Category Archives: Insights & Inspirations

Business Alliance Against Chronic Hunger – BOP and Business for Development

What is the role of business in creating sustainable development?

baach_vegetables_brentstirtonThe Business Alliance Against Chronic Hunger is a truly innovative, interesting, and promising approach exploring how to build on the capacity and dynamics of business to create sustainable development and alleviate hunger and poverty. The initiative was started in 2006 by a group of visionary CEOs and public leaders, who outlined an action plan for business to help reduce hunger. Through BAACH, business leverage their expertise and capabilities to improve value chains – from production processing, and packaging, to retailing and marketing, with the aim to increase food supplies, nutrition, and income in regions with malnutrition and food insecurity.

The pilot project of the BAACH is now taking action on the ground in Kenya, in the Siaya region. Hear Roselyn Omondi, the program manager of the BAACH tell about the project and the experiences so far in this short video-interview:

Why is BAACH an important and interesting initiative?

Milton Friedman long time ago argued that the business of business is business, and their contribution to society would be through creating jobs and paying taxes, and maybe once in a while channel a bit of the surplus for charity. And indeed, in many development sector arenas the expected role of business still seems to be as donors of generous grants as part of a CSR scheme. Donations do have their reason to be, since for sure not all challenges and activities can be solved with a business model. But for really sustainable development, we need sustainability both on social, environmental, and economical parameters. Continue reading

When BOP meets Clean Tech – Insight and Outcome of the Cornell Global Forum on Sustainable Enterprise

The Great Convergence

What happens when you bring together 100 change agents, social entrepreneurs, business leaders, intrapreneurs, academics, development sector representatives, and financiers for 3 days in a hotel in New York?

What you get is a lot of connections, a lot of conversation and a lot of conspiration in the most positive sense of the work on how to develop the way forward for bringing clean tech solutions to people in the developing countries.

Personally, what I take away from the Cornell Global Forum on the Great Convergence between Clean Tech and Base of the Pyramid is a lot of inspiration and good conversations ! Very few times in my life have I had the privilege of being in the company of so many visionary people from around the world with their hearts and minds in the right places. Every evening when retiring to my hotel room my head was buzzing with new inspirations, insights and ideas on how to incorporate the strengths of the private sector in delivering solutions to the social and environmental challenges in the world.
Continue reading

INVITATION: Workshop on Climate Challenges and Base of the Pyramid

The Great Convergence

INVITATION:

Practitioner workshop on BOP and climate challenges at the Joint Actions on Climate Change Conference in Aalborg, Denmark, on June 10 2009.

Driving forward The Great Convergence between Green Technology and Base of the Pyramid

For the full program and further details, please download the invitation here: BOP WORKSHOP AT JAOCC – JUNE 10 2009

PLEASE NOTE: REGISTRATION DEADLINE EXTENDED FOR JUNE 1ST! COME JOIN US!

Introduction: Setting the Scene for Green Tech and BOP

•    4 billion people at the base of the economic pyramid need basic products and services to escape poverty and build sustainable lives in a reality where the global climate changes is a constant challenge
•    A range of sustainable technological solutions already exists, but they seldom reach the needs and markets in the developing countries

Based on this apparent paradox we invite representatives from private and public sector, NGO’s, and academia to explore the potential of business and cross-sector collaboration to bring innovative and environmentally sustainable solutions to developing countries.

The workshop will build on the work and recommendations from the summit of Cornell Global Forum on Sustainable Enterprise in New York in early June 2009, where 100 international leaders and change agents across sectors meet for 3 days to develop solutions and drive forward The Great Convergence between the fields of green technology and Base of the Pyramid (BOP) strategies for doing business in developing countries (www.cornellglobalforum.org).

As part of the Joint Actions on Climate Change June 10th 2009, Aalborg University (www.jaocc.net) we will take these insights and recommendations further and explore barriers and opportunities to develop and implement business-based solutions for climate challenges in developing countries.

The program includes a cross-sector panel debate on the recommendations from Cornell Global Forum, and workshops on BOP Business models, BOP cross-sector partnerships, and people centred innovation with BOP.

Note that deadline for registration is coming up soon – the 29th of May. We hope to see you there!

The workshop is co-hosted by BOP Learning Lab at Confederation of Danish Industries, access2innovation, and BOP Innovation.

Base of the Pyramid – The Business of Development

Shakti Lady“The world of today has problems which cannot be solved by thinking the way we thought when we created them”

These words of wisdom from Einstein provide the outset for my article in the online magazine “International Development” where I introduce the concept of Base of the Pyramid to an audience primarily from the development sector, and explore the potential of a closer collaboration between business and development through the mindset and methodologies of innovation.

Download the article International Development 13 – Louise Koch, or read it online (p.23)  in International Development HERE:

Social Innovation Tour to South Africa, May 2009

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Are you interested in exploring social innovation and entrepreneurship in South Africa? Or do you know other people who might be?

Then check out this Learning Journey that will give you insigth and inspiration from the new South Africa that is emerging from social entrepreneurship and cross-sector partnerships. Download the program here: Africa CREATE Invitation

CSR-driven Innovation and Base of the Pyramid

CSR-Driven Innovation

What happens when you link CSR in a company to the innovation process and core strategy of a company? Hopefully, new sustainable innovations and more growth to the company.

The Danish Centre for CSR (CenSa) at the Danish Commerce and Companies Agency (DCCA) is running the project on CSR-Driven Innovation in cooperation with the Nordic Innovation Centre and Nordic partners from different universities. The project aims at supporting the business potential among Nordic small and medium-sized enterprises by combining the fields of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), design, innovation and growth.

The outcome of the project so far has been a report with case-studies on a range of Nordic companies using CSR as a core strategy. The report outlines a framework for different typologies of CSR-driven companies, with different ways of combinging social impact and profit as either means or goal. This is how it looks:

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This framework is also useful when considering different strategies and visions for engaging in business with BoP. The report includes BoP as one of the ways to do CSR-driven innovation.

You can download the full report, plus a thorough literature review on CSR-driven innovation at the project site HERE

What is Base of the Pyramid

Since the turn of the century there has been an increased focus on the role and the opportunities of the private sector in creating not only economical but also social and environmental development in developing countries. Simultaneously, within business and amongst consumers, there is a growing focus on the social responsibility and ethics of business. It seems, that the business of business is not only business anymore.

The concept of “Base of the Pyramid” (BoP) was coined by  professor C.K. Prahalad with the book “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid” in 2002. Another important figure in this field is Stuart Hart from Cornell University, who has been a co-thinker together with Prahalad, and amongst other publications wrote “Capitalism at the Crossroads”, where he draws a strategic framework for business go “go beyond green” and engage directly in corporate social innovation to do good and do well.

The basic idea for the cross-over between business and development is, that business can provide products and services that are very much needed among poor people in both urban and rural areas, and that this should be done by building business models that includes the people not only as consumers, but also as producers and employees, thereby giving them the income to buy the products and services they need, and to create a life of well being. Companies can in this way create new markets and at the same time alleviate poverty and other pressing problems. This is what the United Nations has termed development through creating inclusive markets.