#02 Business
Hans-Jürgen Beerfeltz

Introduction: Doing Business

Dear Readers,

In development cooperation today, the economic factor is more important than ever. After all there can be no sustainable development without sustainable economic progress. Broad impact economic growth is one of the most important prerequisites for reducing poverty. It creates jobs that can help the poor to secure their livelihood through their own efforts. The increasing globalisation of economic processes and liberalisation of trade has our partner countries in development cooperation facing huge challenges – but it also harbours great opportunities for development. German development policy promotes economic development based on the principles of a social and ecological market economy, ensuring everyone can participate fairly and sustainably in the global growth process.

I am very pleased that this second issue of the Digital Development Debates online magazine explores an important aspect of economic development: entrepreneurship. "#02 Doing Business" delves into key facets here, for firms in particular influence the process of globalisation quite powerfully today. Their efforts, innovation and creativity are effective in areas that the state cannot serve for political or logistical reasons. They can be significantly involved in shaping working and production conditions, for example, which makes them indispensable partners in German development cooperation. German development cooperation itself also follows a comprehensive strategy for promoting private businesses to ensure sustainable increases in jobs and income. The central objective here is to strengthen the smallest, small and medium-sized enterprises and improve their competitiveness. The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) therefore created the develoPPP programme designed to support cooperation between business and development policy. Development partnerships combine the innovative power of business with the resources, knowledge and experience of development policy.

This benefits both the firms involved and the people in the BMZ's partner countries. Entrepreneurs reduce their market risk for new locations in developing countries, demonstrate their dedication to corporate responsibility and create the trust on a local level that underlies long-term business success. German development policy in turn mobilises additional capital and know-how through develoPPP.de, and can more effectively contribute to improving living conditions in developing, emerging and transformation countries. By now almost all internationally active firms have formulated ethical principals set out in codes of conduct that have an effect on their business processes and efforts in developing countries.

This has come about in part thanks to pressure from customers and non-governmental organisations worldwide. Every company influences the living and working conditions of its employees, customers, the environment and the business environment through its business activities. The level of responsibility this engenders is an important aspect of modern corporate policy today and is known as corporate social responsibility (CSR). The articles included in this issue of Digital Development Debates illustrate the successes but also the difficulties of cooperate responsibility.

The subjects addressed in this issue of Digital Development Debates are central elements of modern development cooperation. The articles on the concept of "ethical fashion" in particular demonstrate how fair trade in fashion has long outgrown the cliché of ethnic woollen pullovers and knitted socks. "Eco fashion" has found its way onto the catwalks of the world's fashion capitals and is a perfect example of how fair trade is no longer a niche issue in development cooperation and increasingly part of the day-to-day life of consumers.

I hope you'll enjoy reading this latest issue of Digital Development Debates,

Hans-Jürgen Beerfeltz