A major review of health inequities published today, 4th April, lays a roadmap for the role of industry in ‘levelling up’. The UCL Institute of Health Equity in partnership with Legal & General have launched The Business of Health Equity: The Marmot Review for Industry, which sets out three ways that business can improve people’s lives by reducing health inequality.
4 Apr 2022
The three ways that business can improve people’s lives by reducing health inequality are:
The report finds that by improving the health of their employees, employers can reap the benefits of a more productive workforce. It has been estimated, for example, that 30% of the shortfall in productivity in the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ compared with the rest of England is due to ill health.
Legal & General and UCL IHE have entered into a four-year partnership to further the role of business in reducing inequalities in health in the UK and to establish a UK-wide health equity network. This report, setting out how business can drive improvements in health equity, is the one of the key outputs from the partnership.
This latest Marmot Review confirms businesses with a strong social purpose attract and retain the best employees, who increasingly seek more than just a pay-cheque. Within companies, the report points out, employees who feel emotionally connected and understand how they contribute personally have a stronger sense of wellbeing. Research shows having a sense of purpose in life is highlighted as a key feature for living to be over 100.
The Review goes further than workforce health because most of health outcomes are determined by the conditions in which we are born, live, grow, work and age – the Social Determinants of Health. The review therefore includes a framework for how businesses of all size can become a partner in creating healthier societies by reducing health inequities – considering their products and influences as well as employees’ health.
Internationally renowned epidemiologist Professor Michael Marmot, Director of UCL’s Institute of Health Equity: “The COVID-19 pandemic made clear a failing economy damages health. Until now the social determinants of health equity have been the responsibility of government and civil society. Business can be part of the problem of health inequalities. More positively, it can be part of the solution and has a key part to play in improving these social conditions that affect health and health equity: in conditions of work and employment; in goods and services; and in impact on the wider society and environment.
This report builds on the good practices of businesses that are showing the way. It also shows that it is in the interest of business to have regard to health equity as well as to ESG, environment, social and governance. More generally, it recognises that business can and should be responsible actors that can improve the quality of people lives, the environment, and as a result be forces for good in creating greater health equity.”
Sir Nigel Wilson, CEO, Legal & General: "Reducing health inequalities is a key part of levelling up: literally a matter of life and death. Business can be a force for good in society if we work to identify areas where we can sustainably and positively impact people’s lives. That is the aim of this review and our partnership; for experts such as Sir Michael Marmot to help us and other businesses deliver better health outcomes.
Businesses and ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) investors are proving key to reducing carbon emissions. ESG’s “E” is working, but the “S” is further behind - the impact of corporate activity on population health and its associated costs is not currently adequately addressed. Post-COVID, there is a strong case to consider health and health inequality as crucial to the “S” of ESG - explicitly calling out health within a new “ESHG” framework."
Notes to editors
Established in 1836, Legal & General is one of the UK's leading financial services groups and a major global investor, with over £1.4 trillion in total assets under management* of which a third is international. We also provide powerful asset origination capabilities. Together, these underpin our leading retirement and protection solutions: we are a leading international player in pension risk transfer, in UK and US life insurance, and in UK workplace pensions and retirement income. Through inclusive capitalism, we aim to build a better society by investing in long-term assets that benefit everyone.
*at 31 Dec 2021