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About the author

Charlie Dou is an adjunct Professor and Research Associate, Alternative Energy Institute, West Texas A&M University, USA; CEO, Beijing Bergey Windpower Co. Ltd., served as International advisor for UNDP/GEF on renewable energy project in China, key Expert for EU, Consultant for the World Bank/GEF, etc. He is directly involved in many research and international projects sponsored by UNDP/GEF, the World Bank, China central government, and has published and/or edited 14 books and more than 40 papers/presentations, including “China Village Power Project development Guidebook” and the series books of “Capacity Building Strategy for the Rapid Commercialization of Renewable Energy in China” for UNDP. He received his Master’s Degree in Engineering Technology in the US, and Master’s Degree in Electric Engineering in China, and once worked on his doctoral degree on Industrial Engineering at Texas Tech University.

About the case study

Agricultural waste was previously just waste, burned outside in winter. It needs a lot of labour to handle and also produces severe environmental problems. This successful business converts agricultural waste into a valuable product. Beijing Shengchang Bioenergy S&T Co., Ltd. (SBST) is a bioenergy manufacturer located in Beijing, China, that turns agricultural waste into bioenergy, while simultaneously benefiting the local farmers. The company engages in bioenergy production, controlling the process from raw material access to final products and application. There are two production and value chains: one is collecting and purchasing bio wastes from farmers, then producing Biomass Pellet Fuel (BPF) and selling it to the users for cooking and heating; the other one is developing and manufacturing pellet boilers and stoves, then selling them to farmers and industrial users. Local farmers benefit by earning extra income through selling agricultural waste to the company and also by reducing their fuel expenses if they switch from their traditional burners to biofuel burners.

The business has made great impact on the economy, society and the environment. It promotes rural development, thus meeting the goals of the Government of China. Through purchasing agricultural waste (AW) from farmers and promoting biofuel burners, so far it has benefited at least 30,000 households. Families who sell AW to the company can gain an extra CNY 2,400 (US$353) per year, while those families who are using biofuel burners can reduce their fuel expense by CNY 600 (US$88) per year. Meanwhile, the burners reduce coal consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. If the government could develop policies to treat the bioenergy industry in the same way as other renewable energy sources in China, the business could be scaled up quickly and have a greater impact.

To download the Beijing Shengchang case study from the GIM database, please click here.

 

About the author

Sourav Mukherji is Associate Professor of Organization and Strategy at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. An engineer from IIT Kharagpur, Sourav obtained his doctorate from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. His major research interests are strategic and structural challenges faced by Indian firms competing in global markets. At IIM Bangalore, he teaches post graduate and doctoral level courses on Organization Design, Strategy Process, Organization Learning and Knowledge Management. Prior to joining IIM Bangalore as a faculty member, Sourav worked for the Boston Consulting Group as a strategy consultant, where he was involved in assignments concerning portfolio analysis, organization design, merger and acquisitions and market entry strategies for Indian and international firms. After completing his engineering, Sourav had worked with information technology firms like IBM and Oracle in various product management functions. As a doctoral student at IIM Bangalore he won the ‘Infosys Fellowship’, awarded for research in the IT industry. Sourav has presented papers in international academic conferences, spoken at national and international corporate forums and published in peer-reviewed journals on topics related to globalization of Indian organizations, outsourcing of knowledge intensive services, novel organization forms and knowledge management. He has also been involved in several consulting assignments, advising organizations on strategic and structural issues. At IIM Bangalore, Sourav was the Chairperson of Career Development and Placement activities during 2006-09. He is also a member of various committees that oversee ongoing programmes and new initiatives at IIM Bangalore. Sourav is among the board of advisors of an entrepreneurial venture in the information technology services sector.

