Inclusive business: The next frontier for corporate responsibility

Inclusive business is a term used to describe a ‘for profit’, sustainable business that empowers and creates opportunities for low income and marginalised communities.

In their latest report ‘Inclusive Business - The Next Frontier for Corporate Responsibility’, Corporate Citizenship has analysed a number of multinational companies’ Inclusive Business models in emerging and developing markets. The report gives comment and analysis into the motivations behind various business models, the role of partnerships, financing, profitability, and challenges. Corporate Citizenship has conducted interviews with a number of multinationals such as SABMiller, Heineken and Interface, and intermediaries like International Finance Corporation (IFC) to offer insight into the experiences of companies already using Inclusive Business models to grow in these markets.

In an increasingly competitive world, public and stakeholder expectations of businesses’ roles within the societies continue to rise. Today’s global companies are increasingly judged on the actual social and economic value they create through their core business activities. Leading multinationals have started to recognise the powerful potential of Inclusive Business models. The term is widely defined as profitable core business activity that expands opportunities for the marginalised and disadvantaged. These business models engage the marginalised as employees, suppliers, distributors or consumers.

Our research shows that the opportunities presented by Inclusive Business for global companies are significant. It can drive product and service innovation, provide access to new markets, help differentiation from competitors and strengthen brand reputation. With regards to supply chain, benefits include cost reductions and secured access to critical raw materials.


In the report, Corporate Citizenship has identified ten steps companies should take when exploring and building Inclusive Business models. For example, companies should evaluate the socio-economic impact of their operations in a given market, identifying where across the value chain socio-economic benefits could be further enhanced. Companies should focus on their core competencies and strengths - how can they be applied to address societal and development challenges through core business activities?


Finally, our research shows that, when companies get it right, Inclusive Business is a successful growth strategy for operating and expanding in emerging and developing economies. At Corporate Citizenship, we see Inclusive Business as the next frontier and the way forward for sustainable businesses looking to take traditional CSR to the next level.

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Twitter: @CCitizenship

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