Poverty Pitch

The intersection of American business and global poverty


All the basic business and social development jargon you need to know!

B-corporations (B-corps): A new business model wherein companies measure social impact, and place their social mission at the core of their business. My interview with Professor Walske reveals how this model differs from CSR and social entrepreneurship (see definitions below) . Find out more about B-corps through bcorporation.net.

Bottom-up Development: Plans for social improvement organically designed  and implemented by communities that want to address their own social issues. Also known as  the “searchers” in the academic writing of William Easterly. Often seen in competition with Jefferey Sachs “Big Push” argument. (See Resources page for references to both theories)

Cause-Related Marketing (CRM): a partnership between a corporation and a nonprofit wherein marketing efforts are done to combine resources and increase support for both party’s interests (consumerism and a social mission). Common examples of this include Project Red and the Pink Ribbon campaign. Learn more about it at the Grant Space website.

Conscious Consumerism: Purchasing products based on its brand’s connections to certain values or ways to address social and environmental issues.  Find out more through this article on how to “Shop for Good.”  This concept is critiqued in Slavoj Zizek‘s speech which was featured in my post on TOMs Shoes.

Corporate Philanthropy: money and resources donated by companies for a humanitarian cause. Learn more about it at the Grant Space website

Creative Capitalism: a theory that businesses are responsible for addressing social issues such as poverty, and that these causes will effectively be addressed if they are more closely incorporated into the core of the business mission. This idea was proposed by Bill Gates at the World Economic Forum. Click here for an interview with the author of the book Creative Capitalism which discuses this theory.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): The programs and initiatives that companies do in order to “give back to society,” address social issues, or counteract the negative impact of business practices on society. Fair Trade (see description) is a common practice of CSR. Find out how this differs from social entrepreneurship and B-corps through my interview with Professor Walske.

Fair Trade: refers to a production process where in supply laborers (usually from developing countries) are ensured proper working conditions and are provided social services such as health care. Products from companies that are Fair Trade certified are usually marked with a sticker from Fair Trade USA. My blog post on Senda (a soccer equipment business) talks about the business’s Fair Trade practices.

Pro-bono: defined asbeing, involving, or doing professional and especially legal work donated especially for the public good” by the Miriam-Webster dictionary. Can entail doing professional business practices for free or for a humanitarian cause.

Social Enterprise: Non-profit organizations that  address a social issue by using the resources generated from their own business practices. Find out more at the Social Enterprise Alliance website.

Social Entrepreneurship: Small businesses that have a social mission at its core. Learn more about it through my interview with my interview with Professor Walske and this PBS feature.

Small and Medium Enterprises (SME): Businesses that have a smaller scale and less resources than a company or corporation (exact numbers vary per country). SMEs are the commonly seen as spaces for Social Entrepreneurship because of their focus on innovation and localization.

Sustainable Development: famously defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”in a report by the World Commission on Environment and Development. Many business programs support sustainable development by claiming that commercial practices allow for an independent and long-term source of income and resources.

Top-down Development: Plans for social improvement designed and implemented by more privileged groups or countries for less privileged communities in hopes that these programs would place an impoverished community on the track to development. Also known as  the “Big Push” in the academic writing of Jefferey Sachs. Often seen in competition with Easterly’s “Planners vs Searchers” argument. (See Resources page for references to both theories)

Triple Bottom Line (TBL or 3BL): people, planet, profit. The notion that 21st century companies strive to 1) make a profit 2) help society, and 3) preserve the environment. This concept is applied in my post about Fair Trade USA.

Venture Capital: money that firms invest in entrepreneurs (including social entrepreneurs) to start or expand their business ventures. Find out more at Entrepreneur.com