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The Business Call to Action 
News Bite

February 2019
Dear BCtA Community

With one month already down for 2019, we are looking to the year ahead with renewed energy and enthusiasm!

We have already kickstarted some exciting initiatives this year that we trust will be making a difference in the trajectory of inclusive business, including adding Tunisia to our list of focus countries alongside Colombia and Bangladesh. Tunisia is not only a promising country in terms of inclusive business potential, but it opens up a new region for BCtA - North Africa and the Arab world - where we look forward to engaging more businesses making meaningful contributions to the SDGs. In addition, we are finalising our inclusive business management practices research, which we will compile into a report and disseminate findings through a series of events that will follow.

I would also like to let you know I will be moving on from BCtA in March. It was a difficult decision to make, having collaborated so closely with many of you in the last three years. I believe we’ve delivered tremendous achievements together and will miss your energy and relentless commitment to inclusive business. On the other hand, I am pleased to share that Sahba Sobhani, UNDP's Private Sector Advisor, will lead the team until my replacement arrives. Sahba has been with BCtA in many roles over the years, as its head and as a senior advisor. Suffice to say our network will be in good hands! I wish success, growth and amplified positive impact to all our members, and look forward to collaborating in the future. 

Sincerely, Paula.
Paula Pelaez
Sahba Sobhani

Highlighting new members

We have welcomed four new members to BCtA since November: Sulci,  a Japanese raffia bag manufacturer working to strengthen the skills and livelihoods of Filipino women; Innovate More Uganda, a fintech social enterprise fostering financial inclusion of Uganda’s unbanked communities;  Fabric Social, and Australian ethical fashion brand; and Medical Technology and Transfer Services, providing innovative neonatal intensive care equipment in Vietnam. Member pages outlining their inclusive business commitments will be up on our website soon.

This brings our community to 230 members in 70 countries.

What's on the Horizon?

BCtA at 10 years 
We are proud to have been in the service of promoting inclusive business for a decade, and on this important milestone anniversary, Paula reflects on where we have come since we were launched in May 2008 to now, and our ambitions for the future. 

How to reach base-of-the-pyramid consumers? Inclusive businesses provide an answer
Essilor's Chief Mission Officer Jayanth Bhuvaraghan shares his insights on how inclusive business is helping to reach BoP consumers, and explains the steps Essilor takes to ensure they're directly meeting BoP comsumers' needs with their innovative eye care programmes.

Last call to become an Impact Champion!
Twenty BCtA member companies have committed to taking on a full cycle of SDG lens impact measurement and management with BCtA as part of our first cohort of Impact Champions. At the end of the programme, our Impact Champions will have an enhanced capacity to measure and manager their impact on the SDGs, a case study co-authored with BCtA capturing their impact journey with key lessons learned, inputs on writing impact reports, and a chance to share this experience at BCtA’s Annual Forum in New York in September 2019. BCtA is looking to enrol five additional member companies to the programme. For more details, please get in touch with   

Upcoming Events
18-19 Feb 2019: Metrics from the Ground Up, ANDE, Mérida, Mexico
20-21 Feb: Sankalp Africa Summit, Nairobi, Kenya
28 Feb: Positive Innovation Hub, SparkNews, New York, USA 

18 Mar: Responsible Business Summit, Ethical Corporation, New York
21 Mar: What role can Business Play in Addressing Issues around Gender Based Violence in the Workplace, Business Fights Poverty, online discussion 

The Voice of our Community

Ethical Apparel Africa listed as 'company to inspire Africa' in 2019
Ethical Apparel Africa has been identified as one of London Stock Exchange Group’s Companies to Inspire Africa 2019, which highlights  Africa’s and most dynamic growth businesses. To be included in the list, companies needed to be privately held, and show an excellent rate of growth and potential to power African development.

Knowing your consumers is the first step to a successful inclusive business
Essilor's Chief Mission Officer Jayanth Bhuvaraghan shares his insights on how inclusive business is helping to reach BoP consumers and explains the steps Essilor is taking to ensure their products are tailor made to the specific needs of their BoP clientele. 

News from the Guardian Lab – Have you visited our Guardian Lab recently? You can find all the latest articles here: Improving Lives through Business Innovations. 
In our latest stories, Paula shares her perspective on the state of inclusive business, reflecting on the findings of our study published in December. Embracing Innovation to Tackle Humanity's Greatest Challenges explores the role that private sector is playing in Pakistan to help solve Islamabad's water crisis. BCtA member WeConnex also explains how it's working with fishermen in Madagascar to tackle climate change while improving livelihoods

If you’re a BCtA member and you have exciting news to share about your inclusive business initiative, please get in touch with our Comms Lead Aimee on so we can help share your good news!


Insights from the Field

Harnessing opportunities that lie at the nexus of poverty and the environment
UNDP's private sector advisor Sahba Sobhani shares his views on the market opportunities for the private sector that exist in tackling the dual challenges of poverty and climate change. He believes that the work at the nexus of poverty and the environment, must be connected to the SDGs —and that it goes far beyond permitting mechanisms like carbon credits. Read the full interview in the Inclusive Business Action Network's Clued In 3:  Environmental Convergence here.

Beyond Bitcoin
Blockchain, an emerging technology often associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, has tremendous potential to tackle this and other challenges, accelerating development progress that truly leave no one behind. UNDP has created an interactive platform that explores how blockchain can be harnessed for good to contribute to the SDGs. Check it out here
Business with Purpose
The January edition of Business Fights Poverty’s Magazine focused on business with purpose. Read stories about frontline workers building resilience through refugee-inclusive business models, innovators creating the conditions for social entrepreneurs to thrive and leaders whose partnership work will drive system change across entire sectors.

Other read-worthy reports and stories
If you weren't able to follow all the key events at the World Economic Forum's annual event in Davos, this article provides an overview of the key takeaways from this year, focusing on data privacy, AI, cybersecurity and more. The Brookings Institute's Foresight Africa: Top priorities for the continent in 2019 examines the untapped opportunities for business on the continent, and includes the success story of BCtA member Paga, a Nigerian mobile money startup that has signed up more than 8 million users in less than a decade.
Copyright © 2019 Business Call to Action (BCtA)
All rights reserved.

The Business Call to Action News Bite – February 2019

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