Inclusive business (IB) projects, by definition, tend to sit in areas outside of companies’ traditional comfort zones. Whether providing incomes to disadvantaged people by including them in the company’s value chain, or developing new markets with pro-poor products or services, they are rarely business as usual, requiring a much stronger interaction with ‘society’ than traditional business.
For those of us who believe that capitalism is a force for good, these are challenging times. Governments and business find themselves on the receiving end of blame from the public for the Western world’s current financial predicaments. Neither appear to be on the side of the everyday citizen. Capitalism is in crisis. And it […]
Change is afoot in India, as the debate on the role of business to support inclusive growth shifts from theory to implementation. The new landscape is one where companies are mandated by government to spend a proportion of their profits on CSR initiatives while major aid agencies are scaling down development funding for NGOs in the country.
Nearly two decades ago, the UN’s Rio Declaration had the goal of “establishing a new and equitable global partnership through the creation of new levels of cooperation among States, key sectors of societies and people”. And then a decade ago, the major outcome of the Johannesburg follow-up Summit (Rio+10) was around the launching of 350 ‘partnerships for sustainable development’.
Imagine this: You manage a successful company that distributes Portable Toilet Cabins (PTC) in India. You see 24% of India’s urban population living in slums with very limited access to formal toilets, 50% of India’s population still defecating in the open, and around 6,000 children dying each day from diseases related to poor sanitation, such as diarrhoea.