How can we mainstream “win-win” business models that work for lead firms and workers post Covid-19?

Join us and a panel of experts for a live written discussion, as part of the Business Fights Poverty Online 2020 Conference, to explore how we can mainstream “win-win” business models that work for lead firms and workers post Covid-19.

Live Panel
Tuesday 14th July 2020, 2pm -3pm BST


  • Sarah Bratton, Head of Sustainability, North America, Schroders
  • Davide Fiedler, Manager, Social Impact, World Business Council for Sustainable Development
  • Neil Gaught, Author, CORE: How a Single Organizing Idea Can Change Business For Good
  • Amalia Johnsson, Head of Programmes, Hand in Hand International
  • Samantha Lacey, Job Quality Lead, CDC Group
  • Flynn Lebus, Gender Equity Practice Co-Lead, FSG
  • Ashleigh Owens, Senior Advisor, Shift Project
  • Eleanor Paton, Senior Policy Officer, The International Rescue Committee
  • Matt Ripley, Chief Technical Adviser, International Labour Organization
  • Wingham Rowan, Founder and Chief Exec., MM4A non-profit Ltd.
  • Merten Sievers, Value Chain Development and Entrepreneurship Coordinator, International Labour Organization
  • Alison Ward, CEO, CottonConnect
  • Richard Gilbert, Senior Adviser, Business Fights Poverty


Building back better by mainstreaming “win-win” business models that work for lead firms and workers

As consensus builds around the need to “build back better” post-COVID-19, a priority for businesses and policy makers is to accelerate changes to business models to ensure economic value is more equitably distributed with workers and they do more to drive decent work outcomes.
Making decent work outcomes more integral to business models can deliver change for workers in three key areas:

  1. Job security - generating secure and quality jobs, i.e. predicted [MR2] hours and social security coverage.

  2. Equality - supporting equal opportunities and treatment, and worker voice.

  3. Health and well-being - promoting a safe work environment, worker development and well-being, i.e. work life balance.

Business Fights Poverty has joined forces with ILO to identify good examples of business models for decent work that create commercial value for a lead firm while driving decent work outcomes for workers. Both organisations are seeking to better understand what business models for decent work look like, what challenges lead firms face in scaling them up and how to mainstream them across the core business and value chains. Examples and learnings will be consolidated into a short, practical guide for lead firms and their development partners.


This online written discussion will be structured around the following three questions:

  1. What are some good examples of business models that create commercial value for lead firms while driving better job security, equality, health and well-being for workers?

  2. What are some of the challenges lead firms face in promoting business models for decent work?

  3. How can we overcome these challenges and mainstream business models for decent work? What are the key leverage points within lead companies and in the policy environment to enable business models for decent work to scale?


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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Hello - looking forward to today’s discussion.

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Hi welcome to the online written discussion. We will start in a little over 10 mins.

Good afternoon. Merten

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Great - looking forward to joining

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Good afternoon… online as well. Regards, Sabine

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Great. Thanks, Katie!

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Look forward to the discussion

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Hi – Richard Gilbert here. I am a Challenge Director at Business Fights Poverty and I am leading our work with ILO on how to move “win-win” business models that work for businesses and workers from the margins to the mainstream. Very much looking forward to learning from our excellent panel.

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Welcome to the online written discussion today. Please could everyone start by introducing yourselves.

Hi everyone, My name is Dr Sam Lacey and I lead CDC’s Job Quality team, ensuring that CDC not only protects labour rights within its investees, but also promotes improvements to job quality. CDC is the UK’s Development Finance Institution, investing in businesses in Africa and South Asia, to create jobs, and to make a lasting difference to people’s lives in some of the world’s poorest places.


Hi, I’m Alison Ward, CEO at CottonConnect, and I’m delighted to be joining this discussion today to combine our experiences on business models which work well for both businesses and workers. CottonConnect has 10 years’ experience working with global brands and manufacturers to deliver sustainable agriculture training for smallholder cotton farmers to date we have worked with over 560,000 farmers. This has resulted in improved livelihoods for workers, and more sustainable sourcing for brands.


Hi, Eleanor Paton, International Rescue Committee, happy to be here today!

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Hi everyone! I’m Flynn Lebus, based in Cambridge, UK, and work for FSG, where I am the global co-lead of our global gender equity practice and strategic advisor.

FSG is a social impact strategy and learning advisory firm with a focus on leveraging market systems to advance a fair and equal society – both through building inclusive markets and channelling investors (philanthropic and commercial, plus multinational companies) to contribute to positive systemic change. All underpinned with a commitment to diversity and equity – including a gender lens - within our organisation and in our methods and strategic approach with our clients and partners.|

We have offices in the US, Europe and South-East Asia.|


Hi everyone. I’m Amalia Johnsson, Head of Programmes at Hand in Hand International, an NGO working to help some of the world’s poorest women succeed as micro-entrepreneurs. I’ll be linking our conversation today to challenges and opportunities we’re seeing within the informal economy – where most of the world’s workers operate - and where coronavirus is having the deepest impact.


I’m Mark Hauser, I work for the consultancy Innate Motion who work with businesses to become more people-centric in both their business operations and external marketing as part of a growth strategy. This might include anything from research, strategy or targeted behaviour change programmes. We believe in applying more human sense to a business world which currently applies too much business sense to humans.


Hi there. This is Ashleigh Owens, Senior Advisor with Shift, the leading centre for expertise on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.


Hi everyone. I’m Matt Ripley, a Senior Adviser to the ILO Lab project which is taking a systems approach to decent work. Really looking forward to today’s discussion


Good afternoon, Merten Sievers, Value Chain development and Entrepreneurship coordinator in ILOs SME unit. Also home of a project that looks at business models for Decent Work


Hi, Wingham Rowan here. I ran UK government programs that created empowering new labor markets for non-standard employment (“gig work”).

Have subsequently become something of an expert on how governments could initiate much better markets for the whole range of potential micro-economic activity. Work with government bodies in the US largely now.

Former TV host and technical journalist. Author.