Lauren Abendschein

BOP Activity Update: Fair Trade, Social Marketing, Microfinance

equal exchangeThe four newest organizations in the activity database have remarkably different business models for engaging with the BOP, yet they all do so successfully. Equal Exchange has shaken up traditional distribution chains and created value by cutting out multiple intermediaries and sharing risk with coffee producers. Along similar lines, TransFair USA has benefited the BOP through proving the demand for fairly traded goods. On the other hand, Population Services International has shown that rigorous application of traditional for-profit business techniques can be extremely effective for achieving social goals. MicroCredit Enterprises has mobilized private sector investment to support microfinance institutions, further illustrating new applications for old models. Check out more detailed descriptions below and in the activity database.

MicroCredit Enterprises

MicroCredit Enterprises is committed to reducing poverty by mobilizing private investment capital to finance micro-businesses of poor families throughout the developing world. MicroCredit Enterprises gears its entrepreneurial results to produce jobs, sustain micro-businesses and improve human lives.

MicroCredit Enterprises leverages the collateral assets of individuals and institutions to borrow debt capital in the United States which is channeled through overseas, locally-run, non-governmental microfinance organizations in order to make thousands of tiny business loans to local entrepreneurs. MicroCredit Enterprises’ reverses the cycle of poverty in economically distressed countries using the tools of the marketplace to provide self-help opportunities to millions of impoverished women and their families.

Population Services International

Population Services International (PSI) is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. that harnesses the vitality of the private sector to address the health problems of low-income and vulnerable populations in more than 60 developing countries. PSI achieves its mission principally through social marketing of family planning and health products and services, and behavior change communications.

TransFair USA

TransFair USA
’s mission is to build a more equitable and sustainable model of international trade that benefits producers, consumers, industry and the earth. They achieve that mission by certifying and promoting Fair Trade products.

TransFair audits transactions between US companies offering Fair Trade Certified? products and the international suppliers from whom they source, in order to guarantee that the farmers and farm workers behind Fair Trade Certified goods were paid a fair, above-market price. In addition, annual inspections conducted by FLO ensure that strict socioeconomic development criteria are being met using increased Fair Trade revenues.

Equal Exchange

Equal Exchange was founded in 1986 to create a new approach to trade, one that engages consumers and builds relationships through cooperative principles. The company is structured as a for-profit, worker-owned cooperative. Every worker-owner invests in the company, and over 300 outside shareholders have invested as well.

academia, international trade