Building Markets wants corporations to put the breaks on its corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs and put the money into local investments. Ainsley Butler explains in a blog post today:
Poverty can be beaten when people have jobs. In the world’s poorest economies, 9 out of 10 jobs are created by small business owners. Access to opportunity and capital is the best way to help these business owners create jobs.
Their pitch is to get aid money in circulation in developing countries so that businesses can grow.
Because local spending is where the war on poverty can be won, mining companies should stop thinking about their CSR budget as their community development budget. Increased spending through local businesses can have a far greater economic impact than any CSR budget. By purchasing and spending locally, you are spending your money twice. By buying local, companies obtain the goods and services necessary for their operations while revenues are used to pay and hire local workers, thereby supporting families and communities. Money is re-invested in business, community health, employment, and education sectors.
They make a pretty good case. One company that is doing that is Unilever. The international giant set forward its Sustainable Ling Plan a few years ago. It is comprised of a series of goals and targets meant to improve the lives of its customers and the environment.
So maybe we need to think of businesses as major development players. Thoughts or suggested readings from the crowd?