Photos: Business Fights Poverty / Mickey Shah, Soulphotography
Watch the videos of Business Fights Poverty NYC 2018. The event brought together 200 professionals from business and the development community during UN General Assembly Week to explore the theme of rethinking collaboration for the Sustainable Development Goals. The event was supported by Barclays and GSK.
During our annual Business Fights Poverty gathering, marking the beginning of the UN General Assembly in New York, we brought together 200 professionals from business and the development community to hear the latest leading insights; discuss the most pressing societal challenges and the ways our organisations can proactively engage; whilst launching three new pieces of research which we have been leading this year.
Broadway for All opened proceedings with a captivating performance from the hit musicals, Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen. A group comprising young people from diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds, the rendition of “Found/Tonight” set the tone with Business Fight Poverty Founder, Zahid Torres-Rahman, highlighting the importance of creating opportunity and connection for all in his welcoming speech.
The first panel welcomed Theodore Roosevelt IV from Barclays; The Rt Hon Harriett Baldwin MP from the Department for International Development; and Rogerio Ribeiro of GSK. Moderator Jane Nelson from the Corporate Responsibility Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School summarised the key messages; firstly, the importance of trust, that which has to be built through the sharing of knowledge especially with the NGO community, and secondly, the importance of science-based targets, and data-driven approaches to financing mechanisms, and finally, the importance of the role of the individual, unreasonable people around the world demanding solutions for greater social impact.
Next came a panel discussion which brought together Jed Lynch from Barclays; Corry Jacobs, GSK; Shamina Singh, Mastercard; Michelle Nunn, Care USA, Colin Buckley, CDC Group and Kuseni Dlameni, Massmart. With a focus on the role of commercial businesses to add to the trillions in funding needed to achieve the SDGs, each leader shared insight as to how innovation and investment in social good is being prioritised within their respective organisations.
The plenary discussions then moved to six parallel lunch discussions:
Social Impact Investing
“How can business maximise the social impact of investment?” was the theme of the session led by Jed Lynch from Barclays. The discussion addressed questions about different financing models that can help small and socially or environmentally impactful companies to scale, and delved into the role of impact when assessing an investment opportunity.
Business and Refugees
In connection with the output from the Business and Refugees Challenge, moderator Justin Sykes from Innovest Advisory shared key findings, showcased the achievements and lessons learned of partners developing and supporting refugee-inclusive business. Together with Karen Scriven, Mercy Corps; Hemant Baijal, Mastercard, and Shirin Pakfar, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the conversation explored how more business action can be mobilised to support refugee livelihoods and long-term resilience. To read the full report for this Challenge, click here.
Education for Sustainable Development
Business Fights Poverty’s Thought Leadership Director, Katie Hyson, moderated the Education for Sustainable Development session, one element of a larger Challenge which is being led by Pearson, UN PRME and Arizona State University. Focussing on the business case for companies to be involved in training and education for sustainable development, contributors turned attention towards what is needed to build the case for more sustainability-relate training and education. The full report from the Education for Sustainable Development Challenge can be viewed here.
Food security and nutrition
Taryn Barclay of Cargill and Sandy Westlake from the World Food Programme led a session which focused on the role of business at the nexus of agriculture, food security and nutrition. The conversation highlighted key opportunities and challenges in this space, before exploring how long-term partnerships can be harnessed to enhance food security and nutrition. Business Fights Poverty launched its report on the Cargill-CARE partnership, which you can find here.
The Health Innovation Partnerships session was led by Rogerio Ribeiro, GSK, and David Reddy, from Medicines for Malaria Venture during which learnings from from previous partnerships were uncovered and shared to inform best practice in delivering greater impact in global health. The conversation then dived into a discussion about what new collaborative models need to look like, from the roles for companies, to funders, governments, development NGOs and others, and how different actors can each best play their parts, with a focus on how to achieve end-to-end approaches that support development, manufacture and patient access for global health innovations.
Business Fights Poverty and The League of Intrapreneurs, together with their partners CEMEX, DFID and BMW Foundation have conducted a six-month long research project to uncover the key barriers and enablers to scaling corporate social innovation. Bringing the research findings to a session in NYC, CEMEX’s Mario Gonzales Lupercio was joined by Gib Bulloch, author of The Intrapreneur and Myriam Sidibe from Unilever to explore the topical domain of intrapreneurship, and how to unlock this vehicle for innovation. Explore the Challenge findings in full by clicking here.
We would like to thank our event sponsors, Barclays and GSK, and our content partners, the UK’s Department for International Development, the Harvard Kennedy School Corporate Responsibility Initiative, the UN Foundation, the Business Council for the UN, the UN Office for Partnerships, UNDP’s Business Call to Action, The World Business Council for Sustainable Development, The League of Intrapreneurs, The Partnering Initiative and Be Inspired Films.
Finally, check out the event summary video below, produced by our Video Partners, Be Inspired Films: