MANILA — The 10-member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are enjoined to promote inclusive business model in the region in order to achieve greater impact of development and reach the bottom of the pyramid.

In a press conference Wednesday on the sidelines of the ASEAN Inclusive Business Summit, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said adopting inclusive business model will integrate the low-income population to the value chain and will allow them to contribute to the growth of the region.

Under the inclusive business model, the lower income groups participate in the value chain either as suppliers or consumers through partnership with big companies.

Unlike corporate social responsibility (CSR), lower income groups are not treated as beneficiaries in inclusive business model.

“The importance of this summit is this is a manifestation of a kind of focus that we would like to bring in when it comes to the bottom of the pyramid – having an inclusive, innovation-led growth – which is really the key program of the Duterte administration. Part of the Dutertenomics is to make sure that we widen the gains of development and introduce equality and growth,” said Lopez, who is also the chairman of ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting.

He added that in pursuing principles of inclusive business in the country, the Philippine government, through the DTI, pushes for the development of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and providing incentives to businesses adopting inclusive business model.

Moreover, Eriko Ishikawa, International Finance Corp. (IFC) Global Head for Inclusive Business Team, stressed the need for ASEAN to embrace inclusive business principles that will help the region to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), particularly in ending poverty and addressing inequality.

Ishikawa urged ASEAN to formulate policies that will promote inclusive business to encourage large enterprises to adopt the business model.

She also mentioned that IFC has been supportive of inclusive businesses globally.

Since 2005, IFC has been investing USD16 billion to 500 companies globally that are using inclusive business model, of which USD2 billion were invested in ASEAN.

Meanwhile, the ASEAN Inclusive Business Summit is the first high-level dialogue on inclusive business.

With the theme of Pioneering Change in the Way We Do Business, the summit aims to introduce and build inclusive business cases in ASEAN through exemplary models, instrumental government interventions, and regional support initiatives. (PNA-PR)