Poverty remains a major challenge to sustainable development, environmental security, global stability and a truly global market. The key to poverty alleviation is economic growth that is inclusive and reaches the majority of people. Improving the performance and sustainability of local entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which represent the backbone of global economic activity, can help achieve this type of growth.
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has published an Issue Brief on SMEs in collaboration with SNV Netherlands Development Organisation. The brief explains how governments can help alleviate poverty by focusing on SMEs and how larger corporations can help themselves by including SMEs in their value chains. It describes some of the comparative advantages of SMEs and the challenges they face in developing countries. The Brief also includes a set of key messages to both business and governments on promoting the growth of SMEs.
The publication follows the recent "Statement of Intent for Doing Business with the World", in which the leaders of twelve WBCSD member companies commit to looking beyond corporate philanthropy to search for responsible, sustainable and inclusive business models that are good for business and good for development.
Meanwhile, the WBCSD is working with its members members, Regional Network partners and other stakeholders to broker new business ventures that are both good business and good for development.