Business and Development Study group
The Business and Development (formerly the CSR) study group welcomes all those with research, practitioner or policy interests that explore, illustrate or critique the impact of business and corporations on development, and/or the ways that development issues can impact back into corporations. We provide a forum for exploring a wide variety of issues ranging from corporate social responsibility to a broader understanding of the relationship between business and society. We aim to provoke open and stimulating debate in a spirit of mutual respect for differences of opinion. We therefore welcome all perspectives and encourage membership from outside academia and from across the world.
Peter Edward (University of Newcastle), Jason Hart (University of Bath), Beck Smith (Save the Children)
E: peter.edward(at)newcastle.ac.uk, J.Hart2(at)bath.ac.uk, B.Smith(at)savethechildren.org.uk
‘Honest Brokers’ and ‘Moral Markets’? Exploring the changing roles of public and private sector in development finance
10.00 – 16.00, Monday 4th December 2017
83 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5ES (University of Bath facility)
Private financial capital, institutions and actors are playing an increasingly important role in international development. The DSA’s Business and Development Study Group welcomes academics, practitioners, and policy makers interested in exploring recent developments to their one-day colloquium.
The evolving and deepening role of private finance in activities previously the dominated by public sector aid agencies and development finance institutions has been noted and encouraged by key leaders within the sector. World Bank President Jim Kim, for example, called for a ‘different and difficult conversation’ about development finance in April this year. He asked development agencies to repurpose themselves as ‘honest brokers’ reducing the risk for would-be investors seeking higher returns in developing markets. Such investment, the Bank argues, would provide the resources needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Moreover, they argue, involvement of private finance could bring new expertise, efficiency and innovation to the design and implementation of development programmes.
The changes Kim advocates have been accelerating in recent years. This is partly facilitated by public policy. For example, the CDC, the UK government’s private-equity vehicle, has been given a massive increase in funding this year. Aid recipient countries facing large infrastructure gaps are increasingly turning to new forms of public-private partnership. The shift is also driven by private sector actors, with increasing attention to ‘impact investing’ as an extension of socially responsible investment.
Analysis has lagged behind the pace of change. Commentary concerning such developments has tended to be polemic, either lauding or condemning private sector involvement as a whole. Our colloquium will create a space for dialogue, laying the foundations for a more nuanced and analytical conversation.
We welcome contributions on topics and questions including, but not limited to:
Development investment strategies, portfolios, partnerships, and projects that draw
on private sector finance.
The changing relationship between conventional aid agencies/development finance
organisations and private finance.
- How do such changes alter the character / priorities of development intervention?
Can financial returns adequate to incentivise large-scale private investment be
successfully coupled with developmental or poverty reduction objectives?
We invite proposals for papers or presentations, from academics and non-academics, addressing any of the above or similar issues. Presentations should be no more than 20 minutes long. Please email a brief abstract (300 words max) by 23rd October to Andrew Bowman andrew.bowman(at)ed.ac.uk and Sarah-Jane Cooper-Knock sj.cooperknock(at)ed.ac.uk.
Additional enquiries may be addressed to any of the Study Group convenors: Peter Edward, Newcastle University Business School peter.edward(at)ncl.ac.uk; Jason Hart, University of Bath jh462(at)bath.ac.uk; Andrew Bowman, University of Edinburgh andrew.bowman(at)ed.ac.uk.
Moving past ‘business as usual’: What role for the private sector in development? London, December 2016
Introduction to the day, Peter Edward (Newcastle University Business School)
Panel One. Chair: Peter Edward
- Emma Mawdsley (University of Cambridge): "Deepening Development-Financialisation, or how to stop worrying about financial bombs and start loving sub-prime development"
- Jean Boulton (University of Bath): “Power, purpose and pragmatism – the pitfalls of partnership with the private sector and what can we do to make this work; thinking through a complexity lens.”
- Jason Hart (University of Bath): “The (child) rights-based approach and corporate involvement: an irresolvable opposition?”
