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Leveraging the Development Impact of Business Against Povert

Leveraging the Development Impact of Business Against Povert

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08/07/2010

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 Jane Nelson
 Senior Fellow and Director, Corporate Social Responsibility InitiativeJohn F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
 
April 2006
 
Working Paper No. 22
 
A Working Paper of the:
Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative
A Cooperative Project among:
The Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and GovernmentThe Center for Public LeadershipThe Hauser Center for Nonprofit OrganizationsThe Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy
Leveraging the Development Impactof Business in the Fight AgainstGlobal Poverty
 
Citation
This paper may be cited as: Nelson, Jane. 2006. “Leveraging the Development Impact of Business in the Fight against Global Poverty.” Corporate Social Responsibility InitiativeWorking Paper No. 22. Cambridge, MA: John F. Kennedy School of Government,Harvard University. Comments may be directed to the author.This paper was written for the Brookings Blum Roundtable, “The Private Sector in the FightAgainst Global Poverty,” held in Aspen, Colorado, in August 2005. It is forthcoming as achapter in
Transforming the Development Landscape: The Role of the Private Sector 
, editedby Lael Brainard. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.
Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative
The Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative at the Kennedy School of Government is amulti-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder program that seeks to study and enhance thepublic role of the private enterprise. It explores the intersection of corporateresponsibility, corporate governance and strategy, public policy, and the media. Itbridges theory and practice, builds leadership skills, and supports constructive dialogueand collaboration among different sectors. It was founded in 2004 with the support of Walter H. Shorenstein, Chevron Corporation, The Coca-Cola Company, and GeneralMotors.The views expressed in this paper are those of the author and do not imply endorsementby the Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative, the John F. Kennedy School of Government, or Harvard University.
For Further Information
Further information on the Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative can be obtainedfrom the Program Coordinator, Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government,John F. Kennedy School of Government, 79 JKF Street, Cambridge, MA 02138,telephone (617) 495-1446, telefax (617) 496-0063, email CSRI@ksg.harvard.edu.The homepage for the Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative can be found at:http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/cbg/csri/home.htm
 
 
L
EVERAGING THE
D
EVELOPMENT
I
MPACT OF
B
USINESS IN THE
F
IGHT
A
GAINST
G
LOBAL
P
OVERTY
 
J
ANE
N
ELSON
 
ABSTRACT
There is growing consensus among policy makers, development experts and private sector leadersthat efforts to spread economic opportunity and growth offer one of our best hopes for reducingpoverty. The private sector – domestic and foreign, large-scale and small – has a vital role to play inthis process, and in ensuring that both the quantity and quality of economic growth benefits thepoor. Efficient markets and good governance, at both the global and national level, are essentialconditions for enabling the private sector to fulfill this potential. So too is profitable and responsiblebusiness leadership. Leadership based on clear values and a commitment to delivering, or at aminimum protecting, both market value and social value. This chapter illustrates some of the waysthat companies are meeting the leadership challenge, through implementing responsible businesspractices, creating innovative new business models, investment strategies, and partnerships, andworking with governments to improve the conditions and institutions needed for good governanceand private sector development.While recognizing the crucial development role of small, medium and micro-enterprises, thechapter focuses primarily on the contribution of large companies, both multinationals and largenational companies. It suggests a conceptual framework for thinking about the contribution of business to development, focusing on three corporate ‘spheres of influence’: a company’s corebusiness operations in the workplace, marketplace and along the value chain; its socialinvestment and strategic philanthropy activities; and its engagement in public policy dialogue,advocacy and institution building. The chapter provides a set of six strategies that any companycan apply to manage its development contribution in a manner that protects or builds both marketvalue and social value, and it recommends some specific areas for action.
1
 

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