John Paul

Business & Development: What?s the right approach?

Over the course of four weeks in April and May, 400 people participated in the online discussion Business & Development: What’s the right approach. The exchange was moderated by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), a coalition of 175 international companies united by a shared commitment to sustainable development via the three pillars of economic growth, ecological balance and social progress.

The debate was very rich in both its content and its diversity of opinions. It provided a lot of interesting insigths into the practical challenges of developing pro-poor business models. Specifically, the dialogue addressed the following six questions:

1. Do you think there a risk that “the poor will be persuaded to purchase things they did not formerly need”, and which won’t make them richer?

2. Do you think that growing markets in developing countries will result in additional strain on the environment?

3. Do you think that multinationals companies investing in developing countries represent a threat to local enterprises?

4. Can we also find ways to develop the capacities of poor communities to be local suppliers for MNCs and include the poor as producers into the value chains of international business?

5. What is needed to replicate and scale business solutions for development?

6. How long should companies wait to be sure that they are not creating ?unsustainable lifestyles? beforing going into new markets?

At only 4 pages in length, the summary document is concise and worth a quick read. An archive of all postings can be accessed through the WBCSD site.

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World Resources Institute