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How companies are addressing poverty in Latin America

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11 June 2008

Latin America: Social innovation – Giving the majority a stake

Author: Oliver Balch, Ethical Corporation

Latin American companies are getting to grips with “bottom of the pyramid” business… The Inter-American Development Bank’s novel Opportunities for the Majority Index…aims to “create an investment case” to boost anecdotal evidence around the benefits of pro-poor business strategies. Procter & Gamble…presents a case in point. While researching the low-income market in Colombia, it discovered that many poor communities suffered water shortages. Procter & Gamble subsequently launched a soap that requires less water, opening a new market for itself while also providing an environmentally-favourable product…Gas transmission company Promigas…provides credits to low-income families in Peru wishing to access its gas services. [also refers to Prodem, Cemex, Paralife, Cajasur, Yahoo, Microsoft, PepsiCo]

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21 December 2007

[PDF] Opportunities for the Majority Index: Analysis of Corporate Performance in Latin America and the Caribbean

Author: Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, prepared for Inter-American Development Bank

Over 70% of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) lives on less than $3,260 a year. This “Majority” of the population is both deprived of access to opportunities for wealth creation and underserved by the products and services that effective markets provide…[T]he Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) launched an initiative, “Opportunities for the Majority”(OM), to engage the private sector in addressing the needs of this Majority…The study involved the review of 75 publicly traded firms… The top companies…are comprised of firms that have made commitments to the Majority communities in their regions and integrated these commitments directly into their businesses. [top ten companies: Bradesco, Grupo ACP, Paralife, Unibanco, Cemex, Cajasur, Desarrolladora Homex, Grupo Nueva, Farmacias SIMI, Unilever, Promotora Ambiental]

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