Business Partnerships as a Force for Good: A Tool for Rapid Collaboration?

Join this live written discussion co-hosted with Business Partners for Global Goals (BP4GG).

This is a chance for you to engage with BP4GG partners and others leading business-donor partnerships, on what makes their partnerships a success, as well as share your insights and connect with like-minded people.

Together we will be exploring the latest thinking on how businesses can partner with government to address global challenges, and support our collective efforts to rebuild better from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In particular, we will explore how such partnerships can support responses to rapid onset challenges.

COVID-19 has not only been a health shock, but also a major disruption to global trade and the economy. International businesses which employ large numbers of vulnerable women and men in developing countries have been hard-hit, but through their supply chain networks and influence, also present a major opportunity for getting immediate support to the world’s poor, as well as putting in place systems that will protect workers into the future.

As the world continues to grapple with COVID-19, as the UK prepares to showcase potential solutions for a greener, more prosperous future at the G7 Summit, and as the international community prepares for COP26, our next Rebuild Better Summit focuses on the crucial role that business can play in partnership with government to improve the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Discussion Questions

Q1. What do effective business partnerships look like in rapid response to societal shock scenarios? (such as COVID-19)? (please share case studies, examples and key factors)

Q2. What challenges and opportunities are there to make business partnerships more effective in a rapid response to societal shocks?

Q3. How can we partner more effectively to rebuild better and embed resilience to future shocks?


  • Jahirul Azad, Head of Urban Health, CARE Bangladesh

  • Taposh Barua, Programme Coordinator, Ethical Trading Initiative, Bangladesh

  • Abil Bin Amin, Bangladesh Country Manager, Ethical Trading Initiative

  • Kathleen Brenninkmeijer, Programmes Manager, Win-Win Strategies, Women Win

  • Hannah Bruce, Practice, Evidence and Learning Senior Manager, Ethical Trading Initiative

  • Kate Cooper, Impact Investing and Responsible Business Advisor, UK FCDO

  • Caroline Downey, Sustainable Sourcing Manager, MM Flowers

  • Ian Finlayson, Managing Director, PSI Advantage

  • Elle Harrison, Senior Programme Delivery and Relationship Manager, The Fairtrade Foundation

  • Nahidul Hasan Nayan, Operations Director, Awaj Foundation

  • Keith Kibirango, Director of Philanthropy and Private Sector Engagement, Crown Agents

  • Emilie Paradiso, Head of Advisory - Responsible Business, Partner Africa

  • Linda Patentas, Senior Program Manager, Apparel, GoodWeave International

  • Sara Petersson, Social Dialogue Programme Manager, Ethical Trading Initiative

  • Mosfequr Rahman, Bangladesh Project Manager, GoodWeave International

  • Munir Shamim, Ethical Trading Initiative, Bangladesh

  • Myriam Sidibe, Founder, Brands on a Mission

  • Darian Stibbe, Executive Director, The Partnering Initiative

  • Ikhtiar Uddin, CARE Bangladesh

Moderator: Katie Hyson, Director of Thought Leadership, Business Fights Poverty


This is a text-based discussion. There will be no video or audio. Please post your comments below. After the live session, this discussion will remain open, so please do continue to share your insights. To receive a free summary of this discussion afterwards, register here

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*** I am really looking forward to our conversation. We will go live here on Wednesday. Remember, all you need to do is login in order to post your own comments and share your insights. ***


Hi Katie - looking forward to today’s discussion!


Hi all, looking forward to today’s discussion!

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Looking forward to the discussions later.

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I am Myriam Sidibé, founder of the movement “Brands on a Mission” and co-founder and chair of the “National Business Compact on COVID-19 in Kenya”. I am very excited about joining later and look forward to sharing my insights about urgent local action through the latter platform for collaboration of government, businesses, UN agencies and NGOs. I am also looking forward to learning from your insights!

Please feel free to connect with me:é-she-her-2516254/

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Hi all. I’m Darian Stibbe, Director of The Partnering Initiative, an international non-profit working with international business, the UN, governments, foundations and international NGOs to unleash the power of partnership to deliver sustainable development.

Also very much looking forward to the discussion this afternoon and to learn from you all. The topic aligns closely with a major new programme we’re developing to create rapid partnering protocols that will significantly accelerate the process and implementation of partnerships to build back better, and to tackle climate change.


Hi I am the Sustainable Sourcing Manager for MM Flowers one of the leads in the Building resilience in Kenyan flower supply chains and also Executive Director of Women Working Worldwide supporting women to claim their rights at work. Really looking forward to the session and happy to continue the conversations you can find me at:


Hi, I am Managing Director of Practical Solutions International- a consultancy working to deliver Ethical, Sustainable and Safe Food. We specialise in Agricultural supply chains especially from East Africa, and have project managed the VSCF Sea Freight Flowers project. Looking forward to our discussion, you can find me at

Hi Everyone! My name is Kathleen Brenninkmeijer, programmes manager at Win-Win Strategies (Women Win). I look forward to learning from your experiences with business partnerships & sharing our learnings as well!

