Global poverty reduction efforts are not new, yet multinational companies have been generally absent from such efforts. When multinational companies do participate in poverty alleviation activities, they have tended to do so through philanthropy. This paper presents a strong business rationale - more commonly termed “the business case” - for the multinational corporation’s involvement in poverty reduction as a corollary to a core business strategy. The paper proposes that the business case is the most compelling and the most effective means for engaging multinational corporations in the challenge of global poverty reduction. Building on the work of C.K. Prahalad on marketing to bottom-of-the pyramid consumers, the paper is divided into two sections. The first section reviews the converging forces that have made poverty reduction not only a pressing global issue but also a pressing business issue. The paper’s second and main looks at what multinational corporations have to gain by participating in poverty alleviation. In this section, we define the business case and develop the theoretical linkages between the multinational company’s core business and the business case. The paper further contends that an expanded understanding of sustainability to include economic, social and environmental components strengthens the business case.
|Keywords:||Poor as Consumers, Poverty Reduction, International Business Enterprises, Social Responsibility of Business, Business Case, Bottom of the Pyramid|
Associate Professor, Graham School of Business, Saint Xavier University, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Professor, Graham School of Management, Saint Xavier University, Chicago, Illinois, USA
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