WBCSD inclusive business news & updates - May 2017

Here is a brief collection of inclusive business related news & insights from around the world, gathered over the last few weeks.

Feel free to send us your news and updates anytime!

We are excited to announce that we are currently building a new site for our Inclusive Business work, embedding it in the core website of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). Expect a modern design, easier navigation, and overall a better surfing experience. Stay tuned for the launch of our new website in less than four weeks.

Published: Fri, May 26, 2017
Author: Davide Fiedler
Type: Insight

News from WBCSD and its member companies

Alleviating poverty through inclusive business – Summary of policy dialogue in Berlin on 5 May 2017
On 5 May 2017, the Global Platform on Inclusive Business (GPIB) and the Inclusive Business Action Network (IBAN) jointly invited policymakers, business representatives and other enablers from G20 and non-G20 countries to further advance inclusive business policies. Filippo Veglio, Managing Director Social Capital, WBCSD, participated in a panel discussion focused on how inclusive business solutions can deliver both business and societal value, in full alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Walmart - Incorporating small producers into formal retail supply chains
This report - produced by the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan and Oxford University Consulting - examines lessons learned from Walmart’s engagement of small producers in developing countries in two arenas. The first includes a series of efforts to incorporate smallholder farmers into Walmart’s agricultural supply chain. The second effort - Empowering Women Together -endeavored to sell handicrafts made by women-owned businesses through Walmart.com. The report describes the ecosystem needed, and provides guidelines as well as a checklist to assess whether suppliers meet the necessary conditions to engage fruitfully in transactions with a global retailer. Finally, it draws attention to the role and need for coordinating multiple partnerships in order to succeed in inclusive business activities.

News from around the world

Call for applications: Innovations Against Poverty (until 24 July 2017)
Innovations Against Poverty (IAP) is a specialized fund developed to identify and support innovative inclusive business ideas. IAP offers advisory support and non-reimbursable funding of up to EUR 200,000 to selected companies (of any size and origin) for inclusive business initiatives. Applications can be submitted for the following target sectors: agriculture and food, energy, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), and ICT; and the following target countries: Cambodia, Ethiopia, Uganda or Zambia.

How can inclusive business advance the Sustainable Development Goals?
In this blog, Jenny Melo - independent researcher and consultant – reflects on how the conversation about inclusive business and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is evolving, based on two publications by WBCSD and UNDP respectively. While awareness on inclusive business as a key solution to contribute to the SDGs is high, she advocates for going deeper into the conversation, asking for impact measurement and linking the advancement of specific inclusive business cases with the achievement of SDG targets.

Workshops & trainings

Executive education: Co-creating a fortune with the base of the pyramid, (2 to 6 October 2017, Ann Arbor, US)
Ted London and Stuart Hart are unquestionably two of the world’s top authorities in the inclusive business space. In a new, ground-breaking executive education program, they aim to share their knowledge from decades of research and professional experience helping companies building sustainable, scalable inclusive businesses. Aspiring enterprise leaders will come away ready to succeed in the unique, opportunity-rich base of the pyramid markets. The five-day program includes live simulations, case studies, team exercises, development of personalized action plans, cross-industry and cross-functional networking, social events and much more. 

Executive education program on inclusive business
Ashoka, HEC Paris, and Hystra offer training on inclusive business and value to prepare corporate executives in charge of designing, launching or scaling inclusive business projects. Its format is based on experiential learning and immersion, cutting-edge academic content, insights from pioneers in the field and peer-to-peer learning, condensed into an intensive 4-6 day session. In 2017, they sessions will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa on 22-27 May, and in Calais, France on 3-6 October.

Peer-to-peer exchange on the role of NGOs in inclusive business (4-6 September 2017, Berlin, Germany)
More and more NGOs are engaging in inclusive business approaches, either through partnerships with companies or by setting up and incubating inclusive businesses through their own projects. The questions is how – and what pitfalls need to be avoided? Endeva and BOP Inc are hosting a workshop to facilitate exchange of NGOs on their experiences.

Upcoming events

Rethinking Collaboration for Social Impact (10-11 July 2017, Oxford, UK)
Hosted by Business Fights Poverty at Saïd Business School, Oxford University, this 2-day annual event brings together over 200 experts and practitioners from business, civil society, government and academia, and includes an interactive mix of expert panels, delegate-led sessions and action-focused workshops. Rethinking collaboration, the role of business, and impact through finance are key topics on the agenda. Register free of charge for an inspiring deep-dive into the theory and practice of how business can collaborate for social impact.

ASEAN Business Awards and Inclusive Business Summit (6 September 2017, Manila, Philippines)
The summit aims at enhancing regional awareness about inclusive business as an innovative solution to make economic growth trickle down. Following the summit, the ASEAN Business Awards recognize outstanding enterprises in the region and, for the first time in 2017, reward inclusive businesses with a special award for business models that sustainably create social impact through the company’s core business operations.

Tools & reports

Reaching scale in access to energy
The energy access landscape has been moving rapidly in the past few years: new technologies, emerging leaders, pay-as-you-go, momentum for renewables. Eight years after its first report on energy access, Hystra has just released a new research on opportunities to scale, drawing lessons from the in-depth analysis of pioneer practitioners. The report is accompanied by a collection of 26 case studies from leading practitioners.

Digital wage payments as a catalyst for more efficient, transparent and inclusive business in the garment sector
The Better Than Cash Alliance has released research about the business benefits and social impact of digitizing wage payments in garment factories in Bangladesh. The research examines that have transitioned workers’ wage payments from cash to digital, saving approximately 750 hours of production a month, due to workers spending less time away from the production line and reducing costs by more than 85 percent within two years. At the same time, moving toward a digital economy supports financial inclusion by drawing mainly female, previously unbanked workers into the formal financial system and building financial skills.

New toolkit to test inclusive business maturity
The Inclusive Business Maturity Toolkit – developed by the Business Call to Action - seeks to help companies understand the state of existing inclusive business efforts, placing them along a spectrum of six maturity levels. It then recommends next steps towards establishing a commercially viable inclusive business. Inclusive business maturity is independent of sector, company size, or even country of operation. Rather, inclusive business maturity is dictated by how the inclusive business is financed; what the financial expectations of it are; how it is positioned within a company’s strategy; and the amount of impact it can have.

Thank you for your ongoing interest and participation in our work.

Davide Fiedler
Manager, Social Impact, WBCSD
fiedler@wbcsd.org