By Zahid Torres-Rahman, Business Fights Poverty
As we have argued on this site before and explored at past events, one of the priorities for all of us interested in harnessing the power of business for development impact is to demonstrate and communicate much more precisely just what that impact is.
Stories and anecdotes just won’t do, when we need to demonstrate the case to sceptics in the development community, and within businesses themselves. In short, we need robust and impartial data, combined with credible analysis.
Fortunately, one person – Ethan Kapstein – has been busy over recent years filling this gap. His studies now include SABMiller (Uganda), Unilever (South Africa) and Standard Chartered (Ghana). Now his latest report looks at Standard Chartered’s social and economic impact in Indonesia.
Kapstein’s latest report looks at “the value of Standard Chartered, in ways that go far beyond the provision of credit” – this in a country where there remains considerable sensitivity about the role of the banking sector since the economic crisis in 1997. The Report concludes that the contribution that the bank makes through its core business activities is significant:
The value of such studies lie not just in their ability to communicate the positive impact of a business, but also in how they help drive future business strategy.
The Indonesia report identifies seven ways in which Standard Chartered “could deepen its impact”:
Studies like this one – alongside pioneering efforts by others such as the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (Measuring Impact Framework), Anglo American (Socio-Economic Assessment Toolbox), Oxfam and Unilever (Unilever Indonesia) – have raised the bar in terms of how companies tell their story and think more deeply about the impact of their core business.
As such studies become more common – as they surely need to – the next frontier is developing multi-company, comparable studies that track impacts over time. Those interested in the telling the story of how business can fight poverty need to rely less of powerful stories and more on powerful data.
Click here to download Ethan Kapstein's report on “The Social and Economic Impact of Standard Chartered in Indonesia”.
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