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Inclusive business a key contributor to the new global development agenda

Inclusive business a key contributor to the new global development agenda
Photo credit: Business Call to Action (BCtA)

25 Sep 2015

Business Call to Action sees strong increases in membership, commitments to improve lives and livelihoods for world’s poor people

From small social entrepreneurships to large national and multinational companies, from urban neighborhoods to remote communities, from the farmyard to the schoolhouse, an increasing number of companies have rallied around the Business Call to Action (BCtA) by committing to inclusive business models designed to support the new sustainable development agenda and drive growth.

At its Sixth Annual Forum on 24 September 2015, BCtA announced commitments by 33 companies in support of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is the largest number of new members in a single year and represents a significant increase in the scope of commitments by companies to use viable businesses ventures that include those at the base of the economic pyramid as suppliers, distributors, retailers or customers. And it brings to 137 the number of businesses that have joined BCtA’s leadership platform since it launched in 2008.

“The private sector is a valuable – and valued – partner in our collective efforts to support sustainable development around the world. We have seen major increases in the private sector’s interest and involvement in development over recent years,” said Magdy Martínez-Solimán, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of Bureau for Policy and Programme Support. “Companies cannot advance inclusive business alone, they need support from many stakeholders which brings us back to the importance of partnerships in realising this new global development agenda.”

New BCtA member companies have made commitments to 10 of the 17 new SDGs. These include commitments to SDG 2 (Zero Hunger) to help 5.4 million farmers experience better agricultural yields; SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being), to ensure health and promote well-being for 100.5 million people; SDG 5 (Gender Equality) to achieve ender equity and empowerment for 3.2 million women through increased productivity and revenue generating activities; and SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), by creating 100,000 full time jobs. The new members, 68 percent of which are small- to medium-sized and social enterprises, are working in 37 locations in 19 countries (including not previously part of BCtA’s network) with 57 percent in Africa, 30 percent in Asia and 14 percent in Latin America. Six are led by women.

“The advantages of inclusive business are tangible, spurring the increase in the number of companies engaging in these innovative models and joining BCtA. For businesses, our newest members’ initiatives are helping to drive product innovation (Banka BioLoo, Basic Water Needs), open new markets (AccuHealth, Bata), strengthen supply chains (Lal Teer, Equator Kenya,) uncover new sources of profitability (CrediFamilia, Ignitia), and enhance long-term competiveness (Novo Nordisk, Access Afya),” said Sahba Sobhani, Office in Charge, Business Call to Action and Global Programme Advisor, Private Sector, BPPS. “As a result, people at the base of the economic pyramid are enjoying the benefits of higher productivity, sustainable earnings and greater empowerment. Engaging in Inclusive business offers the potential to unleash the economic power of the private sector to realise the SDGs.”

BCtA’s Sixth Annual Forum showcased the potential for and evidence of inclusive businesses aligning their core business activities with the SDGs and featured leaders from BCtA member companies, as well as senior representatives from governments, bilateral donors, civil society and the United Nations.

New Business Call to Action Members 2015

  • AACE Foods: Combating malnutrition in Nigeria while engaging smallholder farmers in value chains.

  • Access Afya: Bringing affordable health care to low-income families in Kenya

  • AccuHealth: Expanding tele-monitoring of chronic non-communicable disease in Latin America.

  • aWhere: Providing agricultural intelligence to smallholder farmers for better decision making.

  • Banka BioLoo: Improving health and dignity in India through sustainable and affordable sanitation solutions.

  • Basic Water Needs: Expanding access to safe drinking water for communities at the base of the economic pyramid in Malawi.

  • Bata Shoe Company: Empowering women in Bangladesh, Latin America and Africa through the Rural Sales Program.

  • BIDCO Africa: Building the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and entrepreneurs along the value chain.

  • Centurion Systems: Building technical capacity and increasing the employability of low-income youth in Kenya

  • Contigo: Providing financial services to bottom-of-the-pyramid customers in Mexico.

  • Credifamilia: Increasing access to mortgage financing for low-income customers in Colombia.

  • DDD Kenya: Enabling Kenyan youth to bring their families out of poverty through employment, skills and education.

  • Equator Kenya: Increasing smallholder farmers’ productivity in Kenya through technology.

  • GE Healthcare: Delivering sustainable, affordable healthcare through education, training and low-cost technologies.

  • Ignitia: Providing reliable weather forecasting for informed decision making by farmers in the tropics.

  • Ilumexico: Expanding solar energy solutions in off-grid rural communities in Mexico.

  • Lal Teer Seed: Enhancing the sustainability of Bangladesh’s agricultural sector.

  • Lotus Foods: Cultivating markets for sustainably produced rice in Asia and Africa.

  • Medtronic Surgical Technologies, Inc.: Preventing hearing loss and empowering women in India through the Shruti Program.

  • Mozambikes: Improving living standards in Mozambique through access to transportation.

  • Nairobi Techpharm: Pharmnet®: a network of trusted pharmacies in Kenya.

  • Novo Nordisk: Facilitating access to diabetes care for bottom-of-the-pyramid communities in Kenya.

  • ONergy: Providing rural communities with access to clean energy in India.

  • Pamoja Cleantech: Providing off-grid productive power from sustainable biomass for rural Ugandans.

  • Pronaca: Strengthening the supply of domestically sourced corn in Ecuador

  • Sanofi: Providing diabetes care for low-income people in Colombia

  • salaUno: Providing accessible eye care for the bottom-of-the-pyramid communities in Mexico.

  • Sevamob: Increasing access to primary healthcare in India via mobile clinics and a tele-health marketplace.

  • Shiseido: Empowering women and improving hygiene in rural Bangladesh.

  • Shubham Housing Development Finance Company: Building communities through access to home financing in India.

  • Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Holdings, Inc.: Enhancing the resilience of small-scale farmers across Southeast Asia.

  • Tolaro Global: Building the cashew nut value chain with smallholder farmers in Benin

  • Vava Coffee: Expanding access to credit and financial training for smallholder coffee farmers in Kenya.


About Business Call to Action (BCtA): The Business Call to Action challenges companies to advance core business activities that are inclusive of poor populations and contribute to the achievement of sustainable development goals. Worldwide, 137 companies, from SMEs to multinationals, have responded to the BCtA by making commitments to improve the lives and livelihoods of millions through commercially-viable business ventures that engage low-income people as consumers, producers, suppliers, and distributors of goods and services.

The Business Call to Action is a unique multilateral alliance between key donor governments including the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), UK Department for International Development (DFID), US Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Finland, and the United Nations Development Programme – which hosts the secretariat – in collaboration with leading global institutions, such as the United Nations Global Compact, and the Inter-American Development Bank’s Opportunities for the Majority Initiative.

Source UNDP
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Date 25 Sep 2015
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