Ethical Business Actions and Poverty Reduction
Poverty alleviation is the main concern of many countries. Poverty is said to be an economic, social, cultural, political and moral phenomenon. Like the issue, its solutions are multi-faceted. It requires a collective action from governments, corporations, citizens, consumers, workers, investors and educators.
In the Philippines, poverty prevails in 25.8 percent of the population, and 80 percent of whom reside in the countryside. Experts refer to poverty as an agriculture phenomenon which is caused by low farm productivity, poor diversification of the sector and limited value-adding in the agri-food chains.
A shameful condition
The country’s poverty is more of a shameful condition than a pitiful one. It has not substantially improved since the 1990s. There are lessons to be learned from the past experiences and current examples of its Asean peers who have been successful in reducing poverty through an inclusive strategy, responsive research and development, clear and consistent policies, quality rural infrastructure and sound resource allocation based on a recent book of University of Asia and the Pacific.
What can business do? The business sector is the main source of economic activity that aids reduction in poverty. According to UN Global Compact, business activity must be sustainable – “delivering value not just financially, but also in social, environmental and ethical terms.”
The part of ethics that has to do with business actions or practice “involves concern about the acceptability, or lack thereof, of business practices subject to what society considers as right or wrong at a particular time” as cited by Benjamin Maturu of UN Development Programme.