As the 2015 deadline to meet the Millennium Development Goals fast approaches and much work remains to eliminate global poverty, could the answer be to raise wages in the developing world — even if it costs corporations and fails to align with market dictates?

It might not be the most agreeable sentiment to the corporate world, but Lord Michael Hastings, global head of citizenship at KPMG International, believes that decent wages and sacrificial collaboration are essential to lifting millions out of poverty.

Companies should pay better salaries — what he calls “beyond-liveable wages” — which would enable workers in developing countries to buy property, invest, educate their children and save for their future. Governments must demand that they do, Hastings said in a video interview last week following a Devex Impact event at the U.K. Department for International Development headquarters in London, where he moderated a panel about the role of the private sector in development.

“We all know from the resources available in the cash mountains held by corporations, banks, and even the assets of governments we could solve this problem very quickly indeed,” he explained.

Hastings admitted this will be a challenge, but greater cooperation by all parties is now a must, and urged businesses and governments to step up to the plate and own the mission.

“If we don’t do these things with the spirit of general sacrificial collaboration, we’re still going to be having this conversation in 2030,” he said.

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About the author

  • Adva Saldinger

    Adva Saldinger is an Associate Editor at Devex, where she covers the intersection of business and international development, as well as U.S. foreign aid policy. From partnerships to trade and social entrepreneurship to impact investing, Adva explores the role the private sector and private capital play in development. A journalist with more than 10 years of experience, she has worked at several newspapers in the U.S. and lived in both Ghana and South Africa.