Reflecting on the articles that Business Fights Poverty have published over the last fortnight, I have been struck by how they all demonstrate, in their various ways, that the fight against poverty is so often about collaborating to widen access to solutions that already exist. This, in many respects, is very good news. Innovation will always have a central role to play in creating a fairer and more equal society, but in the meantime there is great potential for rapid change through scaling up what we already know to work.
Three of our contributors have given specific examples of how existing digital technologies can bring transformational change to the lives of factory workers, entrepreneurs and farmers:
- You can read five tips on how technology and partnerships are acting as force multipliers for an inclusive economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, in an article by Payal Dalal, Senior Vice President, Social Impact, International Markets, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, and Zahid Torres-Rahman, CEO, Business Fights Poverty.
- Find out about the cost of cash to Ghana’s cocoa sector, and how the widespread adoption of digital payments could save cocoa producers over $20 million every year according to Betty Annan, Country Director, Ghana, World Cocoa Foundation, and Oswell Kahonde, Africa Lead, Better Than Cash Alliance.
- Learn how the data revolution can drive sustainability and resilience in global food supply chains, with Karen Reijnen, Director Innovation, Rainforest Alliance.
As innovators and providers of new products and services, the onus is on the business community to practice inclusivity in the way that we work, standing behind the commitment – made in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – that “no-one will be left behind”. This fortnight, we have profiled two examples of how business can purposefully include disadvantaged groups:
- Read three takeaways from a recent seminar on how business can support refugees through COVID-19, as reported by Eleanor Paton, Senior Policy Officer, International Rescue Committee and Business Refugee Action Network.
- “Women are missing out on the fastest growing jobs of the future [and] women don’t have access to information.” Find out how Google is closing the gender-gap in the technology sector, by listening in to our Podcast Interview with Natalia Cano, Head of Brand & Reputation APAC, Google.
As ever, we celebrate the power of cross-sectoral collaboration to amplify the individual efforts of businesses and bring inclusivity at scale. In recent months, we have been working with the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) and the Partnering Initiative on a framework to support ICMM’s members to help communities recover and rebuild from the impacts of the pandemic. In a joint article published last week, Ruth Thomas, Director, Global Agribusiness Alliance at WBCSD, and Dr Nicky Black, Director, Social and Economic Development Programme, ICMM, provide insight into how collaborations between the mining and agricultural sectors can build more resilient food and land-use systems in rural communities.
Our final piece considers the perennial challenge of how to evaluate the work that businesses are doing to build a secure, inclusive and more prosperous future. “Responsible Business Initiatives aim to push, pull and inspire companies using different mechanisms to increase corporate performance on sustainability, but is this working?”, ask Valerie Nelson, Leader of the Sustainable Trade and Responsible Business Programme, Livelihoods and Institutions Department, Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich; Michael Flint Independent Consultant; and Adrienne Martin, Director of Programme Development, Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich. Their article looks at the types of evidence that can be gathered to improve programme evaluation.
Finally, we are excited that, between 21st – 25th September 2020, we are bringing the Business Fights Poverty community together again for Business Fights Poverty NYC Online2020, in partnership with Visa. Building on the recent success of Business Fights Poverty Online 2020, September’s online gathering will coincide with the UN General Assembly. It will provide us with the opportunity to collectively set out a vision for what “better” looks like – at the level of society, business and the individual, and spark collaborative action to make this a reality.
The last six months or so have been disorienting, and will have changed the global landscape in ways which are yet to become known. As it is the traditional holiday season for many, we hope that all our members are getting the chance for some relaxation and reflection, even with the ongoing uncertainty. We also hope you will join us at next month’s conference to re-energise our shared commitment to rebuild better together.