Inclusive Business takes a global stage

Sep 24, 2014

Large scale commitments that impact thousands show that inclusive business has continued to flourish with the growth of new enterprises that serve the bottom of the pyramid


New York, USA  – Leading multinationals joined emerging companies today to reaffirm their commitments to the Business Call to Action. Most notably, Japan-based Panasonic and BASF India provided key commitments towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

Commemorating the significant growth of inclusive business, the Mexican cement manufacturing giant CEMEX and Spanish telecom Telefonica and other major multinational companies have also joined the Business Call to Action and taken concrete steps towards including poor people in their core business operations as consumers, producers and entrepreneurs.

Launched in 2008 at the United Nations, the Business Call to Action (BCtA) is a multi-stakeholder initiative that challenges companies to develop innovative business models aimed at achieving both commercial success and development outcomes.

Now in its second phase, more than 100 firms worldwide have responded to the Business Call to Action with concrete inclusive business initiatives. Member companies benefit from the Business Call to Action’s unique global leadership platform, its research and assistance with impact measurement, and its global advocacy capacity.  

As inclusive business gains momentum and becomes embedded in company value chains, more companies are creating innovative business models in green technology, agriculture, financial services, health and sanitation.

The Business Call to Action’s Annual Forum featured a range of perspectives on these innovative business models, demonstrating how companies are working to sustain the momentum in the post-2015 development landscape – and amid the growing threats posed by climate change.

“We are pleased to see that with a new development agenda on its way and with the end of the Millennium Development Goals in sight, the Business Call to Action is on track to deliver on its poverty-reduction efforts,” stated Magdy Martinez-Soliman, Assistant Administrator and Director of the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UN Development Programme. “Today’s new commitments bring the Business Call to Action portfolio up to 104 members, each with inclusive business initiatives that will have a positive impact on the lives of poor people.”  

As the portfolio of Business Call to Action member companies continues to evolve, its second phase is also focusing on new services that assist members in measuring their social and economic impacts.  

Recognizing that public-private partnerships at the country level also play a pivotal role in creating an enabling environment for inclusive business, the Business Call to Action Annual Forum hosted a number of leading private companies from the Philippines along with that country’s public-sector leaders and representatives from USAID.

“It’s vital to see how building an inclusive growth strategy can fortify progress for low-income communities and make a meaningful, sustainable impact--building real markets and providing benefits that go beyond job creation to lasting social change,” said Ricardo Michel, Director of the Center for Transformational Partnerships at USAID's Global Development Lab.

“In launching the Inclusive Business Imperative campaign, we strive to establish public and private partnerships that can help companies harness the power of their core businesses to address the nagging problem of poverty in our country in a more sustainable way. Today local and national government agencies work with companies like Phinma properties and Hapinoy to develop business models that address the last-mile challenges for products and services to meet the needs of BoP communities,” said Rapa Lopa, Executive Director of Philippine Business for Social Progress, a public economic development agency in the Philippines.

This cross section of large and small member companies has demonstrated a range of innovative business approaches that are designed to meet the challenges of scaling-up while working with markets at the base of the economic pyramid. These challenges include adapting to local market conditions and building strategic partnerships.

“There is a clear benefit to instituting multi-stakeholder initiatives like the Business Call to Action that challenges the private sector to transform their core business to impact the poor, while providing the knowledge, measurement capabilities and advocacy to others to understand the value of inclusive business,” according to Lena Ingelstam, Director of Partnerships and Innovations for the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

####

The Business Call to Action (BCtA) is a global corporate leadership platform, with over 100 member companies that are incorporating inclusive business approaches in their operations to help advance the MDGs.  As innovators in this space, BCtA member companies are advancing the inclusive business agenda by creating novel business models, sharing lessons learned, and forging partnerships to improve scale and increase development impact.
 
The initiative is the result of a partnership between the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs,  the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), UK Department for International Development (DFID), US Agency for International Development (USAID), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the United Nations Global Compact to meet the anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Companies report on progress toward commitments on an annual basis.  @bctainitiative    

BCtA is proud to announce that 22 new companies have joined the movement since September last year. This year’s members hail from Brazil, Ghana, Japan, India, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, the Netherlands, Pakistan, the Philippines, Spain, Turkey and the UK and US.  

Business Call to Action’s newest members include:

•    BASF India (India)    
•    CEMEX (Mexico)
•    Changamka Microhealth (Kenya)
•    Datawind Ltd. (UK)
•    FarmerLine (Ghana)
•    H&M (Sweden)
•    Kennemer Foods International (Philippines)
•    Luxottica (Italy)
•    Metalsa (Mexico)
•    MUrgency Inc. (USA)
•    Naya Jeevan (Pakistan)
•    NOTS Impact Enterprises (The Netherlands)
•    Pagpop (Brazil)
•    Panasonic (Japan)
•    Phillips Healthcare Services (Kenya)
•    PHINMA Property Holdings Corporation (Philippines)
•    Sanergy (Kenya)
•    Saraya (Japan)
•    Spring Health (India)
•    Taze & Kuru (Turkey)
•    Telefonica (Spain)
•    Vaatsaalya (India)

Contact information

BCtA New York
Karen Newman
, karen.newman@undp.org
Tel. +1 212 906-5194

UNDP Around the world