How can inclusive business advance the SDGs?
This blog on Next Billion discusses how inclusive business (IB) can be part of the solutions to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Two publications are addressed. The booklet “Delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals: The inclusive business approach” (PDF), published by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), briefly presents the business case of IB, the internal and external barriers to starting an IB, and a list of examples – for each SDG – in which an inclusive business approach has the possibility to generate value. The example for SDG 2 (“End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”) reads: “Produce and provide access to fortified food and supply of micronutrients; develop innovative and more efficient farming technologies to increase productivity and income of smallholder farmers.” The second document, “Uncharted Waters: Blending Value and Values for Social Impact Through the SDGs,” (PDF) published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development and Business Call to Action, includes a description of five sectors highly relevant for IB in the context of the SDGs; a scale of IB maturity; and an understanding of the entire IB process. The five promising sectors for IB – food and beverage, infrastructure, health, education and financial services – were established considering unmet needs and the possibility to obtain financial returns. For the sector food and beverage examples of “primary business models employed” are contract farming; deep procurement (procurement directly from farmer/producer networks); distribution and sales through informal shops; mobile-enabled non-financial services; and smallholder farmer aggregators. The provision of credit and staff on the ground, as well as the development of trust over time, are important strategic elements to consider for companies engaging with smallholder farmers.