Asking the question what does security mean to farmers working in global supply chains led me to believe that a new business model is needed, one based on prosperity and not profit alone. This is based on the findings of my research into African women farmers working at the bottom of global supply chain in Africa. To answer the question ‘can business help to minimise the insecurity of their workers’ I examined whether the corporate social responsibility (CSR) principles set out by the international business the women supply are being met. This made it possible to identify whether the company was living up to its value statements.
Through answers the women gave in open discussions based around what security means to them, the data was broken down into three concepts of protection, resilience and empowerment. Protection is understood to be financial (in)security experienced by the women. If they are able to achieve a higher and stable income, be given insurance against the weather for damage to their crops, be able to save to set aside for a pension and have access to credit this would free them of many of their worries.
If they are protected from financial insecurity resilience will follow. Once the financial worries, stresses and pressures of day to day life are released the women will be better able to cope with their lives and take care of their families in the way they wish. Empowerment can come about as a result of the two previous stages of development allowing the women to grow their businesses, educate themselves, eat healthy and nutritious food, build beautiful homes, educate their children and move forward in their lives.
Based on these findings my study recommended moving to a new prosperity business model. A combination of protection, resilience and empowerment can be seen to lead to increased social mobility and prosperity or, in other words, human security. This is a win-win for individuals and for businesses since it leads to wealth creation and reduced threats for all.