As world leaders head to New York for the UN high-level week to discuss how to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a new World Economic Forum report highlights the challenges facing developing countries, with six in 10 economists surveyed warning of a deepening trade-off between development and climate action.
The latest Chief Economists Outlook, released today, also finds that over 60% of chief economists expect the global economy to weaken in the coming year amid uncertain domestic and international politics and unsettled financial markets. Although a large majority (86%) expects the recent global inflationary surge to ease, the prolonged tightening of financial conditions is expected to have lasting impacts, including a squeeze on business lending, increases in corporate debt defaults, and potential corrections in property and equity markets.
Developing countries face the most acute effects of these global headwinds, with chief economists warning that progress towards global development goals could be undermined by geopolitical tensions (74%) and tighter financial conditions (59%). This is particularly concerning with slowing progress in many areas of the SDGs, including food security, climate action and biodiversity protection. At the current pace, more than half a billion people will still live in extreme poverty in 2030.
A minority of chief economists expect increased cooperation (41%) and private capital flows (30%) between advanced and developing countries over the next three years. However, if flows of private capital can be unlocked, the economists are particularly optimistic about the potential positive impact on specific areas of development: digital transformation (97%), energy access and affordability (76%), food systems and nutrition (67%), and climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution (67%).
“The latest Chief Economists Outlook points to continuing weakness in the global economy,” said Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director, World Economic Forum. “It also highlights the urgent challenges and trade-offs being faced by developing countries, and the need for innovation, cross-border investment and technology transfer to make growth, climate action and human development compatible.”
The economic outlook varies across regions for 2023-2024. While the chief economists are most optimistic about growth in Asia, the outlook for China has dimmed since the May 2023 survey, following signs of deflationary pressures and fragility in the country’s real estate market. Over 90% expect moderate or strong growth this year in South Asia, notably India, with a clear increase since the last survey in the share of respondents expecting strong growth in the region, from 36% to 52%.
In the Middle East and North Africa, there is a noticeable increase in the share of respondents expecting at least moderate growth (79%, up from 64% in the last survey), with a similar outlook for 2024. Latin America and the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa remain at the weaker end of the outlook globally with respondents almost equally split between weak and strong growth expectations for 2023, and both regions expected to improve slightly in 2024.
In the US, the outlook has strengthened since May, with eight in 10 respondents now expecting moderate or strong growth in both 2023 and 2024. In Europe, 77% expect weak or very weak growth this year, but there is growing optimism about 2024, with expectations of moderate or strong growth jumping from 23% to 60%.
Creating a Culture of Sustainability: ESG as a Guiding Principle
In an ever-changing world, businesses are embracing environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) principles to navigate the complexities of the modern marketplace. It’s a strategic approach that encompasses environmental responsibility, social consciousness, and effective corporate governance.
This article will demystify environmental, social, and corporate governance for those new to the concept and explore its profound impact on boardrooms worldwide.
ESG , short for environmental, social, and corporate governance, is a framework that evaluates a company’s impact on ESG practices. This isn’t about mere corporate compliance; it’s about shaping a sustainable and responsible corporate culture.
At the heart of any organization’s ESG is its board of directors. These individuals hold a critical responsibility in setting the direction for the company’s ESG initiatives. Let’s explore how board members play a pivotal role in this transformative journey.
The ‘E’ in ESG represents environmental responsibility. Boards are increasingly recognizing the importance of sustainable practices. This includes reducing carbon footprints, conserving resources, and investing in eco-friendly technologies. Environmental initiatives also encompass efforts to protect and preserve biodiversity, ensuring the long-term health of ecosystems for future generations.
The ‘S’ highlights social consciousness. Board members are instrumental in fostering a socially responsible culture. This involves initiatives like philanthropy, community engagements, and ethical supply chain management. By prioritizing social responsibility, companies can build trust and strengthen their brand reputation.
The ‘G’ signifies effective corporate governance. Boards must ensure the organization adheres to ethical practices, transparency, and accountability. This includes board diversity and labor practices, appointing independent directors, implementing fair executive compensation, and establishing clear reporting mechanisms. Transparent governance is the backbone of ESG.
For further insights into ESG and modern governance, consider exploring related articles on trusted websites like ESG strategy.
