“Poverty should not belong to any human society, it should only be seen in museums,” Nobel Laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus said at a Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO) partnerships dialogue on the concept of ‘Social Business for Sustainable Solutions,’ held on July 10, 2014 at Rome.
“I share many beliefs with FAO Director General. He wants to achieve the Zero Hunger challenge and I want to bring poverty to zero,” he said, noting that “they are two sides of the same coin.”
“Every time I see a problem I try to solve it in a creative way, and I have always found that the best way is to create a business. You start a simple thing, it works for people and it grows,” the Nobel Laureate said. “Then you replicate it and that is how it becomes a social business,” said Yunus.
Yunus said his aim is to create a world without poverty and without unemployment, “where unemployment should be itself unemployed”.
The concept of “social business” is based on what Yunus calls a “non-loss, non-dividend” business model that has the ultimate goal of creating widely-shared social benefits. This concept supersedes the idea of mere corporate social responsibility, as it aims to change an entire system and provide solutions to pressing social problems such as poverty and malnutrition.
In 2013 FAO and the Grameen Foundation established a partnership to enhance small-holder farmers’ access to knowledge and technologies for sustainable production and food security through the use of mobile agriculture supported services. The collaboration has had a positive impact in countries like Uganda and Colombia, where it has improved farming innovation exchanges and strengthened small-holder households by allowing them to gaining better access to rural financial services.