Agropur, Longueuil, Quebec, said it is among a coalition of 34 international companies that have committed to the G7 Business for Inclusive Growth (B4IG) coalition. The coalition, to be launched in connection with the G7 Leaders' Summit in Biarritz, France, is sponsored by French President Emmanuel Macron, spearheaded by Danone and coordinated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The companies are stepping up business action to advance human rights throughout their value chains, build inclusive workplaces and strengthen inclusion in their internal and external business ecosystems, Agropur said. In doing so, they will advance G7 government-led efforts to strengthen equality of opportunity, tackle regional disadvantages and fight gender discrimination.
B4IG members have a global footprint, cover a broad range of sectors, employ more than 3.5 million people around the world and have combined annual revenues of over $1 trillion USD, Agropur said. The B4IG coalition is the first business-led initiative of its kind, thanks to its 360-degree approach to tackling inequality, international dimension and multi-stakeholder approach focused on building synergies among companies, governments and philanthropic organizations.
Agropur said the coalition's strategy rests on three pillars:
- A business pledge against inequalities to advance human rights, workplace inclusion and diversity, and value chain inclusiveness.
- An incubator to design or expand new inclusive business models, piloting social innovation and private-public collaboration at the micro-economic level.
- An inclusive growth financing forum to promote innovative financing mechanisms among business, governments and philanthropic actors.
OECD’s work has shown that inequalities hamper growth and social mobility. The coalition will benefit from OECD's economic and social evaluation expertise as it advances on this agenda over the next three years, Agropur said. Progress and lessons learned will be shared during an annual board meeting, with CEOs and key figures from public and civil society sectors.
"We are very pleased to be part of the B4IG coalition and contribute, with our unique business model based on cooperative values, to the necessary shift towards more inclusive growth,” said Robert Coallier, CEO of Agropur. “We believe we can generate positive social impacts by helping to build a stronger, more inclusive workplace and rural communities. These are important steps towards a more sustainable future, a vision that is embraced by our members and in line with our promise: ‘Better Dairy, Better World.’”
Agropur said it has brought Olo Foundation's 1,000 First Days of Life in the B4IG incubator. This project supports families in need to ensure babies are born healthy and to promote the development of sound eating habits in early childhood.
Working hand in hand with social service providers, Agropur and Olo's partnership allows pregnant mothers to take, every day, one egg, 1 liter of milk, one glass of orange juice and a prenatal supplement of vitamins and minerals. By providing protein, calcium and vitamins C and D, the initiative helps reduce the risk of babies having a low birth weight by 1.6 times, Agropur said. The nutritional intervention has the potential to reduce inequalities by improving the health of children living in economically precarious situations. To date, 250,000 families have benefited from this intervention, which has been active for more than 20 years.