About the case study

International Development Enterprise (IDE) is a development organization that operates in 11 countries worldwide with the aim of creating income opportunities for poor rural households in developing countries. IDE Nepal, an affiliate of IDE, was established in 1992 with the aim of developing low-cost irrigation technologies suitable for smallholders in rural Nepal. More than 80% of the people in Nepal are engaged in agriculture and a significant number of them have smallholdings. Typically, smallholder farmers are economically impoverished and belong to disadvantaged classes in the society. IDE realized that small holdings of these poor farmers can be effectively utilized for growing vegetables, if the farmers were provided with suitable technology for irrigation and water management and knowledge inputs for managing the vegetable farming process. IDE thus enhances farm productivity of poor farmers and increases their income by providing them with low-cost irrigation technologies and knowledge of farm management.

In order to ensure that increased farm productivity results in increased farm income, IDE links farmers to markets. Smallholder farmers are severely disadvantaged when it comes to accessing markets because of their weak bargaining power and information asymmetry. To overcome this disadvantage, IDE organizes the smallholders into communities and creates Marketing and Planning Committees that look after the interests of the farmer communities. Sooner or later, such communities mature into self-help groups empowering the rural poor to collectively bargain for their interests and rights. Today, IDE has started linking these communities with financial institutions and is in the process of enabling a credit model where the community can jointly provide guarantee to loans made to the individual member. IDE works closely with Nepalese government institutions for long term sustainability of its initiatives. It leverages the resources available with the government for implementing its programmes as well as focusing on developing capacity of government institutions so that the government can continue with the development initiatives even after completion of IDE’s projects.

Today, IDE Nepal operates in 22 districts in Nepal having reached more than 1.4 million poor farmers in 240,000 households in rural Nepal. Its programmes have resulted in the sale of 200,000 treadle pumps and 40,000 drip irrigation systems. It is estimated that IDE interventions have generated an additional income of US$150 per year for each of the 240,000 households whom they have reached.

To download the IDE case study from the GIM database, please click here.

 

About the author

Sourav Mukherji is Associate Professor of Organization and Strategy at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. An engineer from IIT Kharagpur, Sourav obtained his doctorate from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. His major research interests are strategic and structural challenges faced by Indian firms competing in global markets. At IIM Bangalore, he teaches post graduate and doctoral level courses on Organization Design, Strategy Process, Organization Learning and Knowledge Management. Prior to joining IIM Bangalore as a faculty member, Sourav worked for the Boston Consulting Group as a strategy consultant, where he was involved in assignments concerning portfolio analysis, organization design, merger and acquisitions and market entry strategies for Indian and international firms. After completing his engineering, Sourav had worked with information technology firms like IBM and Oracle in various product management functions. As a doctoral student at IIM Bangalore he won the ‘Infosys Fellowship’, awarded for research in the IT industry. Sourav has presented papers in international academic conferences, spoken at national and international corporate forums and published in peer-reviewed journals on topics related to globalization of Indian organizations, outsourcing of knowledge intensive services, novel organization forms and knowledge management. He has also been involved in several consulting assignments, advising organizations on strategic and structural issues. At IIM Bangalore, Sourav was the Chairperson of Career Development and Placement activities during 2006-09. He is also a member of various committees that oversee ongoing programmes and new initiatives at IIM Bangalore. Sourav is among the board of advisors of an entrepreneurial venture in the information technology services sector.

About the case study

Vaatsalya was founded in 2004 to address the inadequacies of healthcare services in rural and semi urban India. The founders realized that in order to address the healthcare needs of the semi-urban and rural population, they needed to provide such services at low prices and setup a chain of hospitals so that they could significantly reduce the inconvenience and expenses their patients incur while travelling long distances to get good quality healthcare.

Vaatsalya hospitals are run as commercial entities that receive no charitable grants or subsidies. In their 4.5 years of operation, Vaatsalya has setup nine hospitals across several districts in Karnataka, created a capacity of 450 beds and has and treated close to 175,000 patients, making it the largest chain of its kind in semi-urban India.

In the next few years, armed with fresh funds of US$6.5 million from venture funds such as Seedfund and Oasis, Vaatsalya intends to setup 50 more hospitals spanning across several Indian states and reach out to more than a million patients a year. For their pioneering work in the area of inclusive healthcare, Vaatsalya and its founders have been receiving several national and international awards.

