Building Business Partnerships Fit for the Future: A Renewed Vision for Business Action on Poverty, Inequality and Climate Change

This online written discussion explored how businesses can build innovative and resilient partnerships that are fit for addressing future global challenges.

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Background

With the world in the midst of a polycrisis and political challenges to corporate sustainability there has never been a more important time to build a new consensus on the role of business in society.

This online discussion will feed into an FCDO-supported project with the Business Fights Poverty Institute, exploring the latest thinking and examples of business partnerships to address global challenges. The report will be launched at the Business Fights Poverty Global Goals Summit during UNGA in September.

We welcome your insights on how to build business partnerships that are fit for the future challenges we face and that can accelerate progress on the SDGs.

We thank our live panel:

  • Meg Buckley, ACDI/VOCA
  • Yaquta Fatehi, Program Manager, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan
  • Neil Fleming, Director, Financial Inclusion, Standard Chartered Bank
  • Greg S Garrett, Executive Director, Access to Nutrition
  • Raúl Gauto, Chief of Staff, Fundación Paraguaya/Poverty Spotlight
  • Matthew Guyer Corporate Partnerships, Oxfam America
  • Laura Hawkesford, Director, The Partnership Collective
  • Graham Miller, Rodrigo Guimarães Chair, Professor of Sustainable Business, Academic Director of the Westmont Institute of Tourism and Hospitality, Nova School of Business and Economics
  • Max Milward, Sustainable Sourcing Manager, Fairtrade Foundation
  • Omoneka Oyier Senior Director, Technical Areas of Practice Meda
  • Victoria Peroni, Methodology Team Coordinator, Fundación Paraguaya
  • Sarah Jane Saltmarsh Head, Thought Leadership, BRAC
  • Rohini Saran, Program Advisor -Nutrition (South Asia Hub), PATH
  • Geetanjali Solanki Global Director, Values, Principles and Governance, Cotton Connect
  • Ed Stevenette, Project Manager, Learning Planet
  • Fernando Stumpfs, Researcher, Poverty Stoplight
  • Caylee Talpert, Chief Business Officer, &frnds
  • David Wofford, Senior Director for Private Sector Strategy and Engagement, UN Foundation

Moderators:
Katie Hyson, Director, Thought Leadership and COO, Business Fights Poverty
Alice Allan, Director, Collaborations, Business Fights Poverty

Questions

  1. How can businesses build innovative and resilient partnerships that are fit for addressing future global challenges?

  2. What examples of impactful partnerships that are addressing poverty, inequality and or climate change through core business operations can you share?

  3. In what ways should businesses reimagine their role in society to effectively tackle poverty, inequality, and climate change?

How to add your comments

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If you are not already a member of the Business Fights Poverty online community, you will need to sign up here . Once you have joined the community, you can return to this discussion page and click “Log In” at the top right of the page.

Hello everyone, my name is Fernando Stumpfs, I am an economist, I have been working as a Social Researcher at the Poverty Stoplight for a year and a half, it is a pleasure to be a participant in this forum

https://www.linkedin.com/in/fernando-stumpfs-9a57baba/

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Hi I am Caylee Talpert, an impact-driven entrepreneur and Chief Business Officer at &frnds (https://www.linkedin.com/in/caylee-talpert/). Looking forward to being one of the panelist and taking part in this important discussion.

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Hi everyone! My name’s Max Milward and I work as Sustainable Sourcing Manager (Coffee) at the Fairtrade Foundation. I’ve been at the Foundation for over 4 years and have worked with commercial partners on several different Fairtrade commodities in that time. I’m very much looking forward to participating in this discussion.

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Hello everyone! My name is Victoria Peroni, I am currently the Stoplight Methodology Team Coordinator at the Poverty Stoplight. I have been working in the Poverty Stoplight for over four years and am looking forward to learning from all of you!

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/victoria-peroni-4ba1811b9

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Hi everyone - looking forward to participating and learning from this written discussion! I’m a Program Manager at WDI at U of Michigan and work on impact measurement, gender, and strategy & operations challenges for mission-driven companies in the Global South. Please feel free to connect w me on LinkedIn: Yaquta Fatehi - Program Manager - William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan | LinkedIn

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Hi All, my name is Greg Garrett and I lead the Access to Nutrition Initiative, a global nonprofit trying to shape markets for sustainable nutrition. It’s a pleasure to participate in this important discussion. Greg S Garrett - Access to Nutrition Initiative | LinkedIn

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Hi Everyone,

My name is Geetanjali Solanki and I am the Global Director Values, Principles and Governance for CottonConnect. Our vision is to ’ Reimagine the future of Supply Chains’

I am very pleased to be a part of this discussion today

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Hello everyone, Im Alice Allan. I work at Business Fights Poverty and have the pleasure of leading this collaboration around the future of business partnerships. I’m so pleased that so many of you are able to contribute. Your participation will be acknowledged in the final report.

