated by other forms of discrimination, including for women and persons with disabilities. Poverty eradication is central to the Global Goals, and achievement of all Goals is closely tied to the achievement of Goal 1. Poverty impedes the full participation of people in society and the economy. A society free from poverty is more peaceful, stable, innovative, and equal. Vitally, all business has a responsibility to prevent and address human and labour rights violations, and it should identify and avoid practices that perpetuate poverty traps. Business should respect fundamental human and labour rights; adopt responsible taxation practices; and ensure that end-to-end operations do not exacerbate poverty in any way. This includes providing decent work (work that is productive and delivers a living wage); security in the workplace; 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. Business should also adopt responsible taxation practices and should robustly assess whether its activities carry the risk of contributing to poverty, directly or indirectly. Useful tools for assessing such impacts include the UN Global Compact’s Poverty Footprint Tool. All companies are linked to global poverty, particularly through their supply chains, and have a responsibility to work towards eliminating negative impacts to the Goal.