Panel Two. Chair: Jason Hart
- Andrew Fyfe (United Nations Capital Development Fund) & James Copestake (University of Bath): “Public funding and private for-profit ‘additionality’ under the SDGs: ideology, expedience or evidence?”
- Phoebe Beedell (University of East London): ““Actually, it’s the same thing in different places”: Negotiating the dilemmas of development in Bangladesh while working to improve conditions in the garment sector.”
- Richard Heeks, Fareesa Malik, Sharon Morgan, & Brian Nicholson (University of Manchester): “Outsourcing to the Base-of-the-Pyramid: Hybridity and Conflict Between Commercial and Welfare Institutional Logics”
Panel Three. Chair: Peter Edward
- Beck Smith (Save the Children): “Go first, Go fast, Go further. Leading business accountability in a new era”
- Matti Kohonen (Christian Aid): ”Getting to good – Towards Responsible Corporate Tax Behaviour”
Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, June 2010
The 2010 study group event combined academic papers with a discussion of future group activities, plus plenty of opportunities to meet group members in the academic and practitioner communities.
Panel 1: Governance, engagement and impact
James Van Alstine (Leeds University): Curse or asset? Comparing 'new' oil governance in Ghana and Uganda
Natalia Ahbabovich (Leeds University): Transformation of the corporation as a result of engagement in CSR: restructuring of Shell and its performance in Niger Delta
Amanda Berlan (University of Manchester): Promoting sustainability in cocoa: a case study from the Caribbean
Panel 2: Working with different values
Alison Griffiths (Practical Action): Facilitating market system change: the case of dairy in South Asia (tbc)
Linda Shaw (Co-operative College Manchester) Co-operatives and development - time for a re-appraisal?
Anne Tallontire (Leeds University) Powerful participants and sidelined stakeholders: Private standards initiatives in agri-food chains
Forthcoming activities of the Business and Development Study Group, including:
Engaging with practitioners
The MaFI (Market Facilitation Initiative): Lucho Osorio, Practical
DSA2008, Panel 7: Business and Its Influence on Development
Organised by DSA CSR Study Group
Co-convenors: Anne Tallontire (a.m.tallontire(at)leeds.ac.uk) and Peter Edward (p.edward(at)jbs.cam.ac.uk)
Ndeye Salimata Fall: Donors Investing in Private Sector Enterprises to Boost Development-
Peter Edward and Anne Tallontire: Business and Development - towards re-politicisation
Discussants: Wolfgang Weinmann (Cafedirect) and Sharon McClenaghan (Christian Aid)
The panel aimed to build on and synthesise the presentations and discussions held in earlier study group's conferences:
June 2007: Business and Development: We're talking the same language, aren't we?
June 2008: Business and Development: Where have we got to?
At these conferences we have had a number of papers from academics and NGOs and several business people in the audience contributing to the discussion. Papers have covered macro level themes such as the business contribution to international development, a critique of the ‘business case' A number of papers in 2007 discussed ‘fortune at the bottom of the pyramid'; others highlighted the engagement between companies and industries and local communities or actors in the supply chain.
One of the papers presented in the panel by Peter Edward and Anne Tallontire is an attempt to start to think about many of the themes that came up in these discussions - less a synthesis (which would be impossible) but more a way of thinking about the tensions and issues that arise in thinking about the relationship between business and development: are we talking about CSR? Are we talking about standards? Or are we talking about something more fundamental in terms of what development means and what the nature of engagement is between business and development?
However, we start the panel with a new paper - Dr Fall adds a new dimension to this discussion - reflecting on how invest in private sector enterprises to boost development - what are the benefits and limitations of this approach? This discussion talks about the inter-relations between state, civil society and private sectors in the promotion of development.
We asked two long term participants in the study group these conferences to act as discussants. Wolfgang Weinmann from Cafedirect and Sharon McClenaghan. We've invited them to draw on our own experiences about the links between business and development and also to respond to some of the issues raised in the preceding papers.