Companies in BOP markets will be forced into being ethical

Any long-term development plan of a multinational corporation is going to eventually turn to the market at the bottom of the pyramid. How long it will take for this approach to business to become popular is still to be determined, but with increasing globalization and emphasis on developing countries, investment in areas that have been ignored in the past will grow.

Companies investing in developing regions will be forced to engage in responsible behaviors, firstly because of social pressures (if mainstream news sources don’t cover ethical violations, the internet is a perpetually-expanding source of news), and secondly, because they will have to in order to survive. The company of the future will not only have to engage in behaviors that are marketable to the public, but also encourage innovation and efficiency.

In the realm of energy, one need only look at GE and GM, industry leaders that are looking to more energy-efficient methods of doing business. This is not only because of the pressures of rising oil prices and instability in the Middle East, but also because they are looking to lead the pack and cut their business costs.

As for issues like selling candy to the poor, who is to determine whether or not this is ethical? As long as there is a demand and profit to be made, someone will be there to sell. Which behaviors should be deemed “unethical,” and who should do the determining?