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Greetings all, my name is Mathew Guyer and I lead corporate partnerships for Oxfam America, part of the global Oxfam confederation of 21 sister organizations with a mission to fight inequality to end poverty and injustice. We offer lifesaving support in times of crisis and advocate for economic justice, gender equality, and climate action. We demand equal rights and equal treatment so that everyone can thrive, not just survive. Engagement with business is critical to this mission and I very much look forward to the discussion

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Hi all, I’m Neil Fleming the Director, Financial Inclusion at Standard Chartered Bank, and sit within our Global Community Impact team. I look after a range of philanthropic partnerships as part of Futuremakers, the Bank’s global initiative supporting young people to learn, earn and grow. Great to be a part of today’s discussion!

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Hi all, I’m David Wofford, with the Universal Access Project of the UN Foundation – we focus on reproductive health rights supporting the UN and UNFPA. I lead our private sector action work, which focus on women’s health in global supply chains as a fundamental component of empowerment, climate resilience and economic advancement.

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Hi all - Meg Buckley, Associate Director, Private Sector Engagement with ACDI/VOCA. Very much looking forward to this conversation!

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Hello everyone, I’m Omoneka Oyier representing Mennonnite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), an NGO focused on economic empowerment and job creation for women and youth in agri food systems. Looking forward to the discussion.

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In what ways should businesses reimagine their role in society to effectively tackle poverty, inequality, and climate change? By pursuing the triple bottom line approach doing its business. It’s imperative that each company realises that it is just not good enough to make money, we need to create wealth instead.

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Hello and welcome to our Written Discussion - if you havent already do please introduce yourself and then our first question today:

First, Listen! I believe businesses have a very powerful role to play, but they cannot come in assuming they have all the answers. My experience is mainly in emerging markets, where the majority of the world’s population live and I believe is therefore key in addressing future global challenges. Especially in these markets its important to remember that local context, communities, customs are all crucial for success and especially if you are coming from a large global company, its important to come in humble and ready to learn about how business is done in the local context which may differ not only from country to country but also between regions, cities etc.

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This relates also to my second point – adopt relevant and appropriate technology. Emerging markets have a huge amount to gain from technology, however their path to adoption may be different from more established markets. In some cases, low-income populations have leap-frogged over entrenched technologies (e.g. mobile banking, renewable energy usage etc.). However, it is often incorrectly assumed that since most people have a smartphone today, everyone will be comfortable using the latest apps. In my work with micro-retailers in emerging markets, I have seen that there is still a big jump between having a smartphone (sometimes as a status symbol or to use messaging apps) and being willing to use it for business applications etc.

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Future global challenges have in fact arrived – technology, automation, climate change, closing civic spaces. These are having major impacts on workers – disproportionately on women – and communities. I will take innovation to be more about doing things differently or better than simply the idea that things need to be new. There are so many examples of great partnerships and initiatives in my space – worker health and wellbeing – but the issue is the uptake. If you are talking about partnerships with NGOs and civil society, one innovation for companies is to make long term investments in these partnerships. Long term is not 2-3 years… It’s five years. And if your are really interested in change and making a difference, don’t focus on short term KPIs (beyond what’s needed for internal political support) that create the smoke and mirrors of impact (“we reach 50,000 workers”) but really has very little to do with lasting or real impact. The Resilience Fund, which is a truly co-created initiative with pooled corporate funding, tackles theses issues with insights from the grantee-partners who know the realities on the ground. I would also say really innovation, though always hard to do, is creating partnerships that are collective. There’s always value on one on one partnerships, but most of the problems we are dealing with require businesses in the same sectors to work together. Otherwise, you have many rent seekers and little change. Allison Taylor likes to say start with the rights and needs of workers. That’s true for the impact and actions of individual companies within their operations. But in terms of partnerships, it is important to build networks through partnerships that tackle structural and systemic issues or processes. This of course includes the role of government playing it role – and business making demands for services that go beyond their narrow business interests.

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Collaboration and Co-Creation: Businesses can foster partnerships through investment, technical assistance, co-creation, and collaborative implementation with other organizations, NGOs, governments, and local communities. Co-creating solutions ensures diverse perspectives and innovative approaches.

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