The Triple Bottom Line

Q. How did you conceive of the idea that serving the needs of the four billion people at the base of the economic pyramid (BoP)–as opposed to continuing to focus on the 800 million at the top–could be done in a way that would be,? as you put it, ?culturally appropriate, environmentally sustainable and economically profitable??

I think that there’s real value in contrarian thinking. So I’ve consciously practiced it for a long time. When I hear accepted gospel and established wisdom and platitudes that are just accepted without question I turn them on their head.? Accordingly, there can now be little doubt that the best way to both generate growth and satisfy social and environmental stakeholders is to focus on emerging markets.? By this, I do not refer to incremental market expansion targeted at the wealthy few in the developing world.? Instead, the best path will be through a Great Leap Downward–to the base of the economic pyramid?where more than four billion people have been bypassed or damaged by globalization.? It is here that companies will find the most exciting growth markets of the future?and the basis for a formidable sustainability vision.? It is also here that the disruptive technologies needed to address the social and environmental challenges associated with economic growth can best be incubated and developed.