The Business Fights Poverty Fortnightly Round-Up

By Annabel Beales, Challenge Researcher, Business Fights Poverty

Annabel Beales provides a sneak peak of what you can expect from our upcoming online event, Business Fights Poverty Online 2020: Rebuild Better, as well as a round-up of our written content over the past fortnight. 
The team is a hive of activity this week, in preparation for Business Fights Poverty Online 2020: Rebuild Better. Taking place 13th – 17th July, it will be a week of inspiring and engaging content, live events, peer networking and structured learning to explore how we can “Rebuild Better”.  

Of course, this year we are unable to convene our Oxford Conference, as we usually do in July, and members from across the network have been asking what we can do instead. So we’ve had fun reimagining the conference for the online space, embracing the opportunity to widen access to all our members, wherever they are in the world.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the dangerous trajectory of our current global systems into sharp focus, and on a very personal level, many of us are wondering with some trepidation what the future holds and what we can do to shape it for the better. 

The conference will provide space for imagination and achieving clarity. Each day will deep-dive into one of five themes –  Purpose, Opportunity, Skills, Equity, and Collaboration – through a varied programme that will provide inspiration and insight, build relationships, and deepen cooperation across our network. 

As Zahid Torres-Rahman, CEO of Business Fights Poverty explains, it will “provide an 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.” 



In our daily webinars and online events, we will benefit from the expertise of over 75  inspiring speakers, including Jane Nelson, Director, Corporate Responsibility Initiative, Harvard Kennedy School; Bob Eccles, Visiting Professor of Management Practice, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford; Myriam Sidibé Founder, Brands on a Mission and Co-Founder, National Business Compact on Coronavirus, Kenya; Beth Hurvitz, Senior Vice President, Social Impact, Visa Inc; Kesia Hudson Managing Director, Standard Chartered Women’s Entrepreneurship Program; Danny Sriskandarajah, CEO, Oxfam GB; Philip Thomson, President, Global Affairs, GSK; Mario Gonzalez, Shared Value & Social Innovation, CEMEX; Nicky Black, Director, Social and Economic Development, International Council on Mining and Metals; Siân Owen, Director of Stakeholder & Portfolio Management, BTEC & Apprenticeships, Pearson UK; Mavis Owusu-Gyamfi, Executive Vice President, African Center for Economic Transformation, and Colin Mayer, Peter Moores Professor of Management Studies, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.

In addition, we are hosting academic seminars to delve into the latest thinking on relevant topics, and our partner, Pearson, are sharing self-guided individual learning modules around the theme of Rebuilding Better, which you can follow in your own time. Our pithy “how-to” videos will focus on implementation, enabling business practitioners to put high-level thinking into action. 



At Business Fights Poverty, we benefit from global experts as well as the practical experience and know-how of our members. 

In our World Cafe session, organised jointly with the Economy of Francesco, you can join a co-creative discussion to imagine and evaluate different economic models for the future. Our online written discussions – (perfect for introverts or those who have Zoom-fatigue!) – enable you to engage in a live discussion with our panel of subject experts on an equal footing.  



Our in-person events are designed to foster collaborative relationships, and this event is no exception. Each day you can join us for a “virtual coffee break”  in our Peer Discussion Groups, to informally reflect together on the day’s theme and network live with other participants. Our LinkedIn group will provide a forum to continue the discussions before, during and after the week itself.


Be inspired

Our programme will include Fireside Chats, providing a window into the work and lives of thought-leaders and inspirational practitioners.  To kick-start each day, we will enjoy an artistic or musical performance to awaken our imaginations, and the events for each theme will be complemented by a selection of articles, podcasts and member-generated videos from across our network. 


Take Time for You

Creating great change is no easy task, and especially in times of heightened worry we need to connect with ourselves, and build our skills, energy and resilience to face the task ahead. We are thrilled to be offering live self-leadership coaching, with Marcus Druen, Executive Coach and Founder, Audacify, to offer you the chance for  purpose-driven, transformative and structured “me time”. AlongsideMarcus, Mandar Apte and Gib Bulloch will help you sharpen your personal purpose, seek your inner peace, change your inner story and meet your better future self. 

BFP Online 2020 is supported and co-curated by Pearson, and a range of other partners including the UK’s Department for International Development, The Corporate Responsibility Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School, Visa, CEMEX, GSK, Standard Chartered, the IFC, the ILO, the UN Office for Partnerships, Care, Oxfam, WWF, The Partnering Initiative, the League of Intrapreneurs, the International Council for Mining and Metals, and the World Benchmarking Alliance.  

The event will be free to attend live, and you can also purchase a digital pass to access recordings of all the sessions, as well as slides and content summaries. We are excited to “see” you there. 


Finally, it would be remiss not to highlight the excellent written content published over the past fortnight, in which diverse authors share their visions for a better future and propose tangible steps to make it reality. 

  • Richard Samans, Managing Director of the World Economic Forum and Jane Nelson, Director of the Corporate Responsibility Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School of Government provide insight into the accelerating shift towards integrated corporate governance, and share six leadership priorities for boards beyond the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Lisa Dreier Managing Director, Advanced Leadership Initiative, Harvard University and Jane Nelson Director, Corporate Responsibility Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School of Government analyse the public sector response to COVID-19, sharing key lessons on how “first-movers” were able to rapidly take action in the public interest, as well as the factors that left others lagging behind. 
  • Filippo Veglio, Managing Director, People Program & Outreach, WBCSD highlights their new issue brief on how we can develop a collective understanding of systems transformation and work together to create lasting change. 
  • Olu Olanrewaju, a consultant on international affordable housing, continues our BlackLivesMatter series with a call for business to learn to “dance on the flying carpet” and address racial inequality and justice

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