Inclusive Business Growth in Asia

Business and private sector play a key role in spurring Asia’s much vaunted economic growth. However, despite the region’s rapid economic expansion, the gap between the rich and poor continues to increase. The concept of inclusive business growth is rooted in the belief that business is not only about profit and economic expansion. It is also about business creating positive impact in its core functions in helping poor people have access to a better life. It is about ensuring that the gains and benefits from economic growth are enjoyed by all.

One of the ways through which a business can promote inclusive business growth is by improving its policies and practices on the ground. Oxfam’s Behind the Brands campaign looks at the way big companies do business and how this impacts poor people across the world. It looks at firms’ policies around land, women, farmers, workers, transparency and water – issues that are important to poor communities in Asia. It also calls on companies and consumers to help ensure that the ingredients used to produce goods, such as sugar in the case of Coke, are produced in a way that does not lead to land grabs, or farmers being driven out of their lands, and separated from their sources of food and livelihood. The voices raised by sugarcane farmers in Cambodia along with heightened consumer and stakeholder awareness brought in by Behind the Brand campaign were key to helping Coke understand that critical areas such as land are central to their attempt in bringing inclusiveness to their business activities.

In a rapidly changing Asia there is also recognition of the importance of developing regional policies that will help promote inclusive business growth. It would be very important for bodies such as ASEAN to start developing and implementing policies that will ensure that companies’ operations do not undermine but contribute to helping people improve their welfare and livelihood and achieve food security.


Amit Vatsyayan
Regional Manager- Economic Empowerment
Oxfam GB Asia


Maria Dolores (Riza) Bernabe
Policy and Research Coordinator
East Asia GROW, Oxfam International


*The opinions expressed in the article are the personal views of the Authors.