Transcript of Video Message by Angel Gurría
19 May 2020 - Paris, OECD
(As prepared for delivery)
Welcome to the 8th edition of the Global Forum on Responsible Business Conduct
Let me thank all of you for joining us. I would also like to thank the European Commission for continuing to support the OECD’s work on RBC, in particular, the Trade Commissioner, Mr. Phil Hogan, for joining us today. Your participation and the presence of so many leaders and experts, from public and private sectors, as well as civil society and international organisations, shows the strength of our shared commitment to promoting responsible business.
Today’s conversation will focus on how an RBC approach can help governments and businesses address the COVID-19 challenges in order to contribute to long-term value creation. We will also discuss how RBC can contribute to better preparation and resilience in the face of future crises.
We are currently facing one of the biggest health and economic crises in history. It is costing many lives, and threatening the stability of our democracies, our economies and our societies, with developing countries likely to be hit the hardest. It is estimated that up to 35 million additional people could be in ‘working poverty’ worldwide as a result of COVID-19.
Governments will play a crucial role in supporting and reshaping the economy for years to come. Companies will have to rethink and redesign their operations and supply chains. This provides new opportunities to emphasise commitments to responsible business conduct and further mainstream the uptake of RBC standards and tools into company operations.
Our Business for Inclusive Growth (B4IG) initiative is helping to bring together governments and businesses to better link public policies and business practices for inclusive growth and to accelerate on-the-ground initiatives that bring concrete results for people and places left behind.
As we will hear today, adopting a responsible business conduct approach in our responses to the crisis can generate both short-term as well as long-term benefits, such as increased resilience, a fairer and more inclusive distribution of benefits from public funds going into supporting business recovery, and a stronger contribution to inclusive growth and sustainable development.
I look forward to delving into all of these issues during today’s meeting. I also invite you to join us again on 17 June, a second part of this year’s Global Forum, with a focus on remedy to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the OECD National Contact Points.
Count on the OECD to work with you and for you to leverage responsible business conduct to tackle this crisis and build a better, more inclusive and sustainable post-COVID world.