At the outset, let me thank from the bottom of my heart, the organizers of this Global Social Business Summit for this invitation to be here amidst luminaries representing the private sectors, civil society, governments and academia from many countries and continents. I would like to thank my intimate friend the Noble Laureate Mohammed Yunus, whom I admire very much for continuously taking the idea of social business forward. All of us are well aware that his clear focus on eradicating extreme poverty combined with his condition of economic sustainability has created numerous models with incredible growth potential. I must say that everytime I meet and interact with him, I become a little more wiser.

I don’t need to tell you that we live in a world of terrible injustice and wide-spread poverty but just look at this horrifying statistics:-

  • Nearly half of the world’s population — more than 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day.
  • 1 billion children worldwide are living in poverty. According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty.
  • More than 1 billion people lack adequate access to clean drinking water and an estimated 400 million of these are children.
  • 870 million people worldwide do not have enough food to eat.
  • Preventable diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia take the lives of 2 million children a year who are too poor to afford proper treatment.
  • As of 2011, 19 million children worldwide remain unvaccinated and
  • A quarter of all humans live without electricity — approximately 1.6 billion people.

All these facts reveal how much we have to do to make our world a more just, equitable and secure place to live in and some of us who have more than what we need have to more responsive. There is a saying, “Nobody has ever become poor by giving.”

Yes, it is profitable to be generous. But today’s corporate world is totally different to what traditionally the corporate or businesses were known for. There was a phase when businesses were known for making money and making services or goods available to the people. Many of them used to provide good quality products and earn the goodwill of the society but still, they were criticized for profit making and in some cases they used to be condemned for profiteering. That is what used to result into denying business the respect that they otherwise deserved in the society. That denial created a mental barrier in the minds of the consumers and users. That’s how the whole cycle used to go.

So, someone very carefully thought and there are plenty of such visionaries who felt that mere charity is not enough, its not creating jobs, it is not generating wealth amongst the poor and the less privileged of our societies. Serving the society by supplying quality goods and services is not enough, giving employment is not enough, serving the country by contributing to the national exchequer is not enough. You got to be able to give it back to the society. And how do you give it back to the society? There was a long history of where people used to give hand outs in the name of charity, in the name of philanthropy; then visionaries like Professor Yunus realized and taught the world that if you give fish to a hungry man, it will last only one particular meal. Whereas of you teach the hungry man how to fish, that will be a lifetime contribution. That’s how the huge global success of microfinance initiative, the concept of social business was born. The concept of social business as all of you know is supporting the creation of a business which touches and tries to resolve social problems.

So, I think the corporate world is beginning to realize that it’s not the working with the society or giving it back to the society, giving it in a manner which is sustainable, which grows, which can show a visible return that is more important. Mother Teressa once said, “its not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” True to her words, if the corporate has to enjoy the support of the consumers, and the people, and the governments at large, you have to be seen as a part of the society. You have to co-exist. It’s not being on the other side of the turf but it is giving a long-term viability of our generosity that has now become so critical. One of the themes of social business is also “do it with joy”. And this is going to be profitable in the long-term.

We, in Chaudhary Group have been historically involved in the traditional sort of Corporate Social Responsibility. And I learnt this from my father who always taught me to give to the society as I received from my hard work, dedication and sincerity. The CG is today working on initiatives ranging from scholarships to students, to going to the villages and working on sanitation issues, we are involved in education, in the health sector. However, now, we have pledged a majority of our resources and channelized a substantial amount both in terms of financial contribution as well as manpower in creating Social Business in association with Professor Yunus’s “Yunus Foundation”.

Andre Carnegie once remarked, “It is more difficult to give money away intelligently than to earn it.” I am truly proud to have been associated with this historic project that I know it will change the lives of poor people in so many countries. This is entirely a different kind of business that we are doing today.

I hope more and more corporate houses around the world get involved in this noble initiative of the Noble Laureate.

Thank You!

[Source: Global Social Business Summit 2013
By: Hon. Mr. Binod K. Chaudhary, Chairman, Chaudhary Group, Nepal]