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Companies are more focused than ever on emerging markets while their vision for social good has evolved far beyond on the “old model of check writing,” said Aron Cramer, president and CEO of BSR.

The international development community can leverage these business trends through partnerships, said Cramer in an interview with Devex president Raj Kumar on the sidelines of the BSR 2012 annual conference.

“We know from experience that no single sector can address the world’s most urgent development challenges and opportunities on their own,” he said. “The key is to remember what each sector brings that’s unique and then leverage those skills.”

Many businesses are experts at logistics, able to deliver their products all over the world, said Cramer, while public-sector development agencies bring “legitimacy” and long experience working with civil society and other governments. “That’s a case of one-plus-one equals 3,” he said.

The mandate for the development community is to better understand core business drivers and look beyond corporate philanthropy, “which can only go so far.”

“The great project of the 21st century is to bring sustainability – prosperity, dignity and good livelihoods – to 7-billion-going-on-9-billion people. I see both the business community and the development community poised to make that happen.”

Video editing by Sarah Cannon.

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About the author

  • Andrea Useem

    As former associate editor and content director for Devex Impact, Andrea created and managed cutting-edge content on the intersection of business and international development. An experienced multimedia journalist, Andrea also served as leadership editor at the Washington Post and spent three years as a foreign correspondent in Eastern Africa reporting for publications including the Boston Globe, Dallas Morning News, and San Francisco Chronicle.