SDG1, “Eradicating poverty”, is a fundamental part of the Global Goals having correlation with almost all other 16 SDGs, since poverty not only discriminates people in the fair access to goods, education, financial services and jobs, but those living under the poverty line are also disproportionately effected by climate change and economic crisis.

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Even though it is reported that the Millennium Development Goals (find out more about them on our previous Blog post) halved the poverty rates by 2010 (other sources suggest it was only due to the raise of the poverty line), the challenge remains huge, especially in the Sub-Saharan Africa region.  It is estimated that 2.2 billion people live under $2 a day and according to The World Bank Covid-19 pandemic may have pushed an additional 71 million people into extreme poverty, and if considering the lower and upper-middle income countries it generated millions of additional poor living at $3.20 and $5.50 per day.

Social security, safety measures and government support haven’t been so much demanded since the end of WWII, although developing countries have been hit the hardest by the pandemic, unemployment rates soared in 2020 in Europe and the US, as well. But government response is not the only that will ensure a just and sustainable recovery from the crisis, companies that have been resilient during the pandemic and came out better off have an equal role in building back our economies. Poverty is not merely a question on the far end of supply chains, it is present in our communities and suppliers, how business can make sure that it eliminates all forms of poverty along the value chain and can uplift communities is what we are going explore below.

How SDG1 is addressed in the 4D Canvas?

How do you contribute to the local community where you operate? How do you engage in local development projects?

A resilient business can only be rooted in healthy communities, your local community can be at the physical area where your office is based, you sell your goods, provide services or you can also operate online, in which case the community will spread along the value chain.  You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to come up with new initiatives, there are amazing grassroot organisations, NGOs that have been implementing programs on local level, you only need to find out which one has the most in common with your purpose and approach them to establish a partnership. You may also opt for donating a percentage of your revenue to community projects or create an investment fund that would generate financial return.

Download the UNGC Poverty Footprint a framework that helps companies learn where and how they impact poverty, leading to recommendations for action. It provides the roadmap for partners to define steps to minimize negative impacts and enhance positive contributions to poverty eradication.

How could you involve local and marginalized communities in the value chain as suppliers and employees?

Could you revise your supplier list and see how you could source the same items/services from BAME, refugee-led company? Strengthening markets through collaboration gives a comprehensive list of possibilities on how SMEs can be empowered through partnerships, since SMEs are the backbones of local community development.

Could underrepresented groups use your product/service? If not, how could they become your customers?

The question here is how would your existing product or service look like if it was created to solve a societal problem, for instance if you’re an online agency could you offer marketing services to SMEs on the verge of bankruptcy for free or at a reduced price? Could you offer a low-priced alternative to your products so they can become available for vulnerable customers?

Could your product solve an environmental or social problem for/through your customer?

This one is rather a business model related question and an invitation to explore what new product and service lines could be launched that target vulnerable customers. According to UNDP “Inclusive business models’ are commercially viable and benefit businesses through new markets, higher revenue, innovation and strengthened supply and distribution chains.”Gain inspiration from social enterprise models and among them microfinance companies like KIVA.

“Pro-poor business strategies can also open companies up to a market of (depending on projections) two-to-four billion people currently excluded from commerce.”

As reported by UNGC

Does your company pay at least minimum living wage to all employees? 

Ensuring living wage is the bare minimum a company should provide to its employees; it is defined as the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet their basic need as opposed to the official minimum wage of a country that normally is below the decent standard of living.

In several countries there is living wage employer accreditation, obtaining such accreditation has proven to boost business reputation, retention rates, improved relations among managers and staff (read more about it here). Fair compensation also applies to suppliers, you may request information to ensure a fair wage is paid across your supply chain.

We hope the 4D questions and best practices have sparked new ideas on how your company can address SDG1, whether it is through adopting a more inclusive business model or ensuring the fair payment across the value chain, eradication of poverty is everyone’s business and fundamental to the just transition to a sustainable future.