In the last 20 years, do you think that the proportion of people living in extreme poverty worldwide has almost doubled, remained more or less the same, or almost halved? Think you know the answer? Take the gapminder quiz here.

Poverty facts

Although the gapminder quiz shows us that a lot of progress has been made, several of us are still rather ignorant about the ‘good news’ facts, and there continues to be a lot of work to be done. About 736 million people still live on less than US $1.90 and day. Many of them lack adequate food, clean drinking water and sanitation. Rapid economic growth in countries such as China and India has lifted millions out of poverty, but progress has been uneven. Women are more likely to live in poverty than men due to unequal paid work opportunities, education and property (UNDP, 2019). 

Ending poverty by 2030

SDG 1 sets the ambitious target to end poverty in all its forms by 2030, as part of the UN’s Global Goals/SDG agenda. Poverty eradication is central to the Global Goals, and achievement of all Goals is closely tied to the achievement of Goal 1. Poverty impedes the full participation of people in society and the economy. A society free from poverty is more peaceful, stable, innovative and equal (SDG Knowledge Platform, 2019).

From a Business School perspective, we have a responsibility to ensure that future business leaders take the responsibility to prevent and address human and labour rights violations, and identify and avoid practices that perpetuate poverty traps. All companies are linked to global poverty, particularly through their supply chains, and have a responsibility to work towards eliminating negative impacts to the Goal. A useful tool for assessing such impacts is the UN Global Compact’s Poverty Footprint Tool. The UN Global Compact has also developed a Blueprint for Business Leadership on the SDGs, which serves as a useful guide on how business can engage with and address the SDGs in their principled approach to SDG action. 

SDG Video

The first video in the SDG series was produced by our CR3+ Partner Audencia Business School from Nantes, France.  In the video, Dr Céline Louche discusses the sustainable development goal in depth, looking at the definition of poverty, the different perspectives to poverty (need-focused and people-focused) and the consequences of poverty; social exclusion, poor mental and physical health, and unfair working conditions. Céline also explains the targets of SDG 1, such as eradicating extreme poverty, implementing social protection systems and building resilience to climate-related extreme events, and the role of businesses in reaching these targets. The video finishes with an interview with Victoria Mandefield, an Audencia student and founder of the social enterprise “Soliguide” – a multimodal platform providing homeless people and refugees with helpful information.

Please enjoy the presentation:

If you would like access to the full video to use in your teaching, please contact Dr Swati Nagpal.

Get involved!

As a PRME Champion School, LBS has access to several Working Groups made up of a global pool of like-minded researchers on the various SDG themes.  There is a PRME Working Group on SDG 1- Poverty, whose aim is to challenge business education to advocate for the integration of poverty-related discussions into all levels of management education worldwide. Their vision is grounded in the belief that:

  • Poverty is a legitimate topic for discussion and research in schools of business and management.
  • Business should be a catalyst for innovative, profitable and responsible approaches to poverty reduction.
  • Multiple stakeholder engagement is needed for innovative curriculum development.

To find out more, or join the working group please visit the UN PRME website (here).

You can also submit a paper on a topic related to SDG 1 to the CR3+ Conference that LBS is hosting from 24-25 October 2019, along with our CR3+ partners.

This blog is part of the SDG Series, a series that focuses on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, in the lead up to the CR3+ Conference in October 2019.

More blogs in the SDG Series: