Entries in profit (5)


Responsible Business Forum -- Watch the Videos

A wide selection of videos from the event are now available for viewing on our Events page. Enjoy them and join the conversation.

-- Bruno Roche


Measuring economic, social and environmental impact 

The Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) is a global organization consisting of members that support small and growing businesses (SGB) in emerging economies.

A central element of ANDE's work involves promoting the measurement of the impact that these businesses have across multiple dimensions -- economic, social and environmental -- and it has developed it's own core set of metrics to track the development of the SGB sector. ANDE also recommends that its members adopt IRIS, a catalog of social, environmental, and financial performance metrics for impact investors from the Global Impact Investing Network.

We are interested in ANDE's efforts to foster common, transparent measurement definitions, and share its belief that these can improve not just credibility but overall business performance as well. For a closer look at how ANDE and its partners are using metrics to support value creation, I encourage you to read this SSIR article that postulates:

"For metrics and evaluations to create value for us, individually and collectively, we must do two things:

  1. Integrate impact metrics with financial and operational ones. Integrated metrics can help organizations develop better products and services, improve resource allocation, and build more efficient and impactful businesses.
  2. Implement targeted, actionable evaluations that are useful to multiple stakeholders and fit with collective learning agendas. Such evaluations will build on existing knowledge; break down big questions into manageable, answerable pieces; and put the answers back together to inform strategic decision-making for enterprises and the sector at large."

Image source: ANDE

-- Clara Shen


Responsible Business Forum -- Presentations and Case Studies

The forum we recently hosted with Oxford's Said Business School started with the question, "Can a company do well by doing good?" We were driven to approach this with discipline and real world data, supplemented by the experience and viewpoints of executives with responsibility for profit and sustainable performance.

We are pleased to make the case studies and presentations from that forum available, and hope this information can inspire new ideas and business models.

The Forum was based on a series of cases that describe specific examples of the ways in which companies have attempted to adopt responsible approaches to business. Responsible companies in this context satisfy two criteria: (a) they expound explicit purposes or values that reflect objectives beyond pure financial performance, and (b) they demonstrate a serious commitment to implementing them through their ownership, governance, leadership, and management practices. These cases were presented in three sessions:




  1. Driving purpose from the top down. In this session companies pursue value-driven work via a mandate from leadership, integrating social practices through the business from the top down.
  2. Purposeful finance. In this session the featured case studies are focused on building the business through increasing financial inclusivity and access to banking. The session also looks at ethical investing and how to use investment to improve the lives of those living in poverty.
  3. Driving purpose from the bottom up. The case studies in this session are experimenting with innovative social programmes via business piloting, feeding information back into the main business to influence change from the bottom up.

Images source: Said Business School

-- Catalysts


Mars and Others Share Findings on Why Doing “Good” is Good for Business at Oxford’s Said School of Business

Mutuality has been at the very heart of Mars since Forest Mars, Sr. first articulated it as the objective of the business. Last week, Mars, and partner Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, sponsored an event that brought companies together to share how businesses that create mutual benefits for themselves and others can be more successful than businesses focused only on profit.

More than 500 business leaders, policy makers, NGOs, students and faculty came together at the Responsible Business Forum, a joint partnership between Saïd Business School and Mars, to learn more about what determines, or undermines, a responsible business. Leaders from Mars—including Mars Catalyst Managing Director Bruno Roche, Mars Global Chocolate President Jean-Christophe Flatin, Wrigley Global President Martin Radvan—were joined by Oxford faculty and leaders from other like-minded companies, to share case studies and insights that explore how companies can and are seeking to adopt more responsible businesses practices.

Ian Burton, Regional President of Wrigley Europe, Jay Jakub, Senior Director of External Research for Mars Catalyst, Yassine El Ouarzazi, Demand Lab Director for Mars Catalyst and Clara Shen, Emerging Market Director for Mars Catalyst, were among the Mars leaders who presented case studies. Importantly, the case studies and perspectives across businesses also showed both successes and failures as sources of learning. The partnership between Mars and the Saïd Business School dates back to 2014, when the two first joined forces to explore the potential for building new business models based on mutuality.

Jean Christophe Flatin opened a panel on “Business Perspectives” about how mutuality guides Mars Chocolate’s actions and plays a central role in the challenges we face in the cocoa sector.

“There is no chocolate without cocoa. Cocoa is a very fragile crop that has barely modernized in the past 400 centuries and it is grown by single family farmers,” said Jean-Christophe. “The business challenge is the gap between worldwide consumers of great-tasting chocolate and single family farms in some of the poorest areas of the world. To protect and nurture our business we need to be transformation agents of this crop and go beyond traditional business boundaries.”

Wrigley President Martin Radvan also shared with the group how mutuality has been an ever-present part of his 30-year career journey.

“It certainly has been a journey,” said Martin. “From the start it was my experience as an Associate and the experiences I got to have seeing the impact business can have just by doing business. I’m proud and personally humbled by the initiatives I’ve seen over the course of my career but we are just scratching the surface, and I’m passionate that the journey continue.”

Mars Catalyst managing director Bruno Roche spoke about the role of business in repairing the world and the importance of developing a new management theory and training a new breed of business leaders.

“Business is one of the strongest forces in today’s world to emancipate people and communities and to address environmental issues,” said Bruno. “We are excited by the first insights that show that Mutuality can be managed rigorously with simple metrics and can drive superior business performance holistically. But this is just the beginning…the intent going forward is to continue to research this topic and create a broader platform where other companies and academic institutions can share their learnings and experiences — in a spirit of humility and learning from each other — to advance the collective understanding of how to drive mutuality in business.”

-- Gabrielle Braswell


No compromises: profitable business model, while serving the poor?

As part of the Economics of Mutuality, we are very interested in business models that do well by doing good. In a recent article in Bloomberg Business, M-Kopa Solar's founders outline their "no trade-offs" approach to social business and profitability.

M-Kopa sells solar lighting and battery charging systems to rural African customers, most of whom rely on ancient, expensive, and "dirty" sources for their light and power. The company’s power system includes a solar panel, two LED bulbs, an LED flashlight, a rechargeable radio, and adaptors for charging a phone. In addition to the environmental benefits, M-Kopa estimates that it's customers can save about $750 over four years by switching to solar.

Company founders Nick Hughes and Jesse Moore envisioned building a company based on three conditions:

  • It had to involve mobile technology, an area in which they both had experience;
  • It had to solve a significant pain point for the very poor; and
  • It had to have the potential to become a billion-dollar business.

We think it’s possible to build a business with no trade-offs. We can benefit the environment. Our customers will be better off. And we’ll get richer. We all can win.” -- Jesse Moore

Because the company only requires a small down payment on their systems, collecting a $0.45 daily payment for one year to make up the difference, M-Kopa operates much like a finance business. Counterintuitively, the company has found that its poorest customers—those who rely on the system as their only source of electricity—make the best credit risks. “If you take the long-term view and if you treat low-income people as customers, not charity cases, you can change the world,” Moore says.

-- Yan Toh