A Year at the Intersection Between Business and Social Impact 

By Anna Johnson, Director of Communications, Business Fights Poverty

A little over a year ago, I had just met Zahid Torres-Rahman for the first time in London. Having searched high and low for a meaningful next step up the career ladder, within five minutes of meeting Zahid I knew that I wanted to be a part of his organisation, Business Fights Poverty.

Fortunately for me, there was a role on offer supporting Katie Hyson, Director of Thought Leadership and the host of one of the ‘Top 10 Poverty Podcasts You Must Follow in 2019’. I didn’t think twice about accepting. 

I never imagined I would find myself working at the intersection between business and social impact, and the past twelve months have been beyond eye-opening. If someone had said, you’ll be going to New York for the UN General Assembly week, undoubtedly this would have been met with a laugh. And yet, it really did happen. The week started with supporting the delivery of Business Fights Poverty NYC, where I was impressed by the insights shared during a roundtable organised as part of ‘How can we embed purpose authentically into business?’ a Business Fights Poverty Challenge. In addition, I had the pleasure of meeting some incredible social entrepreneurs and UN leaders, and gained invaluable knowledge whilst attending We The Future, and Business Call To Action’s 9th Annual Forum. I have also been in an honoured position to deepen relationships with people across Business Fights Poverty’s network – including our amazing Challenge Directors, Ambassadors, Content Partners, and the communications teams supporting the delivery of work being done by business to push the social impact agenda forwards. 

Another highlight for me has been the recent publication of Business Fights Poverty Magazine. The latest issue examines the top trends and key themes we are seeing across the agenda of business and social impact’. I am excited to share the latest news about Alice Allan’s second Business Fights Poverty Challenge (pg. 10) – which explores how businesses can advance gender equality across the value chain by engaging men as allies, developed in collaboration with AB InBev, Stanford University’s VMware Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab and CARE International. As we know, the gender divide is not always plain to see, and current data suggests that an almighty gap remains. Therefore, I encourage you to subscribe and join the Challenge to be among the first to receive launch information and access to the outputs, which will offer you practical actions, takeaways and insights to help you further gender equality in your own workplace.

Business Fights Poverty’s seasoned Challenge Director, David Norman, has been collaborating with Nestlé and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) to explore how businesses can harness technology to most effectively tackle modern slavery in their supply chains. Horrifyingly, the Global Slavery Index estimates 40.3 million people  are living in some form of modern slavery, including 24.9 million in forced labour. Inside this magazine, you can learn more about the work being done to tackle this issue and access a new report launched at the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, which shares findings from the Challenge (pg.8).

We’ve also got plans to deepen the dialogue and collaborate with those on the frontline, poised to tackle some of the most pressing social challenges of our time. Three I am really hoping to deepen my knowledge around, and collaborate. If your work is focused on:

  • Human Rights: 
  • Future Makers and entrepreneurs;
  • Climate and Communities

If not the above, be sure to consider additional key themes we are set to explore. Please get in contact with us directly at te**@bu*******************.org. to discuss how we can deepen our understanding, bridge knowledge gaps, and gain valuable insights on these topics.

I want to leave you with this closing thought: As we approach the end of the year and think forwards to the next, many of us experience that sensation of ‘Where has the time gone?’ which makes now as good a time as any to reflect. I hope this Business Fights Poverty Magazine provides you with something that gives you pause for thought. Whether you are already partnering with us or not, I’d love to hear your reactions to the content in this Issue. Can you share your insights and experiences, or suggest how we can collaborate in 2020 with even greater urgency and effectiveness? What were your biggest social issues of 2019 and what do you think 2020 will bring? As newly appointed Director of Communications, I welcome your contact because together we are stronger and we cannot allow the time to pass us by, given the scale of the challenges we face. 


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