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date: 13 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The base of the pyramid (BoP) proposition holds that corporations can profit from providing goods and services to the global poor while simultaneously improving the lives of the impoverished. Critics of the BoP proposition argue that, at best, a select few corporate initiatives can achieve these simultaneous goals, and, at worse, such initiatives will result in harmful exploitation in the guise of responsible corporate behavior. This chapter provides an historical overview of the original BoP proposition, summarizes criticisms the proposition has received, describes empirical research on BoP initiatives, and details examples of successful ventures. The BOP proposition is situated in theories of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and ethics in order to differentiate between exploitative and empowering BoP ventures and to emphasize the broader imperative to consider both the economic and the ethical dimensions of successful BoP ventures.

Keywords: base of the pyramid, poverty, CSR, corporate social responsibility, microfinance, environmental sustainability

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