To download the Vaatsalya case study from the GIM database, please click here.

 

About the author

With over eighteen years of work experience spanning sectors and development issues, Dr. Bimal Arora is associated with several organisations, including the UNDP and UNRISD and is on the Advisory Board of CSR International, UK. After spending six years in the UK, researching and consulting on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Inclusive Business Models, Bimal returned to India in 2009. Bimal has published several case studies on CSR and Inclusive Business Models. He is currently working on a book entitled ‘The Political Economy of Corporate Responsibility in India’ for publication by Chandos Publishing (Oxford). Bimal did his Master’s from the London School of Economics (LSE) and PhD from the Nottingham University Business School, UK (The International Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility (ICCSR).

About the case study

Bhartiya Samruddhi Finance Limited (BSFL) offers livelihood related products and services through the strategic concept of “Livelihood Triad” that comprises livelihood financial services (credit, savings, and insurance), agricultural and business development services, and institutional development services for low-income and poor groups. At present, BSFL has a customer base of approximately one million, half of whom are women, with 90% concentrated in rural areas. BSFL’s financial viability is proving to be attractive for investors: in 2009-2010, it had a Return on Assets of 3.9% and a Return on Equity of 32.7%. BSFL plans to expand its base to ten million by 2014 covering both urban and rural areas.

To download the BASIX case study from the GIM database, please click here.

 

About the author

Sourav Mukherji is Associate Professor of Organization and Strategy at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. An engineer from IIT Kharagpur, Sourav obtained his doctorate from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. His major research interests are strategic and structural challenges faced by Indian firms competing in global markets. At IIM Bangalore, he teaches post graduate and doctoral level courses on Organization Design, Strategy Process, Organization Learning and Knowledge Management. Prior to joining IIM Bangalore as a faculty member, Sourav worked for the Boston Consulting Group as a strategy consultant, where he was involved in assignments concerning portfolio analysis, organization design, merger and acquisitions and market entry strategies for Indian and international firms. After completing his engineering, Sourav had worked with information technology firms like IBM and Oracle in various product management functions. As a doctoral student at IIM Bangalore he won the ‘Infosys Fellowship’, awarded for research in the IT industry. Sourav has presented papers in international academic conferences, spoken at national and international corporate forums and published in peer-reviewed journals on topics related to globalization of Indian organizations, outsourcing of knowledge intensive services, novel organization forms and knowledge management. He has also been involved in several consulting assignments, advising organizations on strategic and structural issues. At IIM Bangalore, Sourav was the Chairperson of Career Development and Placement activities during 2006-09. He is also a member of various committees that oversee ongoing programmes and new initiatives at IIM Bangalore. Sourav is among the board of advisors of an entrepreneurial venture in the information technology services sector.

About the case study

SELCO India is a Bangalore‐based social enterprise that makes solar lighting technology accessible to the economically impoverished people in India. SELCO’s mission is based on a simple but powerful idea that the economic conditions of the impoverished can be improved substantially if they are made productive. One of the biggest hurdles before is their inaccessibility to clean and cost effective sources of electricity. Most of India’s rural population does not have access to electricity. Instead, they are dependent on highly polluting and inefficient sources of energy such as kerosene or forest wood. Solar lights are free from pollution and provide greater illumination. However, given an average rural income of less than US$50 per month, upfront investment in solar lighting, ranging from US$200 to US$500, can be expensive and seemingly unviable for the average rural household. To tide improve this situation, SELCO made sustained efforts to persuade state‐owned rural banks to lend money to households so that they can make the purchase. They worked extensively with these state‐owned banks, an arduous task in India, to ensure that the repayment pattern matched the cash flow that would be generated as a result of the additional income facilitated by the purchase of solar lights.

To download the SELCO case study from the GIM database, please click here.

