شرکت منجر به توسعه پایدار و کاهش فقر انرژی در پایین هرم: مورد کلین کوک در نیجریه
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|29465||2013||10 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||9102 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : World Development, Volume 45, May 2013, Pages 137–146
Corporations are increasingly viewed as key actors in poverty alleviation. “Bottom of the Pyramid” (BoP) advocates suggest that MultiNational Corporations (MNCs) can simultaneously alleviate poverty and make profits by selling scaled-down products to the poor. Our paper investigates this claim using the case of the CleanCook stove-and-fuel technology introduced in Nigeria by an MNC working through a nonprofit organization and local business actors. Supply and demand-side analyses show that the CleanCook is least likely to reach the energy-poor BoP households originally targeted. The evidence suggests that serving the BoP requires greater differentiation than can be achieved with profit-driven business models.
Private sector actors are increasingly viewed as key contributors to poverty alleviation and sustainable development objectives such as those envisioned in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In particular, emphasis has been placed on the lead role that MultiNational Corporations (MNCs) can potentially play in applying business principles and practices to solve development problems. In what is variously described as a movement in corporate social responsibility (Newell and Frynas, 2007 and O’Laughlin, 2008) or corporate community development (Muthuri, 2008), proponents argue that MNCs possess a unique combination of features required to combat poverty on a global scale including access to technology, skills, and finance; proven ability to access even the most remote of locations; and a tendency to stick with projects once they have been established (Lodge, 2002). Such arguments have been particularly resonant in light of critiques of state-led models of development and waves of deregulation which began to emerge in the 1980s alongside civil society and market actors playing a governing role in key areas such as provision of water, electricity, health, and education (Newell & Frynas, 2007). Advocates of corporate-led development extend their critique of traditional development efforts to UN-based international development agencies, arguing that they tend to reinforce rather than replace systems’ underlying poverty (Lodge, 2002). Indeed, the traditional providers of development aid are themselves making the case for greater private sector involvement in poverty alleviation. For example, the UN has launched a Global Compact to establish global “sustainable development partnerships” (Levy & Chernyak, 2006) between itself, governments, civil society, labor, and business toward realization of the MDGs (United Nations, 2008). Further, under the current global climate of market liberalization, civil society organizations have begun collaborating with private sector actors to “cocreate” delivery models which are aimed at increasing the transformative potential of development interventions (Brugmann & Prahalad, 2007). The underlying premise of the cocreation approach is that each set of actors brings a unique set of skills and resources to the table which can be leveraged by the other to facilitate achievement of the shared goal of poverty alleviation (Brugmann & Prahalad, 2007). In this paper, we aim to contribute to the ongoing interrogation of the corporate-led development movement in development studies (e.g., Newell, 2008, Newell and Frynas, 2007, O’Laughlin, 2008 and Utting, 2008). Specifically, we focus on the role envisaged for business in linking poverty alleviation with sustainable development through the promotion of clean energy technologies. Kolk and van Tulder (2006) argue that technologies that meet the needs of host peoples should be a key element of corporate-led initiatives that are targeted at developing countries. Prahalad and Hart (2002) in their influential “Bottom of the Pyramid” (BoP) concept propose that corporations can improve the quality of life of the poorest in developing countries by creating basic versions of existing products that people at the bottom of the income pyramid would otherwise not be able to afford. Our paper draws on empirical investigation of one such technology—the CleanCook stove-and-fuel technology—to assess corporate involvement in poverty alleviation and sustainable development in developing countries. The CleanCook technology is promoted by the Sweden-based MNC, Dometic AB, to address the problem of widespread dependence on fuelwood and other solid biomass fuels for cooking in poor countries. According to the International Energy Agency, an estimated 2.7 billion people lack access to modern cooking energy sources such as Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and electricity—almost twice the number of those who lack access to electricity for lighting (OECD/IEA, 2010). These two interrelated dimensions are key indices of the phenomenon labeled energy poverty in developing country contexts (OECD/IEA, 2010). The United Nations Commission for Sustainable Development (UNCSD) states that lack of access to energy hinders development (including achievement of the MDGs), undermines economic growth, and puts a strain on the environment (UNCSD, 2007). Access to modern, “clean” energy sources for cooking and lighting is therefore considered to be crucial for multiple MDGs including the eradication of poverty and hunger, the promotion of gender equality, educational attainment, health, and environmental sustainability (UNDP, 2010). This paper focuses on the initiative to promote CleanCook in Nigeria, where fieldwork was conducted in 2009, to determine the extent to which it is likely to succeed in its primary objective to alleviate energy poverty among biomass-reliant populations at the bottom of the income pyramid. The paper begins by expanding on the emerging corporate-led model of sustainable development and poverty alleviation in developing countries. This is followed by a methodological section elaborating on the process by which data were gathered in the course of empirical research in Nigeria. Our discussion of the CleanCook initiative starts with a description of the project’s origins in the global North and its presentation as an appropriate technological solution to the problem of energy poverty in developing countries generally, and in Nigeria particularly. We then go on to assess the impact that the business-led delivery model envisaged will have on the objective of energy poverty alleviation in the Nigerian context, first from a supply-side and then from a demand-side perspective. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of the project outcomes for corporate-led initiatives aimed at alleviating poverty among bottom-of-the-pyramid populations in developing country contexts.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
