From Istanbul to Tokyo to Stockholm, inclusive business has come of age

19 Sep 2013

image Sigrid Kaag, UNDP’s Director of Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy, speaking at the annual BCtA event

Commitments in inclusive business from leading emerging-market corporations show that inclusive business has come of age

New York – Leading global businesses announced significant commitments towards the Millennium Development goals today. Turkish internet giant TTNET, the Brazilian subsidiary of Spanish financial services provider Santander, Japanese retailing conglomerate MUJI, and many other large multinational and domestic companies have rallied the Business Call to Action (BCtA) and taken concrete steps to include the poor in their core business operations, as consumers, producers and entrepreneurs.

Launched in 2008, the Business Call to Action is a multi-stakeholder initiative that challenges companies to develop innovative business models that achieve commercial success and development outcomes.

From Turkey to Japan to India and to Sweden, companies are creating innovative business models in agriculture, financial services, nutritional supplements and retail products. BCtA’s Annual Event featured these members’ innovative business models; showcasing how they have overcome challenges in the markets of the poor and created social impact while creating economic profit.

“Inclusive business is gaining momentum. When emerging market corporations from Brazil, India and Turkey stand alongside corporations from Sweden, Japan and the United States to be united in their pursuit of corporate and social impact, we know that BCtA and UNDP are at the forefront of leading change” said Sigrid Kaag, Assistant Secretary-General/Assistant Administrator and Director, Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy at UNDP.

To date, 83 companies worldwide have responded to the Business Call to Action with concrete inclusive business initiatives as commitments. Member companies benefit from the BCtA’s ability to provide a global leadership platform, its research and impact measurement assistance and its global advocacy capabilities.

“Sustainability must be an objective for the Group Santander as a whole, contributing to the social and economic development of communities where we operate. The Group Santander has important Microcredit Programs in countries such as Brazil, Chile and El Salvador. In Brazil, the operation has already assisted more than 182,000 customers, being 70% women, has disbursed over US$ 822 million and represents the largest microcredit operation among private banks in the country,” said Carlos Nomoto, Director of Sustainability, Santander Brasil.

Recognizing that public-private partnerships at the country level play a vital role in enabling effective inclusive business initiatives, the BCtA event also featured public sector leaders from Kenya and the Philippines alongside donor government USAID and UN agency the World Food Programme.

“The evidence is clear: the markets of the poor necessitate urgent collective action to overcome challenges to sustainable and inclusive business. Cooperation between the public and private sectors which takes advantage of specialized competencies, is necessary to overcome these challenges” said Rapa Lopa, Executive Director of the Philippine Business For Social Progress (PBSP), a public economic development agencies in the Philippines.

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The Business Call to Action (BCtA) is a global corporate leadership platform, with over 70 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 Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), 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), the United Nations Global Compact, and the Clinton Global Initiative to meet the anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Companies report on progress toward commitments on an annual basis.  @bctainitiative

Contact Information

Karen Newman, karen.newman@undp.org, 212 906-5194