Increasingly, more and more corporations in private sectors are realising that they are having huge impacts on the social and population health of all stakeholders including employees, families and communities. Interested in the correlation between an array of business practices and the population health, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) partnered with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) to work on a research project named Culture of Health for Business (COH4B), hoping to better understand the basis for the means by which the private sector influences health and to identify the business practices that have discrete health and business impacts. This project aims to push the companies to think differently on how they can affect the population health and society.
The views on health, well-being and equality may vary in different places, but the definition used in this project is based on the global definition of health developed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) so it is applicable to everyone. Through extensive research, 16 Culture of Health Business Practices were identified that are particularly effective in influencing both health and business outcomes:
Measures and indicators are important for corporations to establish a culture of health for business. In the current environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting guidance, there are several traditional indicators such as health and safety, which are strong but not enough in covering the full scope of measures that are needed to support the widespread of adoption of culture of health. By incorporating the COH4B framework into the current reporting guidance, not only can it enhance their report content and reporting quality, but also help private sectors to holistically elevate their health issues and well-being. For instance, when using it during stakeholder engagement process, this tool can help corporations to identify and prioritise material topics, which in turn help the corporation to pay more attention and efforts on evaluating these specific health related issues. While it is not a requirement to include COH4B framework into the ESG/Sustainability report that is generated under both local and international reporting standards, this framework is flexible and it is up to the businesses how to interpret and incorporate it into their reporting. They can use this framework as a tool to create new business strategies or to validate their current business plans.
When this project started four years ago, there was no demand from the business side. Yet, with the social development and the change in public/investors’ expectation towards corporations, there are increasingly more private sectors realise the importance of these aspects such as the cost of health insurance, mental health issues, the lost of productivity, etc. Especially after this COVID-19 pandemic times, the businesses are starting to realise the value of how business health cultures can help with the resilience of the companies towards these kinds of significant events. COH4B framework is a real-time tool, which is practical and handy for business corporations to use beyond the times of pandemic.
GRI announces the Culture of Health for Business(COH4B) Task Force for US-based companies–https://www.globalreporting.org/information/news-and-press-center/Pages/Culture-of-Health-for-Business-Task-Force-announced.aspx
A Culture of Health for Business Guiding Principles to Establish a Culture of Health for Business-https://www.globalreporting.org/SiteCollectionDocuments/2019/GRI_RWJF_CultureofHealthforBusiness.pdf