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Muhammad Yunus - Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Ethics


Muhammad Yunus (1940- ) Muhammad Yunus


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.


2. Conscience

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.

Muhammad Yunus


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 environment.

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.


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