Muhammad Yunus - Corporate Social Responsibility and Business
Muhammad Yunus (1940- )
Bangladeshi winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 (pictured right) for creating microcredit, very small bank
loans for the poor (see point 1).
Why is he a hero?
1. The Grameen Bank
He founded this bank in 1983 to provide microcredit, very small loans to millions of
Bangladeshis in thousands of villages for education, housing and new businesses.
Such borrowers own the bank, so they receive a dividend (a share of the profits). 97% of them are
women because they use the money more effectively than men.
The bank also gives microcredit to people throughout the world including Africa and even
New York City.
Yunus lived comfortably as an economics professor, but his conscience was pricked by the hunger
and poverty of the poor.
He decided to lend $27 of his own money to help poor people, exploited by greedy money lenders. After failing to
persuade the banks to do the same, he set up the Grameen Bank.
3. Putting people before profit
He strongly supports “social business” where businesses reinvest all their profits to
achieve the social objective of improving the world and people’s lives e.g. helping the poor or the
Alternatively social businesses can be normal profit maximizing companies but owned (or majority owned) by the
poor (like the Grameen Bank).
Poverty and injustice will quickly disappear, when poor people are given “a fair chance to unleash their
energy and creativity”, says Yunus.
4. Globalization for good
Yunus supports global companies, but they must be strictly regulated to ensure that they help
the poor and don’t exploit them.
He also wants global social businesses to be created (see point 3).
Key quotes on poverty
Poverty should belong to museums.
Poverty is the absence of all human rights.
Key quote on war
For building stable peace we must find ways to provide opportunities for people to have decent lives.
Key quote on globalization
Globalization must not become financial imperialism.
Key quotes on success
When you don’t believe something, you can’t achieve it.
You have to imagine and make that imagination achievable.