The Business Fights Poverty Fortnightly Round-Up

By Annabel Beales, Challenge Researcher, Business Fights Poverty

Annabel Beales rounds-up Business Fights Poverty’s activities over the last two weeks. 

To round-out July, the Business Fights Poverty team have been reflecting on our experience earlier this month of hosting our week-long online event, Business Fights Poverty Online 2020: Rebuild Better. We’ve been thrilled by the feedback we’ve received via our post-conference survey. 96% of people who completed the survey rated the online conference as good or excellent, 97% said that they learned something valuable for their work, and 95% said they would recommend it to a colleague.

We are excited to build and improve on this inclusive format – so much so, that our next online event is already open for registration. Business Fights Poverty NYC Online 2020, co-hosted with Visa Inc, will run from 21 to 25 September to coincide with the UN General Assembly (UNGA). It will provide a chance to move the conversation forward into action and deep-dive into some additional topics. Register for free at

In the meantime, the articles we’ve received from our members over the last fortnight have provided practical and strategic advice on how business can rebuild better.

  • In “How to safeguard the livelihoods of women farmers and entrepreneurs”,  Cristina Manfre, Gender Director, TechnoServe, shares three interrelated principles to protect women’s economic empowerment during the coronavirus pandemic, based on their experiences working with women farmers and entrepreneurs across Africa, Latin America, and India.
  • Fairtrade and the COVID-19 response – lessons for business and the food system”, by Tim Aldred, Head of Policy, Fairtrade Foundation, explains the challenges that farmers in Africa, Asia and South America face to maintain the supply of food and other essentials to consumers across the globe during COVID-19, and what businesses can do to support them. “Investing in the resilience of farmers will be key for the food security of the world’s future consumers”.
  • Guidance for addressing gender-based violence and harassment has been released by CDC, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Finance Corporation, with an emphasis on emerging markets. Nomsa Fulbrook-Kagwe and Genevieve Joy highlight this useful publication which explains what gender-based violence is, provides the business case for addressing it, and details tools and best-practice for companies to take action.
  • How can business support a shift towards inclusive digital payments solutions for the garment sector workers in Bangladesh? Anir Chowdhury, Policy Advisor, a2i reveals that a recent $600 million core stimulus package to pay workers’ salaries in Bangladesh triggered 2.5 million workers to open a mobile financial services account, and proposes how to leverage this mass adoption to develop a more inclusive digital economy.
  • The garment sector in Ethiopia has also experienced major disruption as a result of COVID-19. In “COVID-19 and Responsible Restructuring”, Githa Roelans, Head of Unit Multinational Enterprises and Enterprise Engagement Unit Enterprises Department, International Labour Organization (ILO) highlights their recent guidance note on restructuring for recovery and resilience. “A key focus is the role of social dialogue in identifying solutions that support both management and workers’ needs.

As we look to a future in which purpose will become increasingly central to stakeholder expectations and business objectives, there is an increasing need for data, analytics and measurement tools to assess progress.

  • The latest Multi-dimensional Poverty Report provides nuanced insights into the situation of the world’s poorest, from a decade of measuring multidimensional poverty. This index recognises that poverty is not solely related to income but also to deprivations in healthcare, education and living standards. Sabina Alkire, Director, Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI) introduces the trends that have been revealed and invites “students and analysts of poverty to engage with the global MPI datasets and use them creatively and rigorously to answer important questions in their contexts”.
  • COVID-19 and inequality are testing corporate purpose like never before. As Robert G. Eccles, Co-Chair of TCP and Visiting Professor of Management Practice, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford and Mark Tulay, Founder and Director of TCP, CEO of Sustainability Risk Advisors write, “Today’s state of the world poses a test of both the breadth and durability of corporate purpose commitments, shifting the dynamics for thousands of companies as they confront new challenges and demands.” The authors introduce a new initiative called Test of Corporate Purpose, which will assess whether publicly traded companies are “walking the talk” on their purpose commitments. To support this initiative, you can take part in a short, expert consultation about corporate performance and accountability.

We look forward to continuing the conversation at Business Fight Poverty NYC Online 2020. Register now for free at:

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