BSR Report Highlights Business Opportunity in Boosting Health and Wellness

BSR Report Highlights Business Opportunity in Boosting Health and Wellness

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BSR's new report "A New CSR Frontier: Business and Population Health" reveals opportunities for U.S. companies across all sectors to address systemic challenges related to health and wellness by engaging with employees, customers, local communities, suppliers, and the general public. This report highlights the role of CSR teams in leading this work by helping their companies examine the positive and negative health and wellness impacts of business across the value chain, and by helping them identify ways to deliver better business results and health outcomes.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 8:00am

CAMPAIGN: BSR Conference 2013: The Power of Networks

CONTENT: Press Release

SAN FRANCISCO, November 6, 2013 /3BL Media/ —A new BSR report—supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation—reveals new opportunities for U.S. companies across all sectors to improve awareness, attitudes, and behaviors related to population health by engaging with employees, customers, local communities, suppliers, and the general public. 

Even though the United States spends more on healthcare than any other developed country, it is far from the healthiest: According to the Institute of Medicine, when it comes to life expectancy, the United States ranks last (among men) and second-to-last (among women) among the 17 high-income countries.

As awareness grows about the state of health in the United States relative to other developed nations, societal expectations are shifting from a focus on health and safety to a focus on wellness and prevention.

“Given these shifting values, there is a great opportunity for companies to view the issue of health and wellness more holistically and positively affect a larger population of people,” said Mark Little, BSR’s healthcare director. “Within business, the corporate social responsibility (CSR) teams are well-positioned to lead this work—helping their companies look carefully at the positive as well as negative impacts on health and wellness, and helping them identify opportunities to deliver better business results and health outcomes.”

For this research, BSR interviewed 40 leading authorities on health and wellness, public health, CSR, and corporate affairs; reviewed more than 35 corporate CSR reports across 10 industries; and surveyed nearly 30 U.S.-based BSR member companies about their current activities on health and wellness.

The report identifies three key trends:

  • Society expects companies to play an increasing role in strengthening population health. Key stakeholders expect companies to extend their focus beyond healthcare and safety to promote wellness and prevention, as well as address the nonmedical, social, and environmental determinants of health. This expectation will only grow in the years ahead.
  • Companies are responding to these growing expectations, but they have focused primarily on employees, and, in some industries, on customers. Companies in all industries have the opportunity to create both business and societal value by looking at how to advance the health and wellness of groups that have received less emphasis in the past, such as suppliers, local communities, and the general public.
  • Health and wellness is still siloed at most companies and is often solely the responsibility of the human resources department. If companies are to rise to the expectations of stakeholders, it will be important to bring cross-functional expertise and leadership to the fore. To drive progress beyond the employee base, companies will need to bring forward capabilities from procurement, marketing, research and development (R&D), corporate affairs, communications, and philanthropy, among others.

“Given the notion that health and wellness will require a systemic approach, this research underscores the need for more collaboration across companies and industries,” said Little. “We believe CSR teams can lead business engagement and ultimately help address the challenges related to population health in the United States.”

The BSR Conference 2013—taking place November 5-8 in San Francisco—will feature a session on “Corporations and Wellness” from 1:15-2:15 p.m. on Wednesday November 6.

The full report is available at For more information about BSR’s research and to join the collaborative effort on business and population health, contact BSR at

For media inquiries or to receive a complimentary press pass to the BSR Conference, contact Eva Dienel

About BSR

BSR works with its global network of more than 250 member companies to build a just and sustainable world. From its offices in Asia, Europe, and North and South America, BSR develops sustainable business strategies and solutions through consultingresearch, and cross-sector collaboration. Visit for more information about BSR’s more than 20 years of leadership in sustainability.


Eva Dienel
+1 (415) 984-3233
Associate Director, Communications, BSR