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Oct 11, 2018

Philips CEO Frans van Houten co-signs open letter on need for investment in human capital

Estimated reading time: 2-4 minutes
Photo: Khasar Sandag / World Bank
Philips CEO Frans van Houten has co-signed an open letter to the world community highlighting the need for greater investment in human capital – the knowledge, skills, and health that people accumulate throughout their lives – through better nutrition, health care, education, jobs and skills. The letter, which was published in a Financial Times Special Report to coincide with the October 11, Human Capital Summit 2018, reflects Philips’ commitment to improve the lives of 3 billion people a year by 2025, and the pressing need for financially sustainable models of care, especially in countries with a developing heath care system.

Human Capital Index

The publication of the open letter also coincides with the launch of the World Bank Group’s Human Capital Index – a simple but effective metric for human capital outcomes such as child survival, early hardwiring of children for success, student learning, and adult health.
Human Capital key to solving the world’s inequality
Credit: World Bank
Good health care and education are among the main drivers of economic growth and are key to fighting extreme poverty and creating more inclusive societies

Frans van Houten

CEO of Royal Philips

“Good health care and education are among the main drivers of economic growth and are key to fighting extreme poverty and creating more inclusive societies,” said Frans van Houten, CEO of Royal Philips. “I am convinced that this can be achieved with current technologies, but it will require an integrated approach, new ways of working and new business models. Health care should not be considered a cost that needs to be minimized, but an investment in society that needs to be optimized.”


Poorer, disadvantaged and underserved communities face tremendous challenges, often with one-in-four children malnourished, and 60 percent of primary school students failing to achieve a rudimentary education. 


Through the development of holistic solutions such as its Community Life Center platform in Africa, which provides health facilities, education and training of health care workers, and furthers social and economic hubs for the area, Philips is already exploring new business models focused on optimizing the human capital of underserved populations.


As a further example, approximately 830 women die from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications around the world every day, with 99% of deaths occurring in countries with a developing health care system and rural areas. Philips smart phone-enabled Mobile Obstetrics Monitoring solution aims to reduce maternal mortality by enabling healthcare systems to give expectant mothers access to high-quality healthcare wherever they are.


Watch a video of Frans van Houten’s view on Human Capital.

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Elena Calamo Specchia

Elena Calamo Specchia

Philips Global Press Office

Tel: +31 6 25004735

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