Supply chains: The 'next frontier' in corporate development work

In an interview on the sidelines of BSR’s global conference, Peder Michael Pruzan-Jorgensen explained why companies are increasingly involved in development work worldwide. 

“There is a gradual alignment of social-development objectives and corporate objectives,” said Pruzan-Jorgensen, BSR’s Copenhagen-based vice president for Europe, Middle East, and Africa.  “Business needs to operate in a functioning society, in a stable society, and they realized they have to be part of creating that.”

He said that while philanthropic giving has a role, some of a corporation’s most valuable assets may be its delivery systems and capacity for innovation. He pointed to the work of BSR’s HERProject, through which corporations reach women factory workers with health information.

“In many ways it’s the core business model that is the most effective lever for addressing societal issues and the Millenium Development Goals.”

To have an impact at scale, however, he said companies must work together not only within their industry but also across industries and in partnership with government donors and multilaterals. 

In the next decade, he said, he expects to see more multistakeholder partnerships. “We may see pharma companies working with ICT companies working with logistics companies to form a coalition [that] works with government.”

Businesses are beginning to see that “the next frontier they have to address in sustainability can only be addressed when either working with their whole supply chain or with businesses in other sectors.”

Explore related content:

Join Devex, the largest online community for international development, to network with peers, discover talent and forge new partnerships - it’s free! Then sign up for the Devex Impact newsletter to receive cutting-edge news and analysis every month on the intersection of business and development.

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.

Join the Discussion