Bottoms up: Delivering sustainable value in the base of the pyramid

Mark Alan Heuer, Usman Khalid, Stefan Seuring
DOI number
#Trade and FDI
#Social and working conditions
#Corporate responsibility and lead firms

Despite a wealth of expertise involving leading institutions over at least 15 years, a base of the pyramid (BoP) model resulting in scalability has yet to emerge. We posit that institutional gaps between BoP goals of developing human and social capital on one hand and a short-term profit focus of business on the other contribute to the lack of scalability. We address this gap by proposing a social intermediary to link the BoP with firms involved in the BoP. The social intermediary will coordinate and inter- pret the informal market requirements of the BoP to the firm in a “bottoms up” approach. We illustrate the bottoms up approach through a case involving Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit, a German government agency, with the garment manufacturing industry in Pakistan. The case study involves implementa- tion of labor standards and productivity in the Pakistan garment industry, resulting in improved productivity and labor standards enabling garment manufacturers to access global supply chains.


Stefan Seuring

University of Kassel

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