Based on research presented at The Harvard Business School’s first-ever conference on business approaches to poverty alleviation, Business Solutions for the Global Poor brings together perspectives from leading academics and corporate, non-profit and public sector managers. The contributors draw on practical and dynamic how-to insights from leading BOP ventures from more than twenty countries world-wide. This important volume reflects poverty’s multi-faceted nature and a broad range of actors—multinational and local businesses, entrepreneurs, civil society organizations and governments—that play a role in its alleviation.
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Praise for Business Solutions for the Global Poor
"This excellent collection including business contributions from 11 countries, demonstrates how creating shared value—for shareholders and society—is the basis for a long-term successful business."
—Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, chairman and CEO, Nestlé
"It is the rare mix of breadth and depth that makes this collection so extraordinary and so valuable. We are introduced to the world's poor in detail, learn the many ways that business can help them work their way out of poverty, and told what governments and citizens' groups must do to make this happen. Business leaders even discover how they can generate both economic and social value."
—Stephan Schmidheiny, founder, World Business Council for Sustainable Development
"This book provides excellent case studies that vividly describe how new business models can address the problems and the opportunities at the 'bottom of the pyramid'; it thereby shows how corporate social responsibility can be embedded into normal commercial operations. The fact that these case studies are drawn from many industries on several continents add greatly to its credibility."
—Antony Burgmans, chairman, Unilever
"This is a very important book. If it's widely read and widely applied, it might even prove to be a world-changing book. Expert contributors from different nations take an unsentimental look at the world's poorest 3 billion people and ask: are there new ways of doing business that could be both beneficial for the poor and profitable for companies? Their answers are imaginative, practical and encouragingly positive."
—Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO, WPP
"This volume focuses on a challenge that business, worldwide, has hitherto not regarded as being within its ambition: the challenge of banishing poverty. . . . . The book makes a significant contribution towards setting business on that endeavor."
—Rattan N. Tata, chairman, Tata Sons Limited
In September 2000, the United Nations set forth a Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of people living in extreme poverty by the year 2015. While there is still much work to be done to reach this goal, the men and women who dwell at the base of the economic pyramid (BOP) are capturing the attention of corporate executives and senior managers. More and more businesses are redefining their interactions with the poor from an obligation to one integral to continued business growth and profitability.
Based on research presented at The Harvard Business School's first-ever conference on business approaches to poverty alleviation, Business Solutions for the Global Poor brings together perspectives from leading academics and corporate, nonprofit and public sector managers. The contributors draw on practical and dynamic how-to insights from leading BOP ventures from more than twenty countries worldwide. This important volume reflects poverty's multi-faceted nature and a broad range of actors—multinational and local businesses, entrepreneurs, civil society organizations and governments—that play a role in its alleviation.
The book examines the characteristics, preferences, and habits of the poor. It includes illustrative case studies that explore the role of business in meeting the poor's basic needs for security, healthcare, housing and utilities. The contributors show how companies have successfully adapted their value proposition to the needs of low-income, and poor consumers in the retail, technology, and consumer good sectors. The book also reveals how the private sector can help facilitate the integration of the poor into the global production system. In addition, Business Solutions for the Global Poor outlines the challenges companies face when seeking to operate at the base of the pyramid and includes overarching business principles for serving the BOP.
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