What are the links between business and development? And what is the business role and opportunity in addressing sustainability challenges of developing countries and emerging economies?
These questions are addressed in a report launched by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).
The report draws on a decade of WBCSD thought leadership and practical experience in promoting business solutions to sustainability issues in the developing world.
The WBCSD first coined the term 'Inclusive Business' to describe profitable business models that reduce poverty and generate sustainable livelihoods.
The scope of WBCSD's work was then broadened towards addressing the business role in improving the living standards of the growing and increasingly affluent populations of the developing world in a sustainable way.
As the report highlights, enhancing energy and resource efficiency, and finding new ways of sustainably meeting the rising demand for food, healthcare, shelter, energy, mobility, water, sanitation and communication are defining challenges.
Business is a key source of sustainable solutions for a transition to a more inclusive, low-carbon and resource efficient economy. The corresponding investments in infrastructure and technology by both governments and private entities and the long-term demand for related products and services represent a huge growth opportunity for business.
The WBCSD firmly believes that development will not be sustainable nor that poverty can be alleviated without business engagement. However, good governance, economic incentives and appropriate and robust legal and institutional framework conditions are essential for business to play a meaningful role.
As WBCSD President Björn Stigson stated, 'we trust that this report will encourage business leaders to further strengthen their contribution to development by creating innovative products, services and business models. We also hope it will stimulate partners in government and civil society to work with business in improving living standards in developing countries while preserving our ecosystems.'
Click through the presentation below outlining the report's highlights, and download the report (4 MB).