Re-Imagining Strategy: How Companies can tackle Poverty and Inequality

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The credibility of business and government to address “big problems” is in constant question. Demand has never been stronger for global companies to go beyond CSR, to integrate sustainability, and deliver Positive Impact. Many organizations still struggle to implement strategies for inclusive growth that are both scalable and profitable, while creating value across their supply chains and stakeholders.

To achieve true Positive Impact by generating economic and social value at scale, a reimagining of how we pursue growth, how we build partnerships and how we unlock capital is required.

We need to reimagine strategy to tackle poverty and Inequality.

Reimagine Strategy will welcome progressive and ambitious leaders from across the world and consider routes to success for companies that recognise economic and social impact as intrinsically linked.

How companies can tackle Poverty and Inequality in the world:

1.Be Bold: Ambitious goals need ambitious projects

Companies have tried to upgrade their traditional corporate social responsibility Programmes to shared-value and sustainability strategies that are designed to deliver both economic and social returns. But all too often those programmes have a limited impact and very rarely produce transformational change. Instead, they remain ‘bolt-on’ initiatives, distant from core strategy. How can we overcome this?
Corporations need to prioritise commercial projects that generate economic value for themselves and socioeconomic benefits for all actors in a new ecosystem. Instead of trying to incrementally upgrade a limited program through un-scalable and short-term projects, we need to unleash market-based forces that are self-sustaining and organically grow.

2.Think collaboration: Transformational change through partnership

Company executives, often located at corporate headquarters, can be slow to recognise opportunities to create regional private-public partnerships. They are often constrained by financial management systems that, by their very nature, guide them towards short-term thinking. Though there are exceptions, few companies are able to create transformational ecosystems alone.

Companies need to partner with a ‘catalyst organisation’ to engage actors from multiple sectors in collaborative relationships and support the creation of strategies that can generate economic and social value. Harnessing the resources and innovation capabilities of profit-seeking companies is the reason governments are attracted to public-private partnerships as mechanisms for improving local socioeconomic conditions.

3.Unlock capital: Obtaining seed and scale-up financing

Corporate investment funds favour safe projects with short payback periods, not projects that require creating new relationships across multiple sectors in frontier markets. One strategy to circumvent this issue is to find capital from organisations that already have a mission to create inclusive growth ecosystems. These types of organisations tend to be under less pressure to generate short-term financial returns. This poses questions about how we differentiate the need for seed capital versus scaling, or who ought to take responsibility for financing new ecosystems.

Experts from the world of finance will examine how to obtain seed and scale-up financing. Panellists will discuss different vehicles and ways they channel external, non-traditional sources of capital into these types of projects, with a specific focus on impact investing.

4.Align and govern: Defining the rules of the game

 Building an ecosystem is not for the fainthearted. By some estimates, more than 50% of joint ventures and strategic alliances fail to achieve their desired results. Shared metrics provide accountability and the foundation for governing this ecosystem.

Leaders in measurement, monitoring and evaluation will explore different experiences in establishing shared metrics and how a successful framework can be used to create alignment among multiple partners.

This is how successful tackling  to Poverty and Inequality begins.