Migration, sustainable development and the role of business.

Author:Bhattacharya, C.B.
 
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Over the past decades, business has begun reacting to growing societal pressures by broadening its focus from profit maximization alone to the "triple bottom line" of people, planet and profit.' In the years since this concept was first introduced, people and planet focused sustainability initiatives have become standard practice amongst businesses across the world. Yet, migration is often overlooked as a factor within a company's overall sustainability strategy. Such an oversight is critical, as migration invariably impacts business, and ensuring that its influence remains positive requires both awareness and engagement amongst corporate leadership. Migration can offer opportunities within each aspect of the triple bottom line, for instance, by creating a diverse and competent workforce, fostering innovation across borders and creating possibilities for globally integrated strategies in the realm of environmental sustainability.

Each of these facets can, in turn, enhance the long-term viability of a company, thereby promoting development. Yet, in order for business to harness these and other positive contributions of migration to sustainable development, cross-sectoral collaboration has to occur, engaging both the public and private sectors. The recognition of migration as a factor within the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals underscores its importance in the global fight to end poverty, but the overall pathway towards achieving a positive intersection between migration and sustainable development remains ambiguous. This paper aims to elucidate some key issues within this intersection, highlighting both the negative and positive effects of migration on development in sending and receiving countries. Following the breakdown of the triple bottom line, Figure 1 lays out such challenges and opportunities of migration, with the arrows pointing left representing challenges and those pointing right indicating opportunities. This paper will build off the issues listed in this chart, outlining ways in which businesses can act upon opportunities and overcome challenges while incorporating migration into their sustainability plans.

People Planet Profit Sending * Brain drain; * Lack of * Lack of workers Country exploitation infrastructure to stimulate labor * Return of to address force highly skilled extreme climate * Remittances workers; events enable local direct * Collaborative entrepreneurship, engagement adaptation and leading to economic through regional development partnerships projects Receiving * Higher * Rapid * Greater market Country competition in development pressure can lead labor market harmful to to inflation and * Sustained environment unsteady growth economic * Structured * Inflow of growth; influx investment; workforce boosts of workers to green growth; economy fill labor skills transfer gaps; innovation Figure 1 Challenges and opportunities of migration on sustainable development. PEOPLE

Although migration can offer ample benefits to sending countries, for instance, through collaborative partnerships of businesses and public sector institutions or through an increase in trained workers, such opportunities are often realized following the return of migrants. Conversely, the challenges migration poses frequently occur in both sending and receiving countries while migrants are abroad. For instance, in areas with large populations of migrant workers, such as the Gulf region, where more than 40 per cent of the workforce is foreign, (2) the risk of exploitation is very high. Many migrants face steep fees for recruitment, poor working conditions, a lack of sick leave or vacation time, and the confiscation of identification or travel...

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