Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society

Volume 25, 2014

Proceedings of the Twenty-Fifth Annual Meeting

Thomas André
Pages 44-56

Corporate Social Responsibility Boosts Value Creation at the Base of the Pyramid

Multinational enterprises (MNEs) have embraced the possibility to find growth opportunities by targeting the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) segment, while contributing to alleviate poverty. Taking stock of the notorious early BoP initiatives that were relegated to philanthropic programs highlights a tension to combine both societal and financial sustainability. The paper questions why and how MNEs reposition the value creation of their BoP initiatives in regards of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy. We provide an empirical analysis of present BoP initiatives, based on a multiple-case study of seven MNEs’ initiatives and seventeen of their projects. The paper highlights three levels of CSR engagement at the firm level, which will translate into different strategies, organisations and types of value creation for BoP initiatives. We deliver novel insights for the study of the “business cases” of BoP strategies, which aim at gaining legitimacy, incubating strategic change and reaching profitable growth.