So, how do board members effectively implement and manage ESG strategies? Enter board portals, a critical component of modern governance. Board portals are specialized software platforms that streamline board meetings, communication, and document management. They enhance the efficiency of board member’s work and enable them to monitor ESG performance effectively.
ESG discussion often requires open and efficient communication among board members. Board portals provide a secure environment for real-time discussions, ensuring that all voices are heard and decisions are made promptly.
In essence, document accessibility through board portals is not a mere convenience; it’s a strategic imperative for ESG-focused boards. It empowers board members with the information they need to make informed decisions, fosters transparency and accountability, and streamlines the reporting process.
ESG strategies involve a plethora of documents, from sustainability reports to diversity statistics. Board portals centralize access to these documents, making them readily available to board members. This accessibility ensures that board discussions are well-informed and data-driven.
ESG strategies are the lifeblood of sustainability corporate culture, but they rely heavily on data and information. From sustainability reports delling environmental impact to statistics showcasing diversity and inclusion efforts, ESG-related documents are the foundation upon which a culture of sustainability is built.
Maintaining the confidentiality of sensitive ESG data is not just a matter of legal obligation; it’s a commitment to upholding the principles of responsible corporate governance, transparency, and ethical conduct. Board portals incorporate robust security measures, including encryption and access controls. Board members must ensure the integrity and security of this data, aligning with the ‘G’ in ESG.
As ESG continues to gain prominence, boards are recognizing their power to drive meaningful change in environmental responsibility, social consciousness, and ethical governance. The adoption of board portals further enhances their capacity to implement and monitor ESG strategies effectively.
In essence, ESG isn’t an acronym; it’s a guiding principle for businesses committed to a sustainable and responsible future. As we look ahead, companies that embrace ESG wholeheartedly are not only fostering a culture of sustainability but also positioning themselves for success in a world that values environmental and social responsibility more than ever.
What Happens to Employee Insurance Benefits When Bankruptcy Occurs?
Employee health insurance is one of the most crucial aspects of employee benefits packages provided by companies across the globe. It not only plays a pivotal role in attracting and retaining talent but also ensures the well-being and financial security of employees and their families. However, in the ever-changing landscape of the business world, companies may encounter financial challenges, including bankruptcy. This article delves into the significance of employee health insurance and explores what happens to it when bankruptcy occurs.
The Importance of Employee Health Insurance
Employee health insurance, also called group health insurance policy is a valuable benefit that offers a multitude of advantages for both employees and employers. Here’s an in-depth look at why it holds such immense importance:
Attracting and Retaining Talent: In a job market, offering comprehensive health insurance is a powerful tool for recruiting and retaining top talent. Prospective employees often consider health benefits as a significant factor when evaluating job offers. By providing quality healthcare coverage, companies can stand out and build a loyal workforce.
Employee Well-Being: Employee health insurance is fundamentally about safeguarding the well-being of a company’s most valuable asset—its workforce. Access to healthcare ensures that employees can seek medical attention when needed, leading to early diagnosis and treatment of health issues. This not only promotes individual health but also enhances overall productivity.
Financial Security: Medical expenses can be a substantial financial burden, especially for major illnesses or surgeries. Health insurance provides financial security by covering a significant portion of medical costs. It helps employees and their families avoid crippling medical bills and potential debt.
Peace of Mind: Knowing that they have health insurance coverage, employees can focus on their work being worry-free about the financial implications of medical emergencies. This peace of mind contributes to a more engaged and productive workforce.
Preventive Healthcare: Many health insurance plans include coverage for preventive healthcare services such as vaccinations and health check-ups. This encourages employees to prioritize their health and take proactive measures to prevent illnesses.
Tax Savings: In several countries, including the United States, employers may receive tax incentives for providing health insurance to their employees. This further underscores the financial advantages of offering health benefits.
Reduced Absenteeism: When employees have access to healthcare, they are more likely to address health or related issues promptly. This leads to reduced absenteeism, as employees are less likely to take sick days due to untreated illnesses.
What Happens to Employee Health Insurance in Bankruptcy?
While the importance of employee health insurance is undeniable, financial challenges, including bankruptcy, can raise concerns about the fate of these benefits. Here’s an overview of what typically happens to employee health insurance when a company faces bankruptcy:
Immediate Impact on Coverage: Bankruptcy proceedings can have an immediate impact on employee health insurance coverage. In some cases, the company may continue providing coverage during the bankruptcy process, while in others, coverage may be terminated or significantly altered.
