The Philippine Board of Investments (BOI), the industry development and investments promotion arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Philippines for the conduct of a baseline survey on Inclusive Business (IB) among Philippine companies. 

Dubbed as Business+ Philippines, the baseline survey on IB was developed by UNDP Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development (IICPSD) in an aim to quantitatively analyze the “inclusiveness” of private sector’s business operations and to understand the level of companies’ awareness in IB models.

The MOU rooted in UNDP’s interest to enhance its development activities by increasing the role of private sector in sustainable development in general and promoting the inclusive businesses (IB) and the government’s enthusiasm on developing IB as a base for sustained inclusive growth.

Preparatory to the actual conduct of the baseline survey, a core team meeting was held recently (August 8, 2016) at the BOI to discuss the timelines and the general flow of Business+ Philippines.   Dr. Ceferino Rodolfo chaired the meeting which was attended by representatives from UNDP IICPSD, UNDP Philippines, Philippine Business for Social Progress, and the Office of Senator Bam Aquino who is a staunch supporter of IB.

“Inclusive Business models allow companies to engage poor and low-income communities as partners, customers, suppliers, and employees in their supply chains. In our experience, these models result in spreading the benefits of growth to the poor and we aim to promote them among BOI registered firms,” said Dr. Rodolfo.

The meeting was followed by in-depth interviews (IDI) Training on August 10, 2016 which equipped the participants with the necessary skills to successfully adapt the steps for implementation of the Business+ survey in the Philippines.

IB models help address different challenges in developing countries such as the Philippines, where poverty remains a problem.  In the Asia-Pacific region, more than 700 million people live below the US$1.25 per day poverty line, a group collectively called the base of the pyramid. IB models transform the base of the pyramid into a new market for goods and services, as well as a resource pool of talent, skilled labor, and entrepreneurs. This relationship strengthens value chains and ensures the sustainability of businesses and their host communities. The DTI and the BOI have been advocating for the integration of IB into public policy in line with the country’s contribution in realizing inclusive growth within APEC.

The BOI has identified a number of successful IB models in the Philippines. Among these models is Kennemer Foods’ Cacao Growership Program, through which smallholder farmers supplying cacao beans to the company are able to realize a seven-fold increase in annual income, from P25,000 per year to P175,000 per year. This also helps strengthen Kennemer’s supply chain for cacao beans, with farmers seeing a four-fold increase in yield once they became part of the program.

Another example is Manila Water’s “Tubig Para Sa Barangay” program, which effectively lowered the cost of clean, potable water for low-income residents in Manila from P150 to P7, while sustaining economic viability of the initiative.

Recognizing the power of IBs in achieving inclusive growth, the BOI is now promoting these models and encouraging more companies to adopt IB models or develop IB solutions. One such effort to promote IB models is its inclusion in the BOI’s Investment Priorities Plan (IPP). The BOI is also considering aligning industry incentive systems to prioritize companies that have integrated the IB model into their businesses.