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OECD Secretary-General

Putting Business at the Heart of Inclusive Growth: Launch of OECD Dialogue on Inclusive Business

 

Remarks by Angel Gurría,

Secretary-General, OECD

OECD, Paris, 15 November 2016

(as prepared for delivery) 

 

 

State Secretary Pogačar, Chairman Furman, Ambassadors, Business Leaders, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

It is a great honour to join you here for the launch of the OECD Dialogue on Inclusive Business. I would like to thank Ambassador Yohannes and the Group of Friends of Inclusive Growth for making this possible.

 

A unique opportunity to put inclusive growth into action

 

Today, we are embarking upon a new phase of our work on inclusive growth.

 

This event marks a great opportunity for the OECD and our Member countries to forge an operational partnership with the innovators and drivers of economic success – business. By joining forces we can disseminate the results of our research across new fora and redouble our common efforts to put policies to promote inclusive growth into action.

 

But this discussion also marks a fantastic opportunity for business!

 

Businesses have been at the sharp end in recent years, as our economies and our societies have struggled in a context of low growth, slowing productivity and rising inequalities.

 

We’ve all heard the numbers before, but they bear repeating: growth in the OECD will come in at just under 1.8% this year, whilst aggregate labour productivity gains halved from 1.8% between 2001-2007 to just 0.9% between 2009-2014. At the same time, runaway inequality has seen the top 10% in the OECD come to earn 9.5 times the bottom 10%, up from just 7 times 30 years ago. 

 

This is bad for business and bad for people. Yet it is no coincidence that we have been beset by all of these ills at once. They are mutually reinforcing. If we want to put our economies back in the fast lane, then we need to make tackling inequalities a key pillar of efforts to reinvigorate growth. Business is absolutely crucial to this process and stands to be a chief beneficiary.

 

Business is an essential part of the inclusive growth puzzle

 

Our recent report on the Productivity-Inclusiveness Nexus underlines that a robust economy and an inclusive economy are co-dependent. You cannot have one without the other. It produced extensive evidence to show the valuable contribution of greater equality to growth and the overwhelmingly positive impact of high quality jobs on productivity.

 

More broadly, our work has shown that:
 

  • If businesses are to benefit from their most valuable resource – workers –, maintain strong demand for their products and services, and avoid the potentially damaging political fallout from rising inequalities;
     
  • Then comprehensive investment in people’s skills – via on-the-job training and apprenticeships – responsible business conduct, and fair tax practices cannot be solely a matter of charitable behaviour or good public relations.
     
  • They are absolutely essential to ensuring that businesses and broader society can prosper! 

 

Next steps for the Inclusive Business Dialogue

 

Many business leaders, including those gathered here today understand this. And you are already forging a path towards more inclusive growth. Yet, as I have intimated, we can be stronger together. In part, that is what today’s discussions are about: looking at how we can support each other and informing where we go next. From our perspective, I would like to hear practically how the OECD can best help you. We already have a lot for you to draw on: from Our All on Board for Inclusive Growth initiative to the work we are doing on fair tax practices like Base Erosion and Profit Shiting (BEPS) and Automatic Echange of Information (AEoI), to our work on Responsible Business Conduct and Guidelines for MNEs. You can count on the OECD.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, if we are to rise to the challenge of promoting stronger growth then this can only be through ensuring that all people and firms are empowered to drive, and benefit from, greater economic prosperity. Getting this right will demand that governments, civil society and business work together. You can make inclusive growth a reality and we will champion your cause!

 

Thank you.

 

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