Potential Changes in Coverage: Bankruptcy may lead to changes in the structure of health insurance plans offered by the company. These changes could include reduced coverage, higher deductibles, or changes in the network of healthcare providers.
Impact on Retiree Benefits: Companies that provide retiree health benefits may also be affected by bankruptcy. Retiree health benefits can be impacted as the company seeks to restructure its financial obligations.
Notification and Communication: Employers are typically required to notify employees of changes to their health insurance coverage, especially when it involves the termination of coverage. Communication is crucial during bankruptcy proceedings to ensure that employees understand their options and rights.
Legal Obligations: Employers are legally obligated to follow specific regulations and laws when altering or terminating employee health insurance coverage during bankruptcy. Failure to comply with these laws can result in legal consequences.
Impact on Employee Morale: Changes in health insurance coverage, especially those resulting from bankruptcy, can significantly impact employee morale. It’s essential for employers to communicate openly with their employees and provide support and resources to navigate the changes effectively.
Alternatives for Employees: In some cases, employees may need to seek alternative health insurance coverage, such as purchasing individual policies or exploring government-sponsored healthcare programs, depending on their eligibility and the country’s healthcare system.
The Need for Separate Health Insurance In Addition to Having Group Health Insurance
Having a group health insurance plan through your employer is undoubtedly valuable, but there are several compelling reasons why individuals should consider having separate or individual health insurance coverage in addition to the group plan. While group health insurance provides a baseline level of coverage, individual health insurance can offer additional benefits and financial security. Let’s delve into the need for separate health insurance:
Portability: Group health insurance is typically tied to your current employer. If you change jobs or lose your job, you may lose access to your group plan. Having separate health insurance ensures that you have continuous coverage regardless of your employment status. This portability is particularly crucial in today’s dynamic job market.
Customization: Group health plans are designed to cater to the needs of a broad employee base. They may not provide coverage for specific medical conditions, treatments, or medications that you or your family members require. Individual health insurance allows you to customize your coverage to match your unique healthcare needs.
Comprehensive Coverage: Group health plans often have limitations, including caps on certain treatments, exclusions, or restrictions on coverage. Individual health insurance policies tend to offer more comprehensive coverage options, including access to a broader network of doctors and hospitals.
Family Coverage: While group health insurance typically covers the policyholder and often their immediate family members, individual health insurance allows you to tailor coverage for your entire family, including spouse, children, and dependent parents. This ensures that all your loved ones have adequate protection.
Long-Term Security: Group health plans can change from year to year, and the coverage offered by your employer may evolve. With individual health insurance, you have the option to lock in your coverage for a more extended period, providing long-term security and stability for your healthcare needs.
Choice of Insurer: With a group health plan, you have little control over the insurer or the specific plan. In contrast, individual health insurance allows you to choose the insurance company that aligns with your preferences, reputation, and customer service.
Supplementary Coverage: Group plans may have gaps in coverage, such as limited dental, vision, or mental health benefits. Having individual health insurance allows you to supplement these areas with additional policies tailored to your needs.
Coverage During Job Transition: In between jobs or during career changes, there may be gaps in your employer-sponsored health insurance coverage. Having separate health insurance ensures you remain protected during these transitions, preventing lapses in healthcare coverage.
Financial Protection: Group health insurance often comes with cost-sharing arrangements like deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. Individual health insurance policies offer various deductible and copayment options, enabling you to select a plan that best suits your budget.
Retirement Planning: As you plan for retirement, individual health insurance can bridge the gap between employer-sponsored coverage and Medicare eligibility. It ensures that you have continuous healthcare coverage throughout your retirement years.
Tax Benefits: In many countries, including the United States, individual health insurance premiums may be tax-deductible, providing potential tax benefits that are not available with group plans.
Tailored Network: Individual health insurance allows you to choose healthcare providers and hospitals that are most convenient or preferred for you. This can be especially important if you have specific medical needs or prefer a particular doctor.
While group health insurance provides valuable coverage, having separate health insurance offers flexibility, customization, and continuity of coverage. It’s essential to assess your unique healthcare needs, budget, and long-term goals to determine if individual health insurance is a necessary addition to your existing group plan. Ultimately, the combination of both group and individual health insurance can provide comprehensive protection and peace of mind for you and your family’s health and financial well-being.
