According to the UN’s Expert Group on Promoting Social Integration, an inclusive society puts aside differences of race, gender, class, generation and geography, and instead focuses on inclusion and equality of opportunity. Equally important is enabling all members of society to help determine a set of social institutions that govern how that society is managed, ordered and represented.

In an inclusive society everyone feels they belong and have a stake. Individuals co-operate at all levels of society to achieve collective goals. People feel empowered to both enjoy the benefits of society and to contribute to it.

The individual benefits of an inclusive society include:

  • Dignity, respect and a sense of self-worth
  • Confidence, positive self-expression, participation, giving as well as receiving and empowerment
  • Independence, self-determination, freedom of choice, decision and action

Wider societal benefits include:

  • A positive link between democracy and life satisfaction
  • Membership of organisations increases life satisfaction
  • Trust with other members of society and with key public institutions, is shown to be highly correlated with life satisfaction88
  • A greater pool of knowledge, by drawing on the expertise and skills of a vast part of society
  • More equality, with the advantages highlighted earlier in this report (p 12)


An inclusive society would have:

  • Equal access to public services, in particular health and education
  • Transparency of government decision making, including financial modelling and access to public information
  • Active citizen participation in the decision making processes, including civic, social, economic and political activities that affect their lives.

  • A strong civil society to make public policies and institutions accountable.
  • Forums to protect and promote basic human rights
  • An acceptance and appreciation of cultural diversity
  • Democratic representation through high election turn-out89


  • Greater diversity of ideas to address the challenges we face and the opportunities that present themselves

  • Greater competitiveness, leading to new opportunities
  • More stability in society as people feel involved and included



Inclusivity can deliver benefits to business, such as:

  • Greater trust between business and stakeholders
  • Greater awareness of stakeholder perspectives and ability to influence through proactive engagement
  • Access to a greater talent pool through recruitment outside the usual channels
  • Enhanced learning and development opportunities

How can business help create an inclusive economy?

  • Commit to full transparency of its own operations and supply chain
  • Harmonise auditing and measurement methods for greater transparency
  • Conduct active stakeholder engagement to share company activities and gather stakeholder input and ideas
  • Review executive and advisory board composition to address any gender imbalance and include broader representation to wider stakeholder groups
  • Enhance job opportunities for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds
  • Provide learning and development opportunities for all employees



  • Promote mechanisms for the advancement of marginalised groups, such as public, parliamentary and civil society forums for engagement with government
  • Decentralise power to regions and cities to increase local inclusion and accountability
  • Support inclusive models of value creation such as crowdfunding, sharing economy and local community initiatives
  • Promote the use of the internet and other ICTs to remove barriers to participation such as location, education, class, gender, race and linguistic knowledge
  • Promote and respect religious and cultural diversity


  • Strengthen governance through increased transparency in decision making and accountability among civil servants
  • Strengthen freedom of information legislation to ensure full transparency of government decision making
  • Increase product transparency through product labelling
  • Increase transparency of financial modelling and of corporate performance through integrated reporting, using the framework developed by the International Integrated Reporting Council

IIRC Integrated reporting framework

Source: Please download or view our Report online for a full list




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