Improving people's health
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.
A framework for 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.
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.
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.
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.
Unlocking the power of investors
We benchmark and engage with investors to harness the power of investment for social and environmental progress.Find out more
Reforming the rules
We work with policy makers and regulators to drive the uptake of responsible investment across the UK and globally.Find out more
Building a movement
We educate and empower individuals on how they can use their money to build the future they want.Find out more