Treasure Hunt at the Bottom of the Pyramid

Monday, August 20, 2007

When leaders like YC Deveshwar, Subodh Bhargava and Arun Maira gather to discuss sustainability issues, they mean business. Brainstorming in Agra earlier this week, they not only discussed how sustainability challenges can be converted into business opportunities, but also unveiled their vision for the common good.

The first ’Business Leaders Programme: Strategies and Leadership for Creating Sustainable Organisat-ions’, August 10-14, was attended by a host of business leaders, academics and thought leaders.

Saying that the role of business is to serve society by creating goods and services to improve the quality of life, ITC chairman YC Deveshwar added that “it becomes easier to integrate sustainability into business models if markets reward it”.

Beginning by focussing on the sustainability challenge facing businesses and locating it in a multi-stakeholder perspective on contemporary issues, other speakers went on to share experiences on developing a business case, mainstreaming it and managing successful transformation to integrate sustainability.

The conceptual framework and strategic insight was laid threadbare by thought leaders like Stuart Hart and John Elkington. They were flown in for the event by the CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development (CII-CESD) and the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIM-B).

Looking ahead, Hart advocated developing low-cost and sustainable bottom-up business models instead of making incremental changes in the existing businesses. He insisted on end-users? ownership of the business model at every stage to co-create relevant and appropriate value. “There is a need to come up with sustainable and innovative business models for the bottom of the pyramid market,” he elaborated.

A world authority on sustainability in business, Hart is better known for his path-breaking article ?The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid?, which he co-authored with management guru CK Prahalad in 2002.

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Source: The Financial Express (link opens in a new window)