SDG 3, health and well-being, at the center of the ESG Agenda

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that health comes first. The current scenario, two years after the start of COVID-19, has shown that health and well-being are a fundamental axis of the ESG Agenda. In this sense, they have become a central element of business and sustainable development strategies. This is shown by the “III Edition (2021-2022) the Health Footprint of companies”, a report prepared by the Forética Health and Sustainability Action Group.

The research was carried out with the aim of measuring the contribution of companies to the health and well-being of people and moving towards a greater impact, analyzing the importance for companies of implementing programs that ensure the highest standards of health, safety and well-being for employees – including mental health – in all operations and global value chains and, at the same time, expand access to basic preventive services in the workplace. The document states that, of the companies analyzed, 73% report specifically on SDG 3 and 67% had specific actions in 2021 aimed at protecting and caring for the health and safety, either of their workers, or going further, and also addressing the health of consumers and suppliers. In this sense, the study proposes three major fields in which organizations, as key players in the economy, are called upon to develop good business management. These areas are:

  1. Achieve safety and well-being for employees
  2. Promote healthy lifestyles among its clients and consumers through its offer of products and services
  3. Safeguard health and well-being in its operations and supply chains and the community at large.

1. Achieve safety and well-being for employees: The study addresses the impact of the company on the health of its employees. Once again, the idea that the pandemic caused by COVID-19 has reinforced the presence of health on the business agenda and has served as an accelerator for the implementation of programs focused on the health and well-being of the workforce is confirmed. Specifically, Forética experts explain that the job has a clear and direct influence on people’s health, and can provide many benefits, but also negative consequences. The implementation of initiatives to promote a healthy lifestyle, for example, through sports activities or healthy diets, policies to guarantee digital disconnection or promote mental health (70% of the companies in this index have initiatives of both types) or training in matters related to health, are just some examples of measures implemented by companies to promote an improvement in the health and well-being of their workers. In addition, the importance of mental health is observed, beyond physical health, companies give more and more importance to the mental health care of their workers. In 2021, 70% of the companies analyzed had some specific program on mental health for

2. Promote healthy lifestyles among its clients and consumers through its offer of products and services: On this aspect, the document refers to how, through the offer of their products and services, companies can have an impact on the health of those who consume them. According to research, consumers currently value the efforts of companies to offer a range of products and services that contribute to their well-being and promote healthier lifestyles, and up to 49% would be willing to pay more for a sustainable product .

3. Safeguard health and well-being in its operations and supply chains and the community in general: Finally, regarding this field, the document refers to the health and well-being of the employees of the supply chain, as well as of the people who live in the communities in which the company has an impact. In this sense, it is stated that guaranteeing adequate health and well-being conditions throughout the entire supply chain is a great challenge for companies, since it is the furthest point from their main activity and, therefore, the most difficult to control. Despite this, the report explains that there is a growing (and soon mandatory) trend on the part of companies to worry not only about having a responsible activity but also about going one step further, ensuring that their suppliers also act responsibly. social responsibility, guaranteeing the highest level of health, safety and respect for human rights in its factories.

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