Employee health insurance is a vital component of employee benefits packages, offering numerous advantages for both employees and employers. It ensures the well-being and financial security of employees, promotes a healthier and more engaged workforce, and aids in talent recruitment and retention.
However, in challenging financial times, such as bankruptcy, the fate of employee health insurance can be uncertain. Employers facing financial difficulties must carefully consider the impact of bankruptcy on their employees’ health coverage and adhere to legal obligations and regulations.
Navigating the complexities of bankruptcy and its impact on employee health insurance requires open communication, legal compliance, and a commitment to supporting employees during challenging times. Ultimately, even in the face of bankruptcy, employers should strive to maintain their commitment to the well-being of their workforce to the best of their abilities.
The Financial Dilemma: All You Need To Know About Credit Checking
In personal finance, most people prioritize taking care of their credit scores and raise considerations about credit checking. Simply put, good credit is vital in determining your financial health and access to a broad range of financial services, which is helpful if you’re working on loans, credit cards, or acquiring investment assets like housing and cars.
This article will cover the essential parts of credit checking and credit scores, what it entails, and how it can affect your financial lifestyle.
Understanding Credit Checking
Credit checking, commonly known as a credit score check or credit inquiry, is a process in which banks, lenders, and landlords assess a client’s creditworthiness. It involves a brief assessment of a person’s credit report and score to evaluate their capacity to manage their obligations and repay debts.
Credit checking exists in most cases where an investment or loan is involved, and based on the results of their credit checks, lenders or landlords reserve the right to decline or approve a lease request or loan, which emphasizes the importance of building a good credit score.
Types of Credit Checking
In credit checking, two types of evaluation can affect your credit score, these are:
1. Soft Pull
Soft pulls or soft inquiries are credit checks that don’t impact a person’s credit score when evaluating their creditworthiness. This happens when you typically check your credit reports, ask a potential employer for background checks, or receive pre-approved credit offers from banks or other establishments.
2. Hard Pull
On the other hand, hard inquiries occur when a lender reviews your credit report as part of their approval process, like real estate, getting another credit card, or a loan. Hard inquiries may harm your credit score. Fortunately, it is only temporary, and you can recover from it through suitable financial activities like paying debts or settling accounts.
Credit Score vs. Credit Checking Reports
You might think that credit scores and credit reports are the same. Although closely related, credit scores are a numerical system that evaluates your creditworthiness. In contrast, a credit report or check is a detailed breakdown of your financial activities.
For example, inside your credit report are your recent credit card transactions, pre-approval processes, and recent financial activities that, in turn, reflect your overall credit score.
Considering the information above, you must understand that you know how to read your reports and understand the reason behind your credit scores. After all, self-checking your credit report is free, and you can manage it before lenders or other financial entities can incur a hard pull.
What Makes Credit Checking Important
Your credit score is a tangible representation of your creditworthiness. In other words, it reports how banks and financial institutions can trust you as a responsible borrower. A stern analysis of your credit activities allows you and your bank to work together in making favorable loan or investment programs.
To give you an idea, here’s how credit checks impact your financial well-being in various ways:
Determining your credit score through a hard pull often determines the interest rate you’ll receive in loans and credit card debts. A higher score can lead to favorable terms and lower interest rates, saving you money.
Financial lenders use credit checks as part of their decision-making process. Depending on whether your score is high or low, it may result in denying your application or approving it and proceeding to a curated loan agreement contract.
In housing, landlords are typically more flexible in accepting would-be tenants. A good credit score approves them of their rental request, while a bad one may either outright deny their application or adjust for a higher security deposit instead. Overall, such flexibilities are unique from one property to another and may depend on the state’s housing regulations.
Not all companies do this, but some employers conduct soft credit checks for background checks, especially for positions involving financial management or handling sensitive accounts. After all, why would they hire someone in a financial position with bad financial credit?
Your credit scores affect your payment terms for insurance premiums, especially for home or auto insurance. A lower credit score may result in higher insurance costs. Fortunately, most insurance companies still offer the same policies, so you’d still get the same benefit whether you have a higher or lower credit score.
Given the importance of credit checks and their significant impact on financial well-being, you must manage your finances. The good thing is that you’re always entitled to do a self-credit check on most banks for free and report inaccuracies before settling down to an investment. Nevertheless, your credit is a fundamental aspect of personal finance, and good standing can help you go through most financial decisions and secure your future.
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