Inauguration in Barcelona of the European Platform for inclusive business at the base of the pyramid for 2020

In Barcelona CSR Europe, IMS Entreprendre pour la Cité, GDF Suez, BOPINC and CAD launch ‘Inclusive Business Models at the Base of the Pyramid – Challenges and Opportunities’, a European Platform for the promotion of inclusive business in the Enterprise 2020 context.

The two most important challenges of the future are increasing environmental degradation and growing inequality. Currently, businesses are in a unique position to tackle these challenges and prosper by taking the lead in moving us toward a more sustainable world. In the past two decades, companies have mostly focused on eco-efficiency, stakeholder engagement and social responsibility in existing core business. However, to lead change “beyond greening” today and overcome the challenge of the tradeoff between financial, social and environmental benefits it has to harness technological and business innovation models to create new growth platforms that tackle growing inequity and accelerating environmental degradation, while also earning profits.

To address these issues CAD is working with CSR Europe, GDF SUEZ, IMS Entreprendre pour la Cité and BoP Innovation Center on the Enterprise 2020 initiative that aims to lead the transformation towards a smart, sustainable and inclusive society and highlights the contribution that business can make to achieve the EU’s Europe 2020 strategy. Based on a shared vision for future of the enterprise, Enterprise 2020 is a new reference initiative for companies committed to developing innovative business practices while working together with their stakeholders to provide solutions to emerging societal needs.

The first event to kick-start the initiative took place on April 18th and 19th in Barcelona and was hosted by ACC1Ó. The first evening, dedicated to an informal gestation session, brought together 14 companies across various sectors. Based on mapping out their respective projects at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) at ground level, the objective was to identify the key challenges faced, as well as the interest and need for enhanced and new projects moving forward. Potential collaboration opportunities bloomed from two hours of fruitful discussions.

The following day, a workshop (which was attended by 43 participants from businesses, international NGOs, consultancies, business schools, CSR networks and governmental institutions) was organized around four working groups on (a) Governance/Strategy; (b) Market Insight/local ecosystems; (c) Business Models and (d) Up-scaling, and focused on the identification of opportunities and possible solutions to the four topics. The next workshop, which will build on these solutions and aim at defining concrete action plans for business, public authorities and development agencies, will take place in Brussels on the 26th of September.