Share Action

Improving people's health

Good health is an asset to society and the economy. For too long it’s taken a back-seat – we're working to change this.

A global health opportunity

Good health is important to us all, and to society. Not only that, but the health of populations is critical to defining our economic resilience and prosperity. The Covid-19 pandemic shone a spotlight on how vital a healthy population is. Yet millions of people's lives are limited by ill-health. Much of this is linked to avoidable risks such as unhealthy food options, excessive alcohol consumption, poor quality jobs and insecure housing – factors shaped by companies and their investors.

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, health inequalities were widening in many more economically developed countries, as for too long health factors have taken a back seat - including in investment decisions. Now is the time to change this. That’s why we’re working to build a programme for Long-term Investors in People’s Health (LIPH), to support the investment sector to consider health and and its wider determinants in their decision-making processes.

The role of the financial system

Better health could add US$12 trillion to global GDP in 2040, and see 120 million more full-time workers joining the global workforce.

70 million workdays are lost each year due to mental health problems in the UK, while employers investing in mental health saw a return of £5 for every £1 spent.

Obesity-related disease costs UK business £27 billion per year - while 73 per cent of consumers are willing to pay more for health products.

An estimated 15 million working age people die prematurely every year globally as a result of preventable poor health. Some 63 per cent of years lost to poor health are in the working age population.

Health themes

Workforce health

Healthy workplaces are a key determinant of health. They can influence our physical and mental wellbeing through the health-related benefits and practices available, and the way that jobs are designed. Important factors include equitable provision of parental and annual leave, sick pay, and in some countries, health insurance. Well-designed jobs that give workers control and autonomy are also important for health. Good worker health means reduced turnover and absenteeism, increased motivation and lower reputational risks.

Consumer health

As much as a third of all deaths worldwide are attributable to overconsumption of certain products – including alcohol, tobacco and food and drinks products. Health is heavily influenced by the actions of companies in these industries. With nearly one in five children now starting school either overweight or obese, the sales of high fat, high sugar products are in the spotlight. We’re working with investors to drive change in the food and drinks industry.

Community health

Companies have a role in shaping the environment through real estate and infrastructure developments, and can have a negative impact on human health. Pollution and other side effects from business activities can also impact our health. In the EU alone, exposure to air pollution is estimated to cost €109-157 billion. Antimicrobial resistance caused by the use of antibiotics in the food supply chain also poses a serious threat to society and the global economy.

Our Solutions

Unlocking the power of investors

We benchmark and engage with investors to harness the power of investment for social and environmental progress.

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Reforming the rules

We work with policy makers and regulators to drive the uptake of responsible investment across the UK and globally.

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Building a movement

We educate and empower individuals on how they can use their money to build the future they want.

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Building Long-Term Investors for People’s Health

We’re working with experts from public health, academia, government and the private sector to set a vision for an investment system that values health. We aim to identify key health-related topics for investors to integrate into their decision making process, and to become a recognised voice on stewardship and health.

Steering Committee

Kieron Boyle is Chief Executive of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation, one of the world’s oldest health endowments. He is a leading voice on urban health. He previously led the UK government’s work on impact investment. Kieron is on the Boards of the Design Council and Big Society Capital.

The Right Honourable Alan Milburn was an MP between 1992 and 2010 and served in Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Secretary of State for Health and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. In his post-politics life he has a successful business career advising corporate and government clients across the world. He is Chancellor of Lancaster University, Chair of the Social Mobility Foundation and a former Chair of the Commission on Social Mobility.

Alvise Munari is the Global Head of Client Coverage at MSCI and a member of MSCI’s Executive Committee. He oversees MSCI’s client business globally across all products and services. Before joining MSCI, he spent 20 years in the banking industry most recently at Morgan Stanley.

Catherine Howarth joined ShareAction as Chief Executive in 2008. ShareAction coordinates civil society activism to promote responsible investment across Europe. She is a member of HM Treasury’s asset management taskforce. She is a board member of the Scott Trust, owner of The Guardian, serving on the Scott Trust’s investment committee. Catherine was recognised by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader in 2014.

Dr Jennifer Dixon is chief executive of The Health Foundation, an independently endowed foundation which seeks to improve health and health care for the people of the UK. With a background in medicine and research, Jennifer is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, and a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. She was awarded a CBE for services to public health in 2013, and a Doctor of Science from Bristol University in 2016.

Professor Sir Michael Marmot is Director of the Institute of Health Equity (UCL Department of Epidemiology & Public Health). He is the author of The Health Gap: the challenge of an unequal world. Professor Marmot is the Advisor to the WHO Director-General, on social determinants of health. He conducted the Strategic Review of Health Inequalities in England post 2010, which published its report ‘Fair Society, Healthy Lives’ in February 2010. This was followed by Health Equity in England: Marmot Review 10 Years On and Build Back Fairer: the COVID-19 Marmot Review.

Michael Traill AM was founding CEO of Social Ventures Australia from 2002-14, after 15 years as a co-founder and Executive Director of Macquarie Group’s private equity arm. He currently holds a range of roles including as Chair of the A$4b Paul Ramsay Foundation; Executive Director of For Purpose Investment Partners and Investment Committee Chair of Sunsuper. He is a director of Sunsuper, MH Carnegie & Co, Hearts & Minds Investments and Australian Philanthropic Services. Michael is also Chair of the Federal Government Social Impact Investing Task Force and Adjunct Professor at the Centre for Social Impact at UNSW. He is the author of ‘Jumping Ship – From the world of corporate Australia to the heart of social investment’ which won the Ashurst Business Literature Prize. He holds a BA (Hons) from the University of Melbourne and an MBA from Harvard University.

Dr Rachel Melsom, MBBS consults on the interface of healthcare and investor-led finance. Collaborating with investors to deliver improved health outcomes whilst also meeting finance sector objectives, reframing financial objectives utilising innovative thinking and re-positioning to deliver the required outcomes and effect measurable change. She is also an NHS doctor.

A member of the ABI’s Executive Team, Yvonne Braun directs the ABI’s work on long-term savings. She also leads the ABI’s D&I programme, and the sector’s charitable £100m Covid-19 Support Fund. Yvonne is a member of the Government’s Industry Steering Group for the Pensions Dashboards Project, and a former trustee of Asthma UK.

Healthy Markets Initiative

Obesity is one of the biggest challenges facing society today - shaped by the food options available to us. We work with investors to urge food retailers and manufacturers to be at the forefront of the drive for healthier food options for all.

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