Keeping people healthy and creating prosperous communities is not only ethically sound, but also makes good business sense, said Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, Chairman of the IVCC Board of Trustees, addressing nearly 500 company leaders and executives at the Third Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World Benefit.
‘It’s no coincidence that some of the poorest countries in the world are those with endemic Malaria’, he said. ‘It’s still a big problem, with over 600,000 people dying every year and more than 216 million getting sick’. He explained how the substantial gains in eliminating the disease from many countries is threatened as mosquitoes rapidly develop resistance to all current insecticides, including those used in bednets and for indoor spraying.
Using IVCC as an example of business working together with innovation funders he called on companies to consider how they could invest in eradicating malaria. ‘Within the areas affected by malaria many companies have business interests and major markets, so healthy employees, customers and communities are really important to them’, he said. ‘Would the Corporate Social Responsibility benefits be enough to get a handful of companies to contribute to bridging the funding gap to final development?’
Sir Mark illustrated how major innovation funders, like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UKAID, USAID and Swiss Development Corporation had enabled IVCC to engage with major agro-chemical companies to bring three new antimalarial insecticides to the point of final development. ‘The insecticides have been identified and the outcome is certain—they really work’, he said. ‘But there still remains a $50-100 million funding gap to finish the job’. Companies who contribute to the final development costs would be associated with taking an essential tool for eradicating malaria to the point of final development.
The Global Forum for Business was taking place at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA from 15-17 October. It aims to bring together together leading business executives, management scholars, civil society leaders and government policy makers from around the world to identify and to leverage new solutions that have the potential to change the nature of 21st century society.
Sir Mark Moody-Stuart has recently published a book, ‘Responsible Leadership: Lessons from the Front Line of Sustainability and Ethics’ (Greenleaf Publishing), which provides an insider’s view of corporate responsibility and ethics from the boardrooms of some of the world’s largest corporations and highlights new ideas on how to seek collaborative solutions to the market failures of climate change and corruption.