Concordia has partnered with BCG, a global management consulting firm and the world's leading advisor on business strategy. As a Programming Sponsor at the 2019 Concordia Americas Summit in Bogotá, Colombia on May 13-14, 2019, we sat down with BCG to understand their work and preview their participation at the Summit.
BCG works with leaders in the investing, corporate, public, and social sectors to develop and execute new and bold ideas that advance global sustainable development. We strongly believe that no organization or sector can succeed alone, and that collaboration is the key to breakthrough solutions.
Partnership is at the heart of how we push for positive change. We work with clients to promote sustainable investing, create jobs and economic opportunities, and increase access to education and healthcare. That’s why we’ve chosen to sponsor the Concordia Americas Summit. Concordia’s commitment to collaborative problem solving and cross-sector partnerships closely aligns with our belief that there is significant value to be unlocked, for companies and investors alike, through effective cross-sector partnerships.
Cross-sector collaboration is core to BCG’s mission: unlocking the potential of those who advance the world. We work collaboratively to help a wide range of organizations develop their energies, capabilities, and potential, enabling them to advance global sustainable development. Here are three cases that exemplify this cross-sectoral work:
BCG is working to create new models designed to bring the public, private, and social sectors together in support of the SDGs. We do this in many ways—including encouraging companies and investors to use their formidable resources and scale to address societal issues and mobilize new sources of capital. By hosting a strategic dialog on sustainable investing at the Concordia Americas Summit, we seek to bring institutional investors and corporate executives together to explore how new trends are affecting the strategic approaches of businesses and investors alike. We hope this will foster further collaboration between these groups and provide an opportunity for public and social sector leaders to join the conversation.
Increasing evidence that addressing ESG issues does not hurt financial performance is incentivizing investors to incorporate ESG into their capital allocation and stewardship criteria. This shift toward sustainable finance—which has evolved beyond risk mitigation through socially responsible investing to more comprehensive, data-driven methodologies and ownership—has profound implications for investors and companies alike.
As long-term stewards of capital, investors recognize a mandate to consider whether the companies they own today will maintain a strong compact with customers and the community as environmental and social challenges increasingly impact the way we live and work. They also recognize that companies that commit to addressing these urgent issues stand to realize greater business opportunities in the future—and thus will achieve higher returns for their long-term shareholders. Private sector companies and investors that follow this strategy carve out a far more active role for themselves in the fight for diversity, environmental sustainability, and other important societal goals.
In the current state of global affairs, it’s increasingly clear that the private sector must play a role in achieving the SDGs. It’s the right thing to do; it will help ensure the security, prosperity, and longevity of our economies and communities; and there are incredible business opportunities when it’s done well. BCG research has found that companies that are using their core business models to create positive social impact—something we call total societal impact (TSI)—are outperforming others.
Take a goal such as SDG10 (reduced inequalities). In urban areas, an important part of this goal is enabling micromerchants. This helps create jobs in local communities, provides people with livable wages, and has a positive impact on economic development. A company like Visa can use its core business and global capabilities to empower micromerchants and promote economic equality.
“At BCG, we see ourselves as enablers. Whether working with private sector clients or with government and civil society organizations, we have the tools and insights that can help others make a bigger impact,” says BCG’s CEO Rich Lesser. “Our purpose—unlocking the potential of those who advance the world—is really centered on making a difference for our clients, for our people, and for the societies in which we live and work.”
Latin America has been at the forefront of leveraging finance to drive impact. The region led the microfinance industry and remains at the leading edge of promoting financial inclusion; it’s home to a robust ecosystem of impact investors, and many of the most innovative fintechs advancing significant social impact are based in the region. With the growing recognition that capital can generate greater societal good when investors directly engage with a portfolio company’s management team to trigger changes in environmental sustainability, diversity, or other objectives—and as it becomes clear that such changes may help improve financial performance—it’s an exciting time to explore sustainable finance with some of the region’s preeminent leaders on the topic.