IICPSD continues to analyse inclusiveness of business operations with Business+ in Philippines

Aug 31, 2016

Photo: UNDP Philippines

Manila, Philippines- IICPSD‘s tool “Business+” on inclusive business models will be replicated in Philippines in cooperation with the Government of Philippines and UNDP Manila. The Business+ is an online survey developed by IICPSD out of a pilot implementation in Turkey in 2015. It is a baseline survey to measure the inclusiveness of core business operations along with companies’ awareness on inclusive business (IB) models.

The world has a new agenda, 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and 17 ambitious global goals to be met in 15 years. The SDGs require active involvement of the private sector more than ever. This involvement is not limited to financing for development, and it definitely covers but goes beyond corporate social responsibility practices and philanthropic giving. 17 goals can only be achieved with the genuine engagement of the private sector in the game through, we argue, inclusive businesses. Inclusive business is defined by G20 as “a private sector approach to providing goods, services, and livelihoods on a commercially viable basis, either at scale or scalable, to people living at the base of the economic pyramid, making them part of the value chain of companies’ core business as suppliers, distributors, retailers or customers1.

Business+ is a tool developed by a team of researchers from Istanbul Center for Private Sector in Development, Koç University and Istanbul Kemerburgaz University to help countries to improve the inclusive businesses by identifying the current level of inclusiveness of the private sectors’ core operations. It also reveals the awareness among the companies on inclusive business models. IICPSD developed the Business+ as the final product of a comprehensive research project, and piloted the tool in Turkey in 2015. The self-administered online survey takes 30 minutes to complete and consists of two set of questions: the core set that allows for international benchmarking and the optional set of country specific questions, which enables the tool to capture national peculiarities.

Last year, the Business+ survey did shed light on many aspects of the inclusive business ecosystem in Turkey. The findings showed that in the Turkish context, companies’ level of awareness on and engagement in inclusive business models and activities is very low. Low income populations are included in value chains mainly as employees. They are rarely involved into core business operations as suppliers, producers, designers, distributors etc. Also, there seems to be almost no collaboration between the stakeholders, i.e. inclusive businesses, NGOs, government officials, universities and development agencies. On the other hand, there is a strong link between the financial and operational success of inclusive business models and their focus on innovation - a correlation that proves policies to support both innovation and inclusive business models would be a key option for all actors.

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This year, IICPSD and the Government of the Philippines agreed to implement Business+ in the Philippines. Formulating national policies to support inclusive businesses all around the country has been on the agenda of the Department of Trade and Industry Board of Investments of Philippines. Both parties expect Business+ to snapshot the current situation within the Filipino business to help both the government and business people in planning their next moves.  

As a first step, the survey will be adapted to Philippine local context. Gathering the inputs from national stakeholders in Philippines, IICPSD with its partners from academia will hold stakeholder consultations to modify the optional set of questions according to the country-specific context. Having trained by IICPSD, officials from the Board of Investments will also bring valuable insights as well as realities of the field through in-depth interviews they will conduct with local key resource persons.

The final questionnaire will be sent to thousands of companies. The largest national business associations including Philippine Business for Social Progress, Management Association of Philippines, Philippines Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Makati Business Club and many more will be involved in the implementation of the survey at the highest level. Findings of the research will be documented in “Business+ in Philippines” report, which is expected to be available on IICPSD website by February, 2017.

Consultations to implement Business+ in South Korea are already underway. Many more Asian countries will follow as some of them have already expressed their interest to replicate Business+ survey in their countries. IICPSD seeks to implement Business+ in as many countries as possible, in particular in Africa and South America, to draw the complete picture of global IB ecosystem.

1G20 (2015) G20 Inclusive Business Framework, Turkey: G20 Development Working Group.