Last month, Zahid Torres-Rahman from Business Action for Africa (and Business Fights Poverty) gave an excellent presentation at IDS. Within it, he argued that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) should be secondary to "businesses doing business."
I certainly agree that the role of business in development should reach much further than CSR. It is not just about business doing good, but rather about doing good business. In other words, the idea that businesses can change their core business models in ways that are more “inclusive” i.e. that have a more positive impact on poor communities and poor people. Examples abound – Unilever designing its distribution chain to maximise the involvement of smaller poorer distributor; SAB Miller sourcing locally from Sudanese smallholders, and many many more (see Business Action for Africa’ latest report for some examples).