 

About the author

Wafa Elgarah is an Assistant Professor at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco and Academic Coordinator of the Post-experience Graduate Programs. She holds a PhD in Management Information Systems from University of Central Florida, USA and an MBA in Marketing and Management from University of North Texas, USA. Her research has appeared in outlets such as Data Base for Advances in Information Systems, Communications of the AIS as well as numerous international research conference proceedings. Prior to joining academia, Dr. Elgarah worked in several companies where she played key roles in IT based projects and new products and services marketing initiatives. Her research interests include Decision Support Systems, E-government and Design theories.

About the case study

About two million people live without access to electricity in Morocco, mostly in remote rural areas where scattered and unevenly distributed homes make their connection to the national power grid difficult. As a solution, the National Office of Electricity (ONE) opted for a decentralized system of electrification using renewable energies, and initiated several programs, one of them called Maison Energie (ME).

The program was launched in 1997 with the objectives of providing renewable energy access to remote areas, lowering the use of wood and hence protecting the environment, and creating employment and income generating opportunities in rural areas. A ME (Energy House) is a micro-enterprise that commercializes various forms of solar energy including photovoltaic systems, solar water heaters and ovens in rural and peri-urban areas. Owners of the micro-enterprise are local young entrepreneurs, who also provide installation and maintenance services.

The program is supported by UNDP in collaboration with many partners including the Center for Renewable Energy Development (CDER), the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM), ONE and several other private and public organizations and associations involved in selecting, training and supporting these entrepreneurs.

300 self-sustainable MEs were fully operational as of 2009, and there is an estimated potential for 2,000 to 4,000 MEs in both rural and urban areas. In addition, the program has generated about 1,000 permanent jobs and between 3,000-4,000 temporary positions. So far, about 43,000 photovoltaic kits have been installed, and it is estimated that 16,000 photovoltaic installations would result in a savings of 32,000 tonnes of CO2 over 10 years compared to traditional energy sources.

To download the Maison Energie case study from the GIM database, please click here.

 

Olayinka David-West is a lecturer of Information Systems at Lagos Business School, and has over 19 years experience in the local IT industry. She is also an academic director at the Enterprise Development Services (EDS) Centre of Pan-African University. She combines her teaching and research interests with industry consulting engagements in the areas of Strategic IS Planning, IT Personnel Selection, IT Assessment & Review/Due Diligence, E-Business, Business Planning, Software Selection & Management, Systems Implementation, Project & Change Management, Process Improvement and Systems Design. Her research interests include the adoption, utilisation and performance of of information systems in organisations, IT governance, and issues relating to the development of IT organisations. Olayinka is currently enrolled in a doctoral programme at the Manchester Business School, and is researching e-banking performance for her DBA thesis. In addition, she holds an MSc in Business Systems Analysis and Design from City University, London, and a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Lagos. She is a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT) and an academic advocate to the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA).

In collaboration with local governments, Tetra Pak West Africa (TPWA) developed a state‐wide school feed programme using Nutri‐Sip, a maize‐based meal supplement.

To download the Tetra Pak Food for Development case study from the GIM database, please click here.

What is Tetra Pak’s Food for Development programmes’ basic value proposition and what makes their financial models sustainable?

The value in food for development programme offered by Tetra Pak comprises of the ability to deliver basic nutrition to the Worlds most vulnerable – children in developing countries. The Tetra Pak FFD programme can only be financially sustainable with adequate investment in backward integration of the raw materials for food production. As we saw in the case of Nigeria, the importation of the soy-based product was affected by systematic logistics issues in the Nigerian ports; also in the case of local production, adequate supply of the raw materials, working infrastructure and Government commitment to purchase, and enabling policies are critical for private sector participation and sustainability.

What were the main challenges faced by Food for Development in Nigeria and how could this initiative have been scaled up?

Where health and nutrition are the main responsibilities of Governments, continuity in government administrations is one of the major challenges of food for development in Nigeria. In addition to the policy and funding issues, other challenges included logistics management, project management, and community relationship management.

What is the importance of Food for Development programmes for a country like Nigeria?

FFD programmes are important in a country like Nigeria due to the high occurrences of malnutrition in children. In addition, deployment of the initiatives through schools also encourages school attendance for both male and female children especially amongst discriminating communities.  In addition, with increasing discussions on food security, FFD programmes will also help enhance Nigeria’s industrial and food processing capabilities.