There is widespread consensus in the international community that investment in technology is crucial to poverty alleviation and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Corporations are seen to be in a particularly advantageous position in terms of promoting this agenda. Direct provision of clean energy technologies to the poor is recognized as a particularly valid means by which business actors can contribute to sustainable development in comparison with other corporate-led poverty alleviation strategies. In this paper, we have analyzed one such strategy represented by the efforts of the multinational company, Dometic AB, working through the nonprofit organization Project Gaia and later on the indigenous company Cassava Agro-Industries Services Limited (CASL), to introduce CleanCook stoves and alcohol fuels to the Nigerian market. The strategy, which entails simultaneously scaling down the CleanCook technology from its Northern origins and scaling up its dissemination in Southern BoP markets, was evaluated to determine how the technology has interacted with target populations in the Nigerian context. The findings show that the impact of the CleanCook on the BoP—in this case biomass-reliant low-income households—will likely not be as transformative in reality as the implementers’ rhetoric would suggest. The market-led approach to dissemination favored by the CleanCook project was intended to tackle the widespread problem of energy poverty on an appreciable scale; an especially pertinent concern given the weakness of state policy implementation in Nigeria. Nonetheless, analysis of the implications of this approach from both a supply-side and a demand-side perspective converge on the point that the CleanCook technology is least likely to be affordable among households at the BoP where the problem of energy poverty is most acute. As we have seen, CASL’s entry into the cocreation nexus originally comprising Dometic and Project Gaia was marked by a shift in the CleanCook project objective from providing biomass-reliant households with a cleaner energy source to offering kerosene users a cheaper energy alternative. Although these two groups of energy users sometimes overlap, substantiating the multiple fuel use claims made by several authors in the literature, the baseline study carried out by Project Gaia shows that low-income households are more likely than other income groups to use biomass as their primary fuel source—that is, the fuel used to cook for longest. As such, while the image of a linear progression along an energy ladder may not be an adequate representation of reality, there does appear to be a correlation between primary fuel use and income level. This would place low-income households that rely primarily on biomass squarely at the BoP, and it is the impact of the CleanCook intervention on this group that this study is most concerned with. Within the group of biomass-reliant low-income households involved in Project Gaia’s baseline study, three categories were identified: households that spend more than the CleanCook’s conservative estimate of US$ 138.70 on cooking fuel annually; those that spend less than this estimate; and those that spend nothing on fuel. Analysis of individual household compositions and annual fuel expenditure revealed that those already spending the most on cooking fuel are more likely than others to benefit from the cost savings offered by the CleanCook. Indeed, there is no evidence that the CleanCook strategy will be able to co-opt into the market those households that currently do not participate in commercial energy markets—undermining a core argument of BoP theorists. On the contrary, as Bailis, Cowan, Berrueta, and Masera (2009) note, it is more likely that emphasizing a commercial model for the dissemination of cleaner cooking technologies will further exclude the poorest from market participation. What this suggests is that there needs to be a differentiated approach to meeting the needs of the BoP, as even the earliest proponents of the BoP theory rightly observe. However, it is not clear that business actors are indeed best positioned to demonstrate the sensitivity required to achieve this differentiation. The dynamism demonstrated by CASL in attending to the energy demands of kerosene users while ignoring the energy challenges of biomass users illustrates this point, and suggests that the business case for BoP initiatives—and business involvement in development more generally—is much stronger than the “development case” (Blowfield, 2005) for such initiatives. Critics of the BoP concept question whether poverty alleviation can really be left to business actors to accomplish. They take the view that business, with all the assets at its disposal, may be a powerful driver of technological progress, but it cannot be relied upon to align its priorities with the needs of the poor who often cannot afford to participate in formal markets (Etta & Parvyn-Wamahiu, 2003). According to Reed and Reed (2009), corporate involvement in poverty alleviation is likely to be based more on the returns to them and their strategic interests than on development priorities and impacts. This concurs with the observation made by Kolk and van Tulder (2006) that corporations, in their performances of development, tend to focus more on “content issues” that ultimately contribute to safeguarding the company’s corporate reputation than on “context issues” that take into account local conditions and priorities—issues which, paradoxically, have the most potential to empower poor people and lift them out of poverty. Similarly, Bond (2008) questions the commitment of corporations to pursuing the sustainable development goals of poverty alleviation and equality, asserting that the prioritization of profit by corporations is not compatible with the realization of those goals, especially when they involve the provision of public goods such as clean water and health. Taking together Bond’s argument and Bailis et al.’s (2009) characterization of clean cooking energy as a public health good, it is apparent that realization of the CleanCook’s health and environmental benefits among biomass-reliant households at the BoP cannot be left entirely to business actors motivated mainly by profit. “In between” social enterprise models that adopt business principles with the primary aim of using financial returns to further social and environmental goals (Leadbeater, 2007) offer some promise for poverty alleviation; however, such models often require substantial support from nonmarket actors to be successful in reaching the poorest segments of society (Bailis et al., 2009 and Dees, 1998). Even then, as Shrimali, Slaski, Thurber, and Zerriffi (2011) suggest in the specific case of improved stoves, social enterprises may still find the true bottom of the pyramid inaccessible relative to poor segments of society which are higher up on the pyramid. In conclusion, we note that the CleanCook case illustrates that market-led technology development projects aimed at BoP populations in the South can potentially record more precise impact by starting with a consideration of local demand (the willingness and capacity of target populations to pay for the new technology), rather than with external supply parameters (such as the development potential of the technology and optimum channels for its dissemination). As Leach and Scoones (2006) put it, running the “slow race” to making technology actually work for the poor means a commitment to pursuing development pathways and priorities as defined by the poor themselves.