Business Call to Action - Annual Forum on September 24 in New York City

Launched at the United Nations in 2008, the Business Call to Action (BCtA) challenges companies to develop inclusive business models that offer the potential for development impact along with commercial success. In more than 50 countries, 100 companies have responded to the BCtA by making commitments to improve the lives and livelihoods of millions of people through commercially viable business ventures that engage low-income people as consumers, producers, distributors, and suppliers of goods and services.

Published: Tue, Sep 16, 2014
Author: Filippo Veglio
Type: Insight

On September 24, the BCtA will hold its Fifth Annual Forum in New York City. The forum will take place in conjunction with the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly and the Secretary-General’s United Nations Climate Summit.

This invitation-only event will bring together chief executives from prominent BCtA member companies as well as senior representatives from governments, bilateral donors, civil society and the United Nations. As the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) approaches, the forum will focus on sustaining the momentum of inclusive business in the post-2015 development agenda, particularly in light of pressing issues such as climate change.

The day-long event (here is the agenda) will offer an opportunity to showcase innovative work, engage in peer-to-peer knowledge exchange, network and establish linkages with other leaders in the field. The agenda will consist of a breakfast session, three plenary sessions in the morning and two thematic breakout sessions in the afternoon, followed by a closing reception.

Expected outcomes include: enhanced knowledge among inclusive business practitioners in areas such as impact measurement and business model innovation; emerging partnerships between businesses and public-sector stakeholders; and increased visibility of member companies through global media coverage.

My colleague Lara Birkes, Director of Global Policy at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), will speak in the first plenary session, which is focused on commemorating the milestones of inclusive business. Having coined the term inclusive business back in 2005, the WBCSD is building on its long-standing work on this topic with the aim of scaling up action, gaining greater insights, and overcoming both internal and external barriers to scaling up these ventures around the world.

This year BCtA is teaming up with Business Fights Poverty, the world’s largest community of professionals harnessing business for social impact, to provide an online community portal for the Annual Forum. All plenary sessions will be streamed on this dedicated portal, along with exclusive articles and opportunities for participants and others to network and continue the discussion beyond the New York event.