Business & Human Rights


Inequality within and among nations continues to be a significant concern despite progress in and efforts at narrowing disparities of opportunity, income and power.

Businesses should uphold the elimination of discrimination in respect to employment and occupation. That said, despite many Australian businesses implementing progressive diversity and inclusion policies and strategies, Australia is not on track to achieving SDG 5 — Gender Equality and SDG 10 — Reduced Inequalities by 2030. This is evident by:

  • The ‘Sustainable Development Report’ highlighting that, in Australia, the difference in the share of wealth/income held by the top 10 percent compared to that of the bottom 40 percent has increased.[1]
  • The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2020 noting that, at the current rate, it will take another 257 years to close the economic participation and opportunity gap between men and women.
  • The ‘Closing the Gap Report’ (2020) found that Australia is overwhelmingly falling short in our national efforts to reduce the inequalities experienced by indigenous Australians.[2]

Business policies and strategies are not enough. Investors, employees, and consumers want more than just inclusion policies from business. They want to see a fundamental shift in company culture that promotes an authentic, diverse and inclusive environment.

There is an urgency and demand for change across all corners of society to ensure that people are empowered, feel valued and can thrive in their respective environments. It’s time to accelerate action that supports a more diverse and inclusive workforce, and businesses will play a fundamental role in shaping this new reality.

[1] Sachs, J., Schmidt-Traub, G., Kroll, C., Lafortune, G., Fuller, G. (2019) Sustainable Development Report 2019. Bertelsmann Stiftung and Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). Available at: https://sdgindex.org/reports/sustainable-development-report-2019/

[2] Australian Government (2020) Closing the Gap Report 2020. Available at: https://ctgreport.niaa.gov.au/.

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The Global Compact Network Australia will convene a series of related events across 2020. If you are interested in participating contact: secretariat@unglobalcompact.org.au.

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