The World Bank estimates that more than 1.4 billion people worldwide live on less than $1.25 per day (that's the same as what you spend on a Sunday newspaper!), many of them living in rural areas of the developing world, and working in what is known as the "informal economy"-labor that goes unregulated unmonitored by government and legal institutions. As globalization opens markets and generates opportunities for developing nations, a key challenge is ensuring that the benefits reach these poor informal laborers, many of whom are women, working to support their children and families.
The United States is the world's largest consumer economy; the practices used by U.S. companies in sourcing goods and bringing them to market affect the earnings of millions of people around the world. We believe that a unique opportunity exists at this moment in history to harness this economy, and the growing consumer market for ethically-sourced products, to create large-scale, market-based solutions for poverty alleviation. Through our work, we aim to prove that a business model grounded in an empowered labor force and an ethical supply chain can not only be profitable, but achieve lasting, sustainable social impact.
Our vision for a new, more empowering global economy harnesses capitalist market competition to create social good; transforming the market into a race to the top rather than a race to the bottom. This theory, what we call "inspired competition," relies on three key components: