November 5, 2017

What We’re Reading: Encouraging private sector ambition in sustainability

The EditorsEcoAgriculture Partners

This week at EcoAgriculture Partners, we read about private sector efforts promoting climate-smart agriculture and serving underserved populations, and ways sustainable enterprise can remain profitable.


Reaching deep in low-income markets – Deloitte

A new study conducted by Monitor Deloitte, the MacArthur Foundation, the Omidyar Network, and the Rockefeller Foundation examined 20 enterprises to determine the extent to which enterprises could remain profitable while serving populations at the “bottom of the pyramid.”  The researchers found that yes, there are examples of profitable enterprises with large portions of customers often living on less than $2.50 per day, especially among businesses that provide critical goods like energy, healthcare, and sanitation. Enterprises that have been successful at serving this population are usually “asset light,” in that their business models allow for low up-front capital costs as well as low marginal costs. Additionally, the report found that the most successful enterprises in this area also sold to customers at a range of different incomes and many also received subsidies in the beginning stages before being able to sustain themselves.  

“Global goals hotspots” represent a $12 trillion annual opportunity – Business Commission

A new report entitled “Better Business, Better World” by the Better Business Commission identifies over fifty distinct opportunities for private sector firms to advance implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while accessing a 12 trillion dollar market that has previously remained untapped. These opportunities, according to the report, exist in the sectors of food and agriculture, cities, energy, and materials. Tapping into these opportunities will require an evolution of current business models to become more “circular,” or able to transition to models of sustainable production, in order to reduce overall waste and ensure profitability. The report highlights the ways in which sustainable business models can take on new roles in serving underserved populations while working towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Why the next Tesla should take on agriculture – Eco-Business

By reinventing the automobile to be powered by renewable energy, Tesla has been able to carve out a place in the automobile market through harnessing the advantages of sustainable energy sources. According to CGIAR Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) research program director Bruce Campbell, similar opportunities exist in climate-smart agriculture. They key, according to Campbell, is fostering the same level of ambition for innovation that has been so successful within the technology sector. The need to adapt global systems of food production to better address food insecurity as well mitigate climate change represents a grand challenge for humanity. By encouraging a cross-sectoral approach to addressing this grand challenge, public and private sectors can mirror the ambition, an achievement, shown in the tech sector and begin to transform agriculture from a source of carbon emissions into a carbon sink. 


Featured image courtesy of the Business Commission. 

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  • tsegaye
    February 26, 2018 at 9:19am

    how you help us ? we have small scale dairy farm

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