Business principles

for people-centered

technology transformation

Putting people at the heart of the future of work.​

WBCSD’s Principles aim to ensure technology transformation benefits the workforce, now and in the future.

The challenge

With society and technology changing faster than ever before, WBCSD is working towards a vision of the Future of Work where people thrive – personally, professionally, and as active members of their communities. A future with inclusive workforces that are secure, motivated, skilled and prepared for any challenge that comes next. Where people’s lives are enriched by advancing technology. And where society can prosper from equal access to new opportunities. ​

Workers are at the frontline of technology transformation

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Companies make technology-related decisions every day that impact workers’ rights, wellbeing and futures

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In the face of rapid tech evolution, impacts on the workforce can be underestimated or overlooked

Workers are at the frontline of technology transformation

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Companies make technology-related decisions every day that impact workers’ rights, wellbeing and futures

"

In the face of rapid tech evolution, impacts on the workforce can be underestimated or overlooked

In response to this challenge, 22 leading companies have come together through WBCSD’s Future of Work Project to develop a shared set of principles to ensure technology transformation benefits the workforce, now and in the future.

Business principles for people-centered technology transformation ​

By adopting these Principles, companies commit to: ​

Implement policies to ensure respect for workers’ human rights in relation to the development and implementation of new technology. ​

Conduct effective due diligence to identify current and potential human rights impacts of new technology on workers, considering the diversity and future inclusion of those workers.​

Be accountable for any negative human rights impacts of new technology on workers and provide channels for effective remediation. ​

Communicate transparently on the anticipated current and future impacts, challenges and opportunities related to new technology for the workforce and how companies are preparing for the associated transitions.

Consult openly with the workforce and relevant stakeholders to understand and address their expectations and concerns related to the impact of new technology on workers and their work. ​

Involve the workforce when designing, adopting and working with new technologies. ​

Prepare the workforce ahead of technology implementation by enabling workers to envision their future roles, equipping them with new skills, and providing access to lifelong learning, training and support.​

Enable inclusion by ensuring under-represented groups are fully engaged and benefit equally from the opportunities that arise from new technology. ​

Drive equality by fairly sharing the benefits of technology-driven improvements in work quality and productivity with all workers. ​

Objectives of the Principles​

The Principles provide a touchstone that all companies can align to when their workforce faces impacts from the development and implementation of new technologies.

Adopting the Principles will help companies:

Clarify the business responsibility towards their direct workforce and workers in their supply chain, based on the positions of leading companies.

Take a clear and transparent position on technology and their workforce, and build trust with current and future workers and stakeholders.

Ensure that business decisions lead to people being respected, engaged and empowered for a positive future of work. ​

Applying the Principles enables companies to ensure the ongoing trust, preparedness and resilience of their own workforce, attract and retain the best talent, stay ahead of the curve on expectations and regulations, and contribute to a thriving workforce, company, labor market and society.

Scope of the Principles​

These Principles aim to fill a specific gap by focusing on the impact of technology transformation on workers and how work is carried out.

The Principles apply to any technology that impacts a company’s direct employees, contract and temporary workers, and workers throughout their supply. ​

This can include automation, digitization, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, information and communication technologies (ICT), platform technologies, Internet of Things (IoT), virtual and augmented reality, 3D/4D printing, and more. ​

Audience of the Principles​

The Principles can be applied by any business embarking on technology transformation initiatives.

They are particularly relevant to:

Senior Executives

Senior Executives setting technology transformation agendas and positioning their companies’ responses to the future of work.

Technology and Innovation leaders

Technology and Innovation leaders guiding the procurement, strategy, planning or implementation of new technology in the workplace and supply chain.

Human Resource leaders

Human Resource leaders shaping hiring practices, job redesign, upskilling or redeployment of workers in response to and making use of new technology. ​

Procurement leaders

Procurement leaders responsible for sourcing temporary and other forms of employment in the supply chain using new technology. ​

In addition, the Principles can be used as a reference for employees and stakeholders to better understand the responsibilities of a company towards workers when applying new technologies that impact work and the workers.

Quotes from CEOs​

“It is clear that HR leaders must design dynamic and responsive strategies to shape talent solutions; this CHRO guide to skills strategies for a sustainable world of work offers excellent examples of good practice that are scalable and replicable.”

Nazrene Mannie
Executive Director, GAN Global

The Future of Work
2021-04-19T10:00:43+02:00
“It is clear that HR leaders must design dynamic and responsive strategies to shape talent solutions; this CHRO guide to skills strategies for a sustainable world of work offers excellent examples of good practice that are scalable and replicable.” Nazrene Mannie Executive Director, GAN Global
“Work is the engine at the center of our economies and skills are its most important ingredient. This guide brings to life the importance of skills development strategies in future-proofing businesses while simultaneously creating a more sustainable future of work.”

Filippo Veglio
Managing Director People & Society, WBCSD

The Future of Work
2021-04-19T11:16:37+02:00
“Work is the engine at the center of our economies and skills are its most important ingredient. This guide brings to life the importance of skills development strategies in future-proofing businesses while simultaneously creating a more sustainable future of work.” Filippo Veglio Managing Director People & Society, WBCSD
"The upskilling agenda is really important and it’s at the forefront of HR leaders’ minds across all sectors. Every organisation’s journey is different therefore we’ve created this guide as a source of inspiration for you to think about and take action on your own organisation’s upskilling journey"

Juliet Stuttard
Director People & Organization, PwC

The Future of Work
2021-04-19T12:43:40+02:00
"The upskilling agenda is really important and it’s at the forefront of HR leaders’ minds across all sectors. Every organisation’s journey is different therefore we’ve created this guide as a source of inspiration for you to think about and take action on your own organisation’s upskilling journey" Juliet Stuttard Director People & Organization, PwC
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The Future of Work

Companies and partners driving WBCSD’s Future of Work project ​

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