Al Hammond

HBS conference on Global Poverty

“The question is not whether business has a role to play in alleviating poverty. We know that. The question is how.” With that statement, Harvard Business School Professor Kash Rangan opened a gathering of academics, business leaders from around the world, and development officials to discuss more than 30 research papers on the role of business in serving low-income communities. The companies presenting or whose efforts were being analyzed include Shell, Nestle, Ogilvy and Mather India, Cemex, Intel, Kodak, ITC, Hindustan Lever, Manila Water Company, and Shorebank. Social entrepreneurs and development agencies and their roles figure into the discussions too — nobody thinks companies can do this alone.

The discussions have been rich and sometimes passionate. We will post executive summaries of the papers in coming days, along with other insights. The conference agenda is available here.