Last month, the United Nations marked 1000 days until the 2015 deadline of the “Millennium Development Goals,” a program started in 2000 with the goal of eliminating the worst impacts of human poverty within 15 years. This countdown was, in part, a response to data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development that countries are giving less and less to international development. In the steepest reduction in 15 years, aid was down 4% last year and 2% percent in 2011. Unfortunately, many of the programs designed to help developing nations reach the Millennium goals are not backed by NGOs, but by shrinking government aid budgets.
With a persistent European economic crisis and philanthropies facing continued funding challenges since 2008, it’s time for the private sector to step up and become a third pillar of social change. Business is slowly emerging as such an entity, and those leading the charge are driving successful Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives and embracing models of “contributory consumption” (putting a small portion of the proceeds of every sale towards a cause) and the “one-for-one model” pioneered by TOMS. But really impacting the world’s most serious humanitarian problems requires scale and speed that only a collaborative Global Brand Initiative (GBI) can deliver.
Utilizing its vast resources, expertise, management, and distribution networks, a unified and well-organized Global Brand Initiative has the power to tackle the world’s most serious humanitarian crises: poverty, malnutrition, infant mortality, ignorance and illiteracy, and joblessness. In order into move the needle, there are two elements that business must embrace to become a coalition of purpose-driven brands that build their bottom line and a better world: