Sustainable Business at the Base of the Pyramid
Many so-called ‘Base of the Pyramid' initiatives by companies focus on the provision of essential products and services, new jobs and economic opportunities to the poor, thereby contributing to the UN Millennium Development Goals. This Laboratory aims to explore areas in which the public and private sector share common interests and correlative competencies. From here the intention is to combine efforts and funding where possible, enhance mutual understanding, exchange practical experiences, and identify concrete areas for action.
The outcomes of the project have been published as part of CSR Europe's Toolbox at www.csreurope.org/toolbox.
CSR Europe members and Laboratory participants can access additional information in the members' area.
In light of the Millennium Goals, many international initiatives are looking at how businesses can contribute to poverty alleviation whilst combining the creation of wealth and opportunities. The ambition is clear: to develop new business models that create economic activity at the base of the pyramid, providing people with low incomes access to products and services that address their basic needs for hygiene, nutrition, education, mobility, communication and work.
This Laboratory defines ‘Base of the Pyramid' (BOP) approaches as business activities that produce social results in emerging markets that involve ‘re-engineering' of existing business models. It will look specifically at enhancing collaboration between the public and the private sectors, with the objective to accelerate the creation of such initiatives.
The project starts with an analysis of the current situation, looking at the drivers behind the creation of BOP initiatives from the private sector perspective, to then asses the blockages that prevent or slows down such creation. Through enhanced understanding of current European development policy strategies and financing mechanisms, the lab will explore how companies, stakeholders, the European Commission and other institutions can jointly foster and accelerate BOP initiatives.
Main Project Objectives and Targets
Enhance mutual understanding between the public and the private sector on their innovative roles towards social and economic development in emerging economies
Explore areas of mutual benefit and support between the public and the private sector and other stakeholders to combine funding for projects aimed at facilitating the creation of social and sustainable business.
Exchange practical experience and identify concrete areas for action
- Policy Recommendations and Project Proposal
- This will come in the form of a working paper which will have several sections (or 'chapters') which will focus on different aspects of private-public collaboration in developmental work
- The developmental work detailed will include:
- define sustainable enterprise initiatives at the base of the pyramid;
- provide an overview of base of the pyramid and development initiatives (both public and private);
- an analyse of the barriers and gaps across BOP initiatives, and;
- provide a guide for solutions, by highlighting current best practices and the available public support
- From this analysis the Laboratory will provide EU institutions with one or more concrete proposals on how the EU and companies could mutually support the scaling up of BOP initiatives
ACP Business Climate Facility (BIZ CLIM), Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Solidar, and Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ)
Unilever, Vodafone, British Telecom, France Telecom, GDF SUEZ Microsoft, Nestlé, Novartis, Procter & Gamble
Jan Noterdaeme, European C'homme'Pany on behalf of CSR Europe
+32 (0)541 16 25-497 48 43 47
Jani Lopez, CSR Europe
+32 (0)2 541 1618
Henri de Reboul, IMS - Entreprendre pour la Cité
+33 1 43 87 52 52
Olivia Verger, IMS - Entreprendre pour la Cité
+33 1 43 87 8486
Milestones - 2008
- 01 February: Introductory Meeting with DG Adico of the European Commission
- 14 February: 2nd Workshop Meeting, hosted by CSR Europe, Brussels - identifying challenges, needs, and potential solutions; delegation of draft writing to companies and stakeholders
- 04 March: 2nd High-Level Meeting of the European Alliance for CSR in Brussels (CEOs only)
- April: Berlin, EU-African Union Summit / 3rd Lab session, Berlin / 2nd revision working paper (day before or after EU-African Union Summit)
- 19 June: CSR Europe General Assembly - Review of all Laboratories, Laboratory meeting with the European Commission for Development, hosted by Viscount Davignon
- September: Editorial Group meeting - finalising and approving deliverable content
- November: Assembly of the European Alliance - Dissemination of final of the Working Paper
Milestones - 2007
- 13 Sept 07: 1st Lab session, hosted by Danone in Paris
- 10 October: BOP meeting hosted by Viscount Davignon, making links with European institutions
- 5-7 November: Accra, Donor Committee meeting*
- 29 November: 3rd European MarketPlace on CSR - Lab session with selected key stakeholders; Outline of the Working Paper
*Not a regular Lab activity although some participants will attend