Here's How All of Us Can Live Long and Prosper
When there’s widespread access to food, finance, and technology, everyone can prosper.
Full bellies. Educated minds. Enough income to pay the bills, and some money left over, too. Could every person around the world have this? The United Nations thinks so.
And we think so, too.
This isn’t just wishful thinking, it’s a concrete goal. As part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), the United Nations challenged both the public and private sectors in member countries to tackle poverty, hunger, and economic inequality by 2030.
The objective is simple: When resources are shared and basic needs are covered, people feel secure, have the means to get out of poverty, and can then reach their full potential.
And when everyone is able to reach their full potential, that can lead to a world where shared prosperity isn’t just a goal, but our day-to-day reality.
Here at COIN, we think of shared prosperity as increasing access to financing, food, and economic opportunities. But what does shared prosperity actually look like?
We think it’s living wages for every employee, no matter the industry.
It’s being able to shop for fresh, affordable groceries on the way home.
It’s a first-time entrepreneur getting approved for a small business loan.
And if this happens everywhere, we won’t just have strong communities. We’ll have strong and thriving populations.
We know that meeting these challenges will be hard. But we can do it, and all of us can play a part.
How? We can get involved at work, with our managers and HR, to ensure our workplace policies provide fair wages, good benefits, and advancement opportunities for all employees. We can advocate for change with our local and state leaders, and then vote for initiatives that increase access to tech, fresh food, and financing. We can volunteer our time with organizations dedicated to building strong communities.
And there’s another powerful way we can support shared prosperity for all. We can invest consciously in companies that are working to help everyone grow and thrive.
How You Can Support Shared Prosperity
Investing isn’t just a means to build your financial future. It can also be a way to make a positive impact toward the causes you care about, and an effective method of communicating your values. So, when you decide to invest in shared prosperity, it means your investment dollars will support companies that are stepping up to address poverty, hunger, and economic inequality around the world. For example, this could be a company that regularly donates food to needy families in its home communities, or one that partners with local organizations for nutrition education programs. Or, your investments could go to businesses that build out technology infrastructure in underserved areas, or corporations that make low-interest loans to first-time business owners.
Additionally, investing in shared prosperity means your money won’t go to companies that drive out small businesses from their communities, or corporations that don’t partner with local entrepreneurs or minority-owned businesses.
By investing consciously, we show businesses leaders that their actions impact whether we decide to invest with them. So, this means executives will understand that if their companies tackle hunger, poverty, and economic inequality, they’ll get our investments. Those that don’t address these issues, or even make these problems worse, won’t get our investment dollars.
When many of us invest together, with the same goal of shared prosperity, the message to corporate leaders comes through loud and clear: Building a better world makes good business sense. When there’s widespread access to food, finance, and technology, everyone can prosper, especially the companies that help to make a difference.
Which Companies are Committed to Shared Prosperity?
Check out how the following companies are working to reduce poverty, hunger, and inequality:
- General Mills: By 2020, General Mills wants to get rid of food deserts in at least four company neighborhoods. (If you’re not familiar with the term “food desert”, it simply means a neighborhood where it’s difficult to buy affordable fresh and healthy food.) So far, they’ve set up food access programs in Buffalo and Minneapolis.
- Hormel Foods: In 2017, Hormel donated $7.8 million in cash and products to fight hunger, support education, and develop thriving communities.
- Huntington Bancshares Incorporated: This Ohio-based bank holding company has a five-year goal to lend $6.6 billion to small businesses in low- to moderate income areas.
How Can Your Investments Help Ensure Shared Prosperity?
If you want to learn more about how your investments can help everyone thrive, check out COIN’s Shared Prosperity Impact Area, which includes companies that are making positive change in fighting poverty and ending economic inequality. By investing consciously in shared prosperity, your investments can go to corporations working to ensure no child goes to bed hungry, or companies that are more committed to paying living wages across its workforce.
At the same time, your money won’t be invested in companies with policies that continue with the status quo, like corporations that ignore disadvantaged groups in their communities.
If we all make investments to support shared prosperity, the combined impact could be huge. Take it from the World Bank, which notes that “inequality is not an inevitable consequence of economic growth. In fact, long-term growth and social stability are two important reasons to focus on equity.”
In other words, the World Bank experts are saying that wherever people share their wealth and resources, those places will have better economies and healthier societies.
Let’s start investing to make it happen.