The 13th International Conference of the Greening of Industry Network - Integration and Communication: A Clear Route to Sustainability?, July 2-6, 2006 of GIN

Session 45
Wednesday, July 5, 2006
10:45 AM-12:15 PM
Introduction to Sustainability - Key Issues of Sustainability (6) : After Seven Years - The "Bottom of the Pyramid Debate" Update
In 1999 at the GIN conference in Chapel Hill, NC, C.K. Prahalad presented his early Bottom-of-the-Pyramid (BOP) ideas, in essence suggesting that global problems of poverty could be solved if multinational companies start to offer products and services with business models designed for poor markets. The ideas and examples divided the GIN1999 audience. Today, Prahaladís ideas have penetrated to strategies of some leading multinationals, such as Philips, Nokia or Unilever. These companies are developing business models for serving poor markets. The ideas are also popularized under academics and the wider public by a widely read book, full of examples of BOP projects. But questions remain: can BOP-business be seen as a way of practicing CSR, instead of, or as extension to, for instance charity, or is it detrimental to the cause? Could some elements in BOP strategies be beneficial to poor people? What are the limitations? And what is the status of the debate now? In this discussion workshop we will hear from supporters and critics, from practical and academic sides, and again challenge the GIN community to this debate.

Technical Program

The 13th International Conference of the Greening of Industry Network - Integration and Communication: A Clear Route to Sustainability?, July 2-6, 2006