Arthur D. LittleArthur D. Little

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Profits from poverty

The Ethics of Making Money from the Poor

Some 4 billion people - approximately two-thirds of the world's population - live on less than $1000 a year. They outnumber the rich, or at least those earning $10,000 or more, by a factor of eight to one. Though they are individually cash poor, as a group they constitute a significant target for business. Making profits from poverty may make good financial sense, but is it ethically acceptable? This document summarises discussions from one of Arthur D. Little's 'Naked Lunches' designed to strip sustainability issues down to their bare essentials. It illustrates that there is a need for businesses to sell to the poor and identifies how a number of companies target these communities using a variety of strategies for their own commercial benefit, but also to improve the quality of life of the poor.

Released: January 2003

Download File Profits_from_poverty_01.pdf (.PDF, 363 Kb)

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