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Sustainable Success Starts with People: Embracing the Power of People Sustainability

As the 112th International Labour Organization Conference (ILC) concludes, it is clear that human capital is central to advancing sustainability. The global workplace has undergone a significant transformation in recent years, driven by the remote work revolution sparked by the coronavirus. While technology has been the highlight of this shift, human capital management policies have often lagged behind. With the pandemic and increased regulation placing additional pressure on companies to prioritize sustainability, organizations need to identify the desires and objectives of workers across their supply chain to develop an effective strategy for long-term sustainability. As a result, the concept of "People Sustainability" has emerged as a crucial consideration in this evolving landscape.


People Sustainability represents the intersection of employee engagement and corporate sustainability. It is an approach that focuses on integrating employee well-being, engagement, and development with corporate sustainability practices. People Sustainability recognizes that the workforce is at the core of an organization's success and that its well-being and fulfillment are essential for achieving long-term sustainability goals. As such, it strives to create a work environment that supports six key pillars—highlighted by the World Economic Forum as crucial: physical and mental well-being, engagement, diversity and inclusion, learning and development, safety, and resilience.


Prioritizing People Sustainability requires organizations to consider the policies and experiences of workforce across their entire value chain. This includes not only their employees but also those of their suppliers and the workers in the communities they operate in. One of the critical challenges facing businesses is the projected global shortage of skilled workers, which is expected to result in the unfulfilled demand for around 85 million jobs by 2030, as per data from the International Labour Organization. To address this issue, organizations can focus on upskilling and reskilling their employees. Skills such as digital literacy, data analysis, critical thinking, adaptability, and innovation have emerged as crucial in today's rapidly evolving business environment. By providing training and development opportunities, businesses can ensure their employees have the necessary skills and knowledge to adapt and grow as the business landscape evolves.


Governments and regulatory bodies increasingly require companies to take accountability for treating workers across their supply chains. The German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act, set to come into effect in 2023, is a notable example of such regulations. This act mandates companies to conduct due diligence throughout their supply chains, ensuring compliance with fundamental human rights standards and prohibiting child and forced labor. To meet these growing expectations, companies can leverage technology to gain better visibility into their supply chains. This allows them to monitor and assess working conditions, human rights practices, and environmental impacts associated with their suppliers by collecting data on factors like energy consumption, waste management, and emissions. Technology also facilitates the monitoring and evaluating working conditions and human rights practices within supply chains, allowing companies to identify potential risks and take necessary actions.

Businesses are undergoing transformations to become more sustainable, recognizing that humans are central to any successful change process. The ILC 2024 aims to uplift the well-being of labor, recognizing that human capital is one of the most valuable assets for organizations. To achieve sustainable growth, organizations should prioritize supporting and enhancing the lives of their workforce. Whether it involves organizational restructuring, technological advancements, or sustainability initiatives, the active involvement of workers is crucial for implementation. Through adopting the People Sustainability approach, organizations are better equipped to deliver on their sustainability goals.


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