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Hi everyone, I am Sara Petersson, Social Dialogue Programme Manager at the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI). In my role I am also providing management oversight to one of our two VSCF projects supporting 20 Ready-made Garments factories in Bangladesh, in turn put forward by our 7 corporate partners - M&S, Tesco, Sainbury’s, Arco, Dimensions, Primark and Next. The aim is to increase their Covid-19 response capacity through training using both traditional classroom methodologies (online and face-to-face) and digital tools (pre-programme tablets within the factories and an app communicated through a QR-code for greater reach outside the workplace), technical support and basic PPE provision. ETI also runs another VSCF project in East Africa (Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Kenya) with our implementing partner Partner Africa who are also represented in this panel. I am looking forward to our discussion later.

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Hamish Taylor from Symrise* - A German Fragrance & Flavor House - I lead a multi-country sustainable development programme in partnership with GIZ and other private sector partners including Unilever, Kellogg’s, Mars, Pernod-Ricard, Natura, Save The Children and Tanager, as well as other local NGO partners.

  • I’m an embedded consultant working on sustainable supply chain development on Symrise’s behalf and have built the SDG Global Compact project together with GIZ/BMZ. In my own capacity I am responsible for driving Sustainability strategies for a number of other international companies.
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Hi there, I’m Elle Harrison, Senior Programme Delivery and Relationship Manager at the Fairtrade Foundation. I am project manager of the Building Resilience in Flower Supply Chains project. This project was designed to support Kenyan flower workers in the COVID-19 pandemic to meet their immediate needs, but also to promote a more sustainable flower sector and bolster longer-term resilience.


Hello all. My name is Naomi Somerville-Large, Senior Technical Adviser at the Fairtrade Foundation. In my role I provide technical & delivery oversight to one of two VSCF projects delivered by Fairtrade - the Cadbury Farmer Resilience Fund in Ghana in partnership with Mondelēz International. The project provides support to nine cocoa unions representing 22,500 farmers, and uses climate-smart and locally led approaches to ensure resilience through the pandemic and climate crisis.

Hi all, this is Keith Kibirango, Director of Philanthropy and Private Sector engagement at Crown Agents, a not-for-profit organisation engaged in the behind-the-scenes, vital and much-needed work that ensures that life-saving services are delivered, goods procured cost-effectively, customs services reformed, and emergencies responded to from Ebola to COVID-19. Working in 60 countries and reaching 30 million people annually, our work includes running 80% of the health system in South Sudan, providing over 180 million treatments for 5 Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in 9 Asian and African countries and reducing infant mortality by 15% in Zimbabwe. Most recently we have worked with Business Fights Poverty and Brands on a Mission with partners like MARS and Primark to provide much-needed medicine and oxygen to India.

Keith Kibirango MCIOF(Dip) | LinkedIn

Hi All, my name is Justin Dell from CARE International UK (, managing the VSCF programme with my colleagues from CARE Bangladesh. To instigate discussions on question one, my initial response is as follows:

  1. Critically, all effective business partnerships need to be built across the following key areas:
  • Mutually beneficial : The partnership benefits both the non-profit organisation and the business partner. These benefits should outweigh any costs to either entity.
  • Alignment of values : The cause involved should reflect the company’s model or industry, and the business should operate in a way that is respectful to the perspectives and values held by the non-profit organization and its community members.
  • Open communication : Communicate and agree upon expectations of the partnership. What are the outcomes from the partnership and what the business partner is hoping to gain from the partnership needs to be set out from the start where with transparency being key to a fair partnership.

Hi all

I am Emilie Paradiso, Head of Advisory at Partner Africa:

I am leading on the implementation of the Securing workers’ rights in a COVID-19 context – East and Southern Africa, VSCF project. We are working with 12 suppliers in the agri-food sector in Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Kenya to improve their resilience to Covid-19.

Looking forward to the discussion!

Q1. What do effective business partnerships look like in rapid response to societal shock scenarios? (such as COVID-19)?

From my experience as Chair of the National Business Compact on Coronavirus in Kenya (NBCC), effective business partnerships in rapid response scenarios are characterized by the following:

I. Fluid structures and lean governance model to adapt and pivot to emerging needs.
II. Flat structures of partnerships to drive agility and clear decision- making process to drive speed
III. A clear coherent strategy to leverage partners network and capabilities
IV. Shared understanding among partners of the sense of urgency and the need to act together to drive to greater scale
V. While not all partners are created equal, all partners have a seat at the table and everyone is given a clear role with set expectations