Sipho Pityana. Picture: SIMPHIWE NKWALI
Sipho Pityana. Picture: SIMPHIWE NKWALI

Business needs to play its part in driving inclusion, Business Unity SA president Sipho Pityana said. 

“While government was pushing this agenda [for inclusion], we were pushing the agenda for growth. GDP growth on its own does not reduce inequalities. It plays a part but it’s far from adequate,” he said at the investment for inclusion forum at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (Gibs) on Wednesday. 

Pityana said business has since adopted an agenda that embraces the concept of inclusive growth.

“The investor community has not used its muscle enough to drive the agenda. Now that we have agreed as business that inclusive growth is on the agenda, I hope asset managers go to every AGM and ask what that looks like,” he said.

Speaking at the same event, JSE CEO Nicky Newton-King said the exchanges are “gently” coming on the journey, led by emerging-market exchanges.

“We have to tackle the actual model of capitalism if we’re serious about tackling inequality. There’s a long way to go between changing behaviour and for the economic disadvantaged to feel it,” she said.

Netwon-King said there needs to be more disclosure about environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) ventures for investors to better understand the risks to a company. There also needs to be a greater focus on transparent disclosure and a long-term view on business that looks at environmental, social and corporate governance as a new asset class in addition to total return indices.