Countries without social protection often experience greater poverty and inequalities. Domestic demand is stifled, and then so is productivity and economic growth.
ILO/Statement: 18 October 2018/ Director General, ILO,: Director-General, Guy Ryder, calls on businesses to help make universal social protection a reality while addressing the fourth annual meeting of the ILO Global Business Network for Social Protection Floors, in Geneva. More than half of the world’s population lives without protection against life’s risks, said Guy Ryder. He added that“The ILO’s latest World Social Protection Report brings into stark relief what the human cost is. It means that 6 in 10 mothers would continue to have no maternity protection. It means 3 in 10 older persons will have no access to pensions or retirement. And it means 4 out of every 10 persons would have to continue living without any access to health services.”
What are the costs to enterprises and the people who work in enterprises? Without investment in national social protection systems and additional corporate social protection guarantees, workers’ well-being will suffer and this in turn will have negative effects on productivity.
Throughout the supply chain, many workers are living in countries that have less than adequate national social protection systems, thus receiving little to no coverage. Not taking action on guaranteeing a basic social protection floor for all workers can indeed open companies up to at least two types of risks. The risk of lower efficiency. And the reputational risk, that can potentially jeopardise all the positive work companies have been doing for so long to improve workers’ conditions along global supply chains.
To a large extent, lack of social protection systems translates also into missed opportunities for businesses.
But on the other hand the examples of many countries, such as China, show that investing in social protection can contribute to the development of a domestic demand for goods and services with all the knock-on effects that implies.
The ILO’s Global Flagship Programme on Building Social Protection Floors for All is about helping governments build national social protection systems and floors, bringing coverage to tens of millions and we hope, soon, hundreds of millions more people.