 

About the author

Pascale Nader is an independent market research consultant, specialized in consumer knowledge management in emerging markets, across the Middle East and North Africa. She consults with a network of local and international organizations to influence their business strategy and processes. As Director of qualitative research (2006-2008), she led a regional business unit that excelled in translating consumer insight into viable and competitive strategies for product, communication and systems development. Since 2008, Pascale is also a freelance business writer in Egypt, contributing articles on trends such as SME development and microfinance. She holds a BA in Economics from the American University in Cairo.

About the case study

As a result of neglecting construction codes in informal areas, more than half of Egypt’s housing stock has been built without monitoring or assistance. Unplanned housing and public spaces have left a mark on the country’s architecture, infrastructure and environmental sustainability, creating a demand for urban planners that look at both environmental factors and affordability in building real estate for a growing mass-market. ADAPT (Appropriate Development, Architecture and Planning Technologies) is a local architecture consultancy firm that examines how to meet the opportunities of building, upgrading and renewing urban real estate in Egypt’s informal economy. The company uses innovative applications of planning technology and locally available construction material to turn inadequate low-income housing into good quality, environmentally-friendly, affordable homes. ADAPT has more than three decades of experience in this approach in rural, urban and desert locations throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

The main actors involved in the business models include government municipality, master builders, local community and specialized associations or networks, as well as Ashoka. In terms of economic results, ADAPT has upgraded areas encompassing over 10,000 affordable housing units, and out of a total of 21 projects from 1983 to 2004, it has reported a gross volume result of US$20 million. Furthermore, ADAPT has trained and aided 100,000 people, and contributed to community and women empowerment. By using locally available resources instead of traditional pollutant construction materials like cement, ADAPT is also contributing to environmental sustainability.

To download the ADAPT case study from the GIM database, please click here.

 

About the author

Wafa Elgarah is an Assistant Professor at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco and Academic Coordinator of the Post-experience Graduate Programs. She holds a PhD in Management Information Systems from University of Central Florida, USA and an MBA in Marketing and Management from University of North Texas, USA. Her research has appeared in outlets such as Data Base for Advances in Information Systems, Communications of the AIS as well as numerous international research conference proceedings. Prior to joining academia, Dr. Elgarah worked in several companies where she played key roles in IT based projects and new products and services marketing initiatives. Her research interests include Decision Support Systems, E-government and Design theories.

About the case study

In many developing countries, including Morocco, there is still a high dependence on traditional biomass fuel in rural areas, which has many negative consequences, such as deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, health issues and gender inequality. Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) represents a safe and clean alternative to traditional energy sources. The “Liquid Petroleum Gas Rural Energy Challenge” was launched in six pilot countries as a partnership between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World LP Gas Association (WLPGA) with the aim of providing access to clean energy through use of LP Gas, improving standards of living in rural areas and creating a viable and commercially sustainable LP Gas market. In Morocco, the programme, launched in 2005, was coupled with a microfinance initiative aimed at financing new or existing LPG-based businesses. Three LP Gas operators contributed funds and technical assistance to the initiative and a microfinance institution, the Zakoura Foundation, joined to manage the loan process. 135 loans were given to small and micro businesses in different sectors such as hotels, restaurants and artisans, totaling USD 135,200. In addition, the project is empowering women, who represent about 27% of loan holders, and increased awareness in rural areas about the dangers and health hazards of using traditional biomass fuels. The use of LPG also decreases air pollution due to smoke generated by burning traditional biomass fuels, and reduces illegal cutting of wood from forested areas.

To download the Microfinance for LPG case study from the GIM database, please click here.

