Business Fights Poverty Fortnightly Roundup

By Annabel Beales, Writer, Business Fights Poverty

The New Year presents an opportunity to set new resolutions and examine our intentions for the future. This year, the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and the political unrest in the USA has made these questions more pressing than usual. What is the future that we want, and what is our role, both professionally and personally, in achieving it?

The New Year presents an opportunity to set new resolutions and examine our intentions for the future. This year, the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and the political unrest in the USA has made these questions more pressing than usual. What is the future that we want, and what is our role, both professionally and personally, in achieving it?

On 21st January, Business Fights Poverty are continuing our Virtual Summit Series with a free online event dedicated to this question. Rebuild Better: Where Now? will explore the key trends, challenges and opportunities that 2021 presents, in partnership with Forum for the Future, Amref Health Africa and Business Partners to CONVINCE (COVID-19 New Vaccine Information Communication & Engagement).

The half-day session will include:

  • A webinar on how business can support the roll-out and uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine, and how self-care approaches can help to bolster strained healthcare systems across the world;
  • A webinar exploring the mindsets that are key to creating a just and regenerative future;
  • An interactive workshop, in which you can engage with peers on the challenges and opportunities of 2021.

We hope that many of you will join us for this important discussion.

You can gain a flavour of these conversations in some of the content that we have published over the last two weeks.

  • We can’t ignore mindsets if we want to reset capitalism. This is the message of Sally Uren and Caroline Ashley of Forum for the Future, who argue that the future of capitalism will be determined by ‘hearts and minds, not the market.’ As governments, businesses and civil society look to rebuild better, their article sets out the implications of four very different mindsets for the future of capitalism, people and planet. 
  • In ‘Inclusive businesses’ insights to staying resilient in times of crisis’, Susann Tischendorf, Director and Sabrina Bennis, Trainee at Inclusive Business Action Network explain why inclusive businesses and resilience ‘go hand in hand’, particularly in times of crisis. Inclusive businesses have been well-placed to weather the challenges of COVID-19 whilst also stepping up to support the most vulnerable.
  • In ‘The shifting expectations of business: aligning strategy, business model and culture with a sustainable purpose’, Ben Kellard, Director of Business Strategy, CISL, argues that we are ‘in the midst of a significant global transition’ to a sustainable economy, and that business and the finance sector have a crucial role to play. In his words, ‘Businesses, and their advisors, should question whether the purpose and strategy is aligned with delivering a sustainable economy, and therefore fundamentally supporting or under-mining their role in the global transition.’

We also have two Spotlight Podcasts on these themes for you to enjoy:

  • Cat Tully, Founder, School of International Futures shares her thoughts on what the future could bring, from the impact of the growing confidence of the African continent; a call for intergenerational fairness; and movement towards a post-carbon economy. Listen to hear practical steps to help individuals and organisations better plan and prepare for the future.
  •  Heidi Larson and Scott Ratzan on their current collaboration, Business Partners to CONVINCE, which is a global communication and education initiative to promote COVID-19 vaccine uptake amongst private sector workers. Heidi Larsen is an expert in global health, human rights and social mobilization, and currently Professor of Anthropology, Risk and Decision Science at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Clinical Professor of Health Metrics Sciences, University of Washington. Scott Ratzen is an expert in health communication and health literacy. He is founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Health Communication: International Perspectives in addition to holding many other positions of note in his field. Truly a conversation not to be missed.

We are also delighted to bring you more stories about practical initiatives that improve the lives of the most vulnerable and take real steps towards a more equitable and sustainable future:

  • In Clearing the Air in Darfur, Ian Derbyshire, Corporate Partnerships Manager, Practical Action explains how their collaboration with the Women’s Development Association is tackling a major cause of death for women and children: the firewood and charcoal stoves in their homes. A project to introduce Liquid Petroleum Gas stoves to communities in North Darfur has drastically reduced indoor pollution, with benefits to health and the environment. It has also freed up time and money for women to use in other ways.
  • TRANSFORM, a joint initiative between Unilever, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and EY, is delivering market-based sanitation solutions in low income areas. Their article provides insight into how bringing the best facets of the private and public sectors together with innovative local entrepreneurs can deliver long-term impact.
  • In Diversifying livelihoods for Maasai people, Dr Jenny Cousins, Regional Africa Conservation Manager at WWF-UK shows how small-scale enterprises, for example bee-keeping, are helping Maasai communities out of poverty and providing women with greater independence. Diversification is particularly vital given the disastrous impacts of COVID-19 on the tourism industry in the region. 
  • The University of Birmingham recently established the Birmingham Plastics Network, a multidisciplinary team working across science and art focused on kicking our addiction to plastics. Professor Ian Thomson, Director, Lloyds Banking Group Centre for Responsible Business explains that this new collaboration will look at the problem of plastic waste from all angles – human, environmental, economic, regulatory, political and technological – taking into account the drivers of plastic use and developing workable solutions.
  • Companies – including Chobani, Under Armour, Warby Parker, and Hilton – have pledged around 1250 opportunities for Business Mentorship for LGBTQ Refugees in North America. Tent Partnership’s article explains that these mentorships will help refugees integrate into their new communities and job markets, and will also benefit businesses by unleashing their resilience, ingenuity and creativity. 

We look forward to collaborations and conversations with our community in 2021, as we continue to ask ‘Where Now’ and work together to shape a more equitable and resilient future.

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