‘Business for Health’, backed by government, aims to increase business contribution to health of the nation
London, 11 November 2020. It is now shockingly clear that Health Equals Wealth. Business for Health (B4H) is being launched to promote good business practice, innovation and investment to help our society be healthier, and has the support of cross-party political leaders, third sector and the broader business community.
Economic recovery, jobs, growth and business prosperity depend on a healthy nation. The Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced the urgent need to address health inequalities and highlighted how our health as we age impacts our resilience.
The recommendation for B4H to promote 5 extra years of healthy life expectancy while minimising health inequalities (‘HLE +5’) was put forward in The Health of the Nation Strategy published in February 2020, under the guidance of Lord Geoffrey Filkin, by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Longevity, chaired by Rt Hon Damian Green MP.
Business helped formulate that strategy and highlighted the important role socially responsible employers, purchasers, investors and innovators can play in promoting better public health and resilience.
Phoenix Group, Legal & General and AXA Health are among initial funders of B4H, and over 100 organisations have signed up to the Register of Interest. B4H, a non-profit CIC (Community Interest Company), will develop a Business Index as its first project to measure and incentivise positive contributions by business to societal health, as part of wider plans to promote preventative health, share best practice and facilitate research for improved population health. The working group to develop the Index will be cross-sectoral and will encourage smaller as well as larger businesses to be represented.
John Godfrey, Legal & General’s corporate affairs director and former Downing Street policy director chaired the Longevity APPG’s business workstream and is board chair and a founding director of the new organisation. He comments: “It is in businesses’ interests to support a healthier population. At its simplest, a healthier workforce is more productive – physical and mental health problems are expensive for employers. But for almost every sector, achieving better population health creates opportunities and drives economic activity. This was true before the pandemic and has now been sadly demonstrated beyond doubt.”
B4H launches during Longevity Week and has government support from Government. Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock says: “I am delighted that Business for Health is being formed – as employers, investors and innovators, business will make vital contributions to reduce future pandemic risks through prevention, improve healthy life expectancy and build economic resilience in communities across our nation. If this pandemic has taught us anything it's that our health and prosperity are completely interlinked. I look forward to working with them in the future.”