The Inclusive Business Action Network (iBAN) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) announced a joint initiative to help governments to enhance the policy environment for inclusive business in South-East Asia.
iBAN is a global initiative implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), which supports the scaling and replication of inclusive business models to improve the lives of the poor. ESCAP – the regional intergovernmental platform for the United Nations in Asia and the Pacific – will leverage its expertise in promoting impact investment, sustainable business and inclusive innovation; to support policymakers to develop inclusive business policies, and provide a sub-regional platform for sharing knowledge and lessons learned across South-East Asia.
“ESCAP’s regional expertise and knowledge in promoting inclusive innovation policies makes it ideally placed to support a strong policy foundation to spur inclusive businesses in this fast-growing region,” said Christian Jahn, Executive Director of iBAN.
Inclusive businesses provide goods, services, and livelihoods to people living at the base of the economic pyramid; while also engaging the low-income population in the value chain of companies as suppliers, distributors, and retailers. Governments can encourage the growth of inclusive business by implementing policies that facilitate impact investments. They can also reward companies that have a social impact, and boost innovations that allow businesses to be inclusive while meeting profit margins.
The iBAN-ESCAP partnership will focus on three main areas: country-level analysis and advice, regional policy dialogues and knowledge exchange. The partners will conduct studies that identify existing and potential inclusive business companies in each country and analyze the overall context in which they operate. Based on this analysis, the studies will provide recommendations for policymakers and institutions to encourage inclusive businesses. The partners will provide policymakers with technical and advisory services to help them design inclusive business policies. ESCAP will also convene member States and promote policy dialogues and endorsements at the regional level.
“The United Nations recognize the importance of businesses in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. However, the right policy environment needs to be in place to incentivize them to be more inclusive. Innovation is not just about technology but also innovative business models and changes in mindsets. One could argue that the most impactful innovation for the SDGs could be the shift from business as usual to inclusive business” said Mia Mikic, Director of Trade, Investment and Innovation at ESCAP.