“We believe that it is a responsibility for a firm such as ours to seek to have a beneficial impact on the world around us.”
— Hans-Paul Bürkner, Chairman
Why We Engage in Social Impact Activities
The numbers speak for themselves. There are nearly 1 billion hungry people in the world. Nearly 21,000 children under the age of 5 died every day in 2010. The highest rates of child mortality are in sub-Saharan Africa, where 1 in 8 children die before the age of 5—a rate more than 17 times the average for developed regions. More than 750 million people do not have sustainable access to safe drinking water; another 2.5 billion lack access to improved sanitation facilities.
And these are just some of the challenges facing global society. Yet, even though they are huge, some encouraging signs of improvement and hope abound. The number of new HIV infections per year continues to decline, and the significant advancements in antiretroviral therapy are reducing the number of AIDS-related deaths. The number of children not enrolled in school decreased sharply from 106 million in 1999 to 67 million in 2009. Sub-Saharan Africa’s projected economic growth of nearly 6 percent in 2012 may stabilize the continent’s financial situation and help support the expansion of an educated, stable middle class.
BCG’s involvement in social impact work is motivated by eye-opening facts such as these. And although generally less dramatic, there are many examples of underprivileged communities in developed countries that also need support. Because we possess expertise that can make a difference, we are inspired to work with social-sector organizations to have an effect on local communities and the world at large.
Our primary objective is to make a tangible, lasting contribution to the world in which we live. We are firmly convinced that together we can achieve more than any of us could individually. We also find that the work challenges us intellectually, helps us develop professionally, and fulfills us personally.
What We Do
BCG partners with multiple organizations around the world that seek to make a difference. We support these organizations by applying our talents, expertise, and insights in the consulting services we provide to them. Our social-impact work is conducted on two fronts: through our global and our local partnerships. We structure our efforts along eight topic areas:
In the past year, BCG completed approximately 250 social-impact projects with about 140 organizations worldwide.
On the global level,we work with selected partners in long-term relationships.
Our global efforts focus on the challenges of the developing world and seek to support progress toward the UN Millennium Development Goals. Because these are long-term challenges, we believe they require long-term relationships with critical players.
We have chosen to partner with the World Food Programme, Save the Children, Teach For All, the WWF and several organizations working to improve global health and development.
Our local social-impact work aims to have a direct, measurable impact on the communities in which our offices are located and in which we live.
Depending on local needs, each office determines the topics it wants to focus on, as well as the organizations it partners with. Some examples of recent local initiatives include:
Teaching business skills to high school students with the business@school program in Europe and Asia.
Working with public schools in Cleveland, Ohio and Hillsborough, Florida as well as other cities in the U.S.
InAustralia, supporting education reform in partnership with Aboriginal organizations and Jawun, an organization that brings corporations together with local indigenous populations to foster sustainable social and economic development.
Volunteering and Sustainability
In addition to our project work, our contributions include volunteering in our local communities, charitable giving, and providing talent, contacts, and resources. BCG is also concerned with its own environmental footprint. We have established our worldwide BCG Green initiative to reduce resource consumption, waste, and carbon dioxide emissions.
Our ultimate aim is to improve the living conditions of those in need. We often do so by helping our partner organizations become more effective or by directly advancing a topic. We evaluate our impact by looking at what we achieved within the organization, as well as the ultimate effect on beneficiaries.
For example, in recent work with one of our global partners, we supported preparations for the successful launch of a novel meningitis vaccine developed specifically for sub-Saharan Africa. Working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Meningitis Vaccine Project (MVP), BCG conducted a critical-path analysis to assess key risks that might jeopardize the anticipated vaccine launch.
Together with its partners, MVP addressed these risk factors, and in December 2010, 14 million doses of the vaccine were introduced successfully in Burkina Faso, enabling 80 percent of the population to be vaccinated in just four months.
The introduction of this vaccine across sub-Saharan Africa has the potential to avert 140,000 deaths, 300,000 disabilities, and $120 million in treatment costs over the next ten years.
Ways to Get Involved
Participating in one of our social-impact programs is a unique opportunity to make a difference and gain personal experience. BCG offers several ways employees can engage in social impact work:
Project work: Become staffed on a global or local project, just as you would be staffed on our corporate client work.
Social Impact Immersion Programme: Spend 9 to 12 months of your career focused on global and local social-impact work, developing expertise in the sector.
Social impact secondments: Participate in a social impact secondment, and spend 6 to 12 months working with one of our global partners as part of its team.
Social impact leave of absence: Spend up to 12 months on social impact work of your choice. BCG can help you find the right organization and position.
Volunteering: Participate in volunteer projects through your BCG office—for example, consulting to local social entrepreneurs, mentoring high-school classes, or spending a day with your colleagues helping in a homeless shelter.