This article argues that if we as applied linguists are interested in social justice, we need to look at language with the aim of uncovering underlying social injustices. We can do this by investigating how language practices, language policies and language ideologies are tied up with social and material inequalities. The two cases discussed in the article focus on the role of English as a global language in the context of international business. By critically examining how language practices, language policies and language ideologies are tied up with underlying ideologies of globalism and neoliberalism, we can see how English in the business world is commodified as a communicative resource important for its potential economic value, but also how this commodification and the neoliberal ideology of employability mean that workers are the ones who bear the cost of internationalisation. Taking a critical perspective on global English means that investigating language does not have to be a misdirection away from the real issues of social injustice and inequality. Instead we as applied linguists can use language as a lens for investigating social injustice.