 

Tram Nguyen-Stevenin was born and raised in Vietnam. She graduated from ESSEC MBA with a focus in Marketing & Sales, and has 13 years of international management experience acquired in both the association sector and private sector. She effectively managed Sales & Marketing for the largest European and American multinationals operating in Telecommunications and e-commerce & Online Financial Services. For over 2 years, she has been the Executive Director of a Business Organization (European Chamber of Commerce) in the developing and exciting country of Vietnam. She accepted this appointment which is somehow different in her corporate career path as a key opportunity to promote and facilitate trade and investment activities between the EU, her welcome mainland, and Vietnam, her born country. After her term at EuroCham, she is now back to the business world as the Marketing & PR Director at K+, the first media joint-venture ever in Vietnam between the Canal Plus group (Vivendi) and the national broadcaster Vietnamese Television VTV.

MDI is a SME specialized in equitable trade of agricultural products, including coffee, green tea, jasmine tea, snow mountain tea and cashews grown in eight provinces across Vietnam. MDI works in partnership with groups of smallholder farmers, mostly from ethnic minority groups in poorer and remote areas of Vietnam.

To download the MDI Betterday case study from the GIM database, please click here.

What is MDI’s basic value proposition and what makes its financial model sustainable?

MDI works in partnership with groups of smallholder farmers, mostly from ethnic minority groups in poorer and remote areas of Vietnam. The company is committed to the development of the rural sector in Vietnam and believes that the best way to accomplish sustainable development is by doing business in a fair and ethical way with people in the sector: by engaging producers as trading partners, MDI can improve their livelihoods, increase their incomes and assist them in linking with markets on terms that are beneficial for them.

With their motto “Development through pro-poor business” MDI has a “double bottom line” meaning that in addition to being a “for-profit” their success is also measured by the social impact that they can achieve.

What are the main challenges for scaling up the business?

- Physical Infrastructure: in order to grow and reach to new farmer groups, MDI needs to invest and recruit local staff in the mountains to collect and check the quality of the crops.

Besides, in terms of organization, as a small structure with limited human resources, the company has to undertake many tasks, from providing support to farmer groups right through to marketing their products internationally. Furthermore, MDI does not have a big budget for marketing and advertising their brand.

What has the involvement of MDI done for ethnic minorities in the country?

MDI works with farmer groups to help improve quality of production, achieve Fairtrade certification and organic certification. MDI is currently working with around 1000 farmers, representing total household size about 4500-5500 people. All of the farmers they work with live below the international poverty line of US$1 day; most are ethnic minority people; and many live in remote mountainous regions.

Because MDI only started recently, the impact on income is still quite modest. However, the tea farmers were able to double their income from tea this year – tea is about 1/3 of their overall “income” but represents almost all of their cash income.

It can also be noted that the farmers feel more pride in their products and are excited to see that their tea and cashew is being sold in the international market but still retaining the identity of the producer groups.

“We are proud to know that our products are sold in many foreign countries and…I cannot believe that my picture is in fact appearing on tea boxes to many people!” explains a young Mong lady.

For MDI, what were the main benefits of the fair trade certification?

The FAIRTRADE Certification Mark is a registered trademark of Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO). It certifies that products meet the social, economic and environmental standards set by Fairtrade. The Mark certifies products not companies. It does not cover the companies or organizations selling the products.

For producers Fairtrade uniquely offers four major benefits

  1. Stable Prices
  2. A Fairtrade Premium
  3. Partnership
  4. Empowerment of farmers and workers

What would you say was critical about the actor ecosystem that enabled this business to be successful?

Oxfam Hong Kong has played a critical role in providing contacts, linkages and assistance on international markets to MDI.

Oxfam International is a confederation of 14 like-minded organizations working together and with partners and allies around the world to bring about lasting change. Oxfam International works directly with communities and seeks to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods and have a say in decisions that affect them.

Oxfam Hong Kong helped MDI with the launch of Betterday Fairtrade products into Vietnamese supermarkets in December 2007 and also introduced their products in Hong Kong. In 2008, Oxfam subsidized MDI paying 50% of their trip to exhibit their Fairtrade products at the Hong Kong Food Expo. Oxfam also supported a trip to meet tea farmers in Nghe An, Central Vietnam, where Oxfam has been working for over a decade.