Global companies and international NGOs could strengthen their collaboration to reduce poverty, according to a group of directors, strategists and professionals that met in London, at the GlobeScan Salon, on 14 October 2008. Companies, in particular, should adopt a more ‘activist’ approach to poverty reduction, said participants at the Salon, ‘Addressing Extreme Poverty.’ Participants were mostly from the corporate sector, but also included representatives of NGOs and government.
The discussion took place as extreme poverty looked set to return to the global spotlight, amid recent rises in food and fuel prices, a potential reduction in international aid donations, and the unfolding global financial crisis. The rise in food prices alone is expected to push many more peoplean estimated 100 millioninto absolute poverty.
Participants heard how leading global companies, NGOs and governments were addressing global poverty. While the international community struggled to meet its poverty reduction targets, however, it remained unclear how global companies and NGOs would collaborate further to help meet poverty reduction goals.
International poverty reduction in doubt
Doubt over achievement of poverty goals is certainly widespread. Salon participants doubted that the Millennium Development Goal ‘to cut in half extreme poverty and hunger’ in the world would be achieved by 2015. When asked, 78 percent of the participants said they were ‘not confident’, and only 18 percent were ‘fairly confident’.