The Business Fights Poverty Fortnightly Round-Up

By Annabel Beales, Writer, Business Fights Poverty

In the last fortnight, Business Fights Poverty joined with other business networks to call for renewed commitment to international aid; and highlighted how business is supporting young entrepreneurship, anti-racism, decent jobs, gender equality and tackling modern slavery. Plus, don’t miss our Rebuild Better Virtual Summit on Gender Equality on 3rd December 2020. 

Over the last fortnight, Business Fights Poverty has been alarmed by reports that the Treasury is due to cut foreign aid spending from 0.7% of GDP to 0.5% in 2021. The cut, due to be announced on Wednesday, comes on top of a £2.9 billion reduction in foreign aid spending over the course of this year. Our own experience with the COVID-19 Response Centre has shown that in order for business and economies to thrive, we must prioritise the people and communities who are the backbone of global supply chains, and who are often amongst the most vulnerable. UK foreign aid plays a crucial role in this work.

In a letter published by the Financial Times, we joined forces with Business in the Community, CBI, Ethical Trading Initiative, International Chambers of Commerce, The Partnering Initiative and UN Global Compact Network UK to urge the government to step up to the economic challenge of COVID-19 as a global leader. The letter adds the voice of the business community to those of former prime ministers and politicians, faith leaders and the not-for-profit sector who are also calling on the government to reconsider their approach.

Just as governments must take a lead, so too must business. This week we have heard about some wonderful examples of the business sector taking practical action:

  • In Unlocking the potential of young entrepreneurs to navigate COVID-19, find out about the work of Youth Business International, which has been supporting young entrepreneurs through the COVID-19 crisis, particularly those from marginalised groups. Helen Frost, Evidence and Learning Manager, provides insight into four critical approaches for supporting young entrepreneurs to thrive.
  • In Making agricultural trade unions accessible to women workers, Sabita Banerji, CEO THIRST, The International Roundtable for Sustainable Tea, shares lessons on how women are increasing their representation in trade unions and securing better working conditions through collective bargaining. The article draws from a recent dialogue with Oxfam and COLSIBA, sharing the experience of women in the Latin American banana sector and the tea sector in Malawi.
  • In response to the climate crisis, forward-looking CEOs are transitioning to new business models which design out waste and reclaim, recycle or reuse existing materials. Vicky Sins, Decarbonisation and Energy Transition Lead, World Benchmarking Alliance explains what we need to transition to a circular economy, and makes the case for a new benchmark to incentivise and support individual companies whilst driving systemic change.
  • We were delighted to create a Podcast with Merten Sievers, who leads value chain and enterprise development with the International Labor Organisation. The podcast highlights the impact of the COVID-19 on SMEs, and on the availability of decent work. Merten supported Business Fights Poverty in the development of a new toolkit, Building Back Better with Jobs, and the podcast discusses practical ways in which companies of all sizes can benefit from mainstreaming quality jobs into business practice.

The issue of gender equality has become ever more pressing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, with women and girls bearing the brunt of the social and economic impacts. As Alice Sverdlik, Researcher, Human Settlements, IIED explains, addressing gendered and other inequalities will be central to COVID-19 recovery.

With this in mind, next week we will be delving deeper into what companies can do to support gender equality, in our Rebuild Better Gender Summit on 3rd December 2020. We are delighted to be partnering with CDC, The 2X Challenge, UN Women and CARE International on this free online event, which will inform, inspire and connect you around a shared purpose to improve the lives of women and girls.


The day will include:

  • Opening Session with Business Fights Poverty Founders Zahid and Yvette Torres-Rahman, followed by a Fireside Chat with Nick O’Donohoe, CEO, CDC Group
  • Webinar on ‘What is the role of business in responding to the surge in gender-based violence during the pandemic’. This session will explore how business can tackle gender-based violence in the workplace, by taking action in their core business as well as through policy advocacy.
  • Women’s Entrepreneurship Showcase. Hear the voices of women entrepreneurs and find out how your organisation can support a UN Women initiative for gender equality and women’s empowerment in Europe and Central Asia.
  • Webinar on ‘What is the case for gender-lens investing, and how to do it.’ Experts will share practical advice for investors and business on the benefits of furthering equality through investment, and the latest tools available.
  • Interactive peer discussion and networking, to deepen conversations, spark ideas and grow personal connections. 

Do register to secure your place, and we look forward to welcoming you on the day.

Share this story

Leave a Reply



Next Event

Business Fights Poverty Global Goals Summit 2024