Two-thirds of the world’s population live in poverty and many of them lack access to basic services. Poor people alone are often unable to improve their economic prospects. The private sector can be a huge alleviator of poverty, creating the jobs and wealth that provide people with economic opportunities through employment and supply chain opportunities for small businesses. But there is more that can be done, and many businesses are increasingly interested in finding solutions to reduce poverty, engaging the poor and contributing to the development process.
The concept of shared value aims to address social needs in a way that is commercially viable for businesses. It provides businesses with an opportunity to improve competitiveness whilst simultaneously addressing global challenges and contributing to development. It can create growth, productivity, profits and new opportunities for businesses, at the same time generating income and wealth for the poor and creating a potential win for the environment and resources by introducing more sustainable techniques and technologies.
Richard Welford, Chairman of CSR Asia says “Effective inclusive business strategies can benefit poor and vulnerable people, whilst making the value chains of businesses more competitive.”
This report by CSR Asia demonstrates how it is possible to create shared value through inclusive business (IB) strategies and provides a roadmap of practical steps which can be taken by organisations who are interested in putting in place an inclusive business strategy. Numerous case examples from developing countries are used throughout.
The paper contributes to a growing interest in the inclusive business and shared value approaches as comprehensive, inclusive and sustainable market-based solutions, developed with the direct participation of the private sector and a range of committed stakeholders.
“The great benefit of the shared value approach is that initiatives become naturally scalable – as businesses address more social needs, so their profits can increase” says Richard Welford.
It concludes with an acknowledgement that there is no one approach to creating shared value through inclusive business interventions. Instead there is a need to look at the nature of the value chain and carefully design interventions that can benefit poor people. It leaves us in no doubt that the private sector has an important role to play in creating positive social impact through poverty reduction, shaping markets and facilitating new opportunities.
The full report is available at www.csr-asia.com/publications.php
The paper, written by CSR Asia is part of a partnership with Oxfam on inclusive business value chains.
CSR Asia is a leading provider of advisory, research and training services on sustainable business practices in Asia. For more information visit: www.csr-asia.com
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