Monday, March 17, 2008
Big social business
"Yunus is already involved in negotiations to set up social businesses with several multinationals, including the water firm Veolia, and an unnamed IT business, which he says will transform the lives of poor Bangladeshis. The prototype of his social business model is his venture with the European food multinational Danone. Grameen-Danone may be an unlikely coupling, but Yunus is eulogistic about how the two have collaborated to produce a cheap nutritional yoghurt that is to be sold by a network of low-income women in Bangladesh. It meets the social objective of improving the diet, particularly of poor children, and providing a livelihood for women, but it also meets Danone's objectives to extend its brand in developing countries and maintain its reputation for social responsibility. A win-win, then?"