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Socially responsible distribution: distribution strategies for reaching the bottom of the pyramid

Author: Vachani, Sushil ; Smith, N. CraigINSEAD Area: Faculty at Large Series: Working Paper ; 2008/21/ISIC Publisher: Fontainebleau : INSEAD Social Innovation Centre (ISIC) 2008.Language: EnglishDescription: 53 p.Type of document: INSEAD Working Paper Online Access: Click here Abstract: While management scholars and development economists have provided a compelling case for greater attention to the bottom of the pyramid, few contributions have examined specific strategies for reaching consumers at this level. The majority of those at the bottom of the pyramid reside in hundreds of thousands of villages located beyond most multinationals' distribution networks. Their access to essential goods is limited not just by high prices, but also by inadequate rural distribution, which also restricts the poor in distributing their produce. We use the term 'socially responsible distribution' to describe initiatives that provide poor producers and consumers with market access for goods and services that they can benefit from buying or selling, by helping neutralise the disadvantages they suffer from inadequate physical links to markets, information asymmetries, and weak bargaining power.
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While management scholars and development economists have provided a compelling case for greater attention to the bottom of the pyramid, few contributions have examined specific strategies for reaching consumers at this level. The majority of those at the bottom of the pyramid reside in hundreds of thousands of villages located beyond most multinationals' distribution networks. Their access to essential goods is limited not just by high prices, but also by inadequate rural distribution, which also restricts the poor in distributing their produce. We use the term 'socially responsible distribution' to describe initiatives that provide poor producers and consumers with market access for goods and services that they can benefit from buying or selling, by helping neutralise the disadvantages they suffer from inadequate physical links to markets, information asymmetries, and weak bargaining power.

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