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The Ethics of the Bottom of the Pyramid

Ryan Hahn's picture

Untitled_3It looks like Ethical Corporation has caught on to the ethics of serving the bottom of the pyramid. An article in their most recent newsletter discusses opportunities in the vast bottom of the pyramid market in Latin America. About 360 million people in Latin America fit into this category. So far, local companies have left multinationals in the dust:

A third noteworthy trend is the leadership of national companies over their international peers. Micro-insurance firm Paralife in Mexico, Peruvian financial intermediary Cajasur and many of the other high performers in the index are local firms. With the bulk of their local market being low-income consumers, such firms have learned to search out opportunities among the “majority” by default.

Multinational companies, by contrast, often lack the experience, the local relationships, the market understanding and often the vision to trouble themselves with poor customers. Yahoo, Microsoft and PepsiCo feature among the big-brand laggards in the index.

What's it going to take for the multinationals to catch on?


Ryan, fortunately there are actually plenty of examples of multinationals engaging with people at the bottom of the pyramid - as consumers, as distributors and, most importantly, as producers. We have showcased many of them on and the topic is the focus of the World Bank Institute's new Executive Development Program on Inclusive and Sustainable Business:

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