MANILA, Philippines – Top telecom firms Smart Communications and Globe Telecom, Jollibee Foods Corp. and Nestlé Philippines were among the corporations cited in an Asian Development Bank (ADB) report focused on inclusive business (IB).
The ADB report defines IB as a commercially viable and profit-making private company whose core business is designed to address pressing social needs of the poor and vulnerable people below the $3 international poverty line, sometimes referred to as the base of the income pyramid.
However, the report made it clear that IB is entirely different from corporate social responsibility (CSR), social enterprise or microfinance.
“Companies adopt IB primarily to create shared value, increase sales, enhance company reputation and develop the ability to maintain a stable of supply of inputs,” the report, which was co-sponsored by the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) and the Asian Social Enterprises Incubator (ASEI), said.
IBs are still concentrated in a few sectors, such as the agricultural sector (24 percent) followed by the financial services sector (14 percent) and the manufacturing sector (10 percent). IB companies in others sectors (IT, energy, education, health, and transport and logistics) are fewer but exhibit profitable IB models.
Smart and Globe were cited for bringing mobile communications to the lower segment of society through their prepaid e-loading network. Both telcos also started microfinance mobile banking operations.
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In the food and beverage sector, Jollibee was cited for starting its Farmer Enterpreneurship Program, and subsequently expanding its enrollment from 700 to 8,000 small farmers.
Nestlé, meanwhile, propagates shared value as the way they do business. In 2012, they engaged 5,000 poor families and is forecast to hit 70,000 families by 2016.
International manufacturer and distributor Kennemer Foods, on the otherhand, is now sourcing cacao supply from poor farmers in Mindanao.
Meanwhile, BPI Globe BanKO expanded its mobile-based microfinance products including savings and payroll services to one million clients.
CLIMBS Life and General Insurance Cooperative (CLIMBS) is a composite insurance cooperative owned by more than 2,000 cooperative primaries and federations all over the country.