Sourcing Locally for Impact

By mapping a company’s relationship to the economy in which it operates—and by leveraging the relationships it discovers in that process—businesses can do much to advance their strategic objectives and advance local economic growth.

In 2000, Ian Mackintosh, technical director of Nile Breweries in Uganda, a subsidiary of the global brewer SABMiller plc, faced a problem. Sales of the company’s clear beers had stalled, and given the relatively high prices for its products, the brewery was having a hard time reaching out to new consumers, most of whom were in the lower income brackets.

But Mackintosh knew that the demand for a cheaper beer existed. Low-income consumers in Uganda weren’t forgoing beer consumption; instead,...

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