Poverty alleviation constitutes a multi-faceted problem. It is on the one hand extremely local and leads to enormous deprivation of at least half of the world’s population. But on the other hand, it is an extremely international problem as well through the operation of global markets – in particular of resources – and the functioning of value chains. It has increasingly become acknowledged that the role of corporations and the private sector is vital for sustainable solutions to poverty.

The Max Havelaar lecture stimulates the thinking on poverty issues in a balanced manner, without making use of the usual simplifications either in support or against the involvement of firms in development. The Max Havelaar Foundation is proof of this approach: it is aiming at a continuous improvement in its strategy towards labelling products – increasingly in a variety of partnerships with NGOs, corporations and governments.

Read more about the background, the aims and organization of the Max Havelaar Lecture

The Max Havelaar Lectures are organised by:

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Max Havelaar lecture 2016

Business and Inclusive Development

Inclusive business, frugal innovation, base of the pyramid, social business – these and similar concepts have gained lots of attention in the past few years among scientists, policy makers and practitioners from CSOs and private companies. While the terms themselves sound appealing enough, they are not always easy to define, and despite positive expectations, it is at best unclear whether the implementation of these concepts is able to trigger processes of inclusive development in emerging economies.

The 2016 Max Havelaar Lecture explores if and how approaches like inclusive business can actually set in motion processes of inclusive development, and what such processes look like in real life. In doing so we will mainly focus on on the subjects of frugal innovation and living wage.

In many development policies and projects inclusive development is simply framed as inclusion, without specifying what that means. According to the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, “inclusive development above all implies measures that ensure that ‘the most marginalized and disadvantaged groups are reached’ so that they benefit from economic growth” (The Broker Online, 2015). This view is often reflected in the evaluation of this type of development projects and policies, which aim to measure effectiveness in terms of numbers of people, households, or farmers included and volumes of products supplied to markets. Hospes and Clancy (2011) critique the implicit assumptions present in these types of definitions: First, that inclusion is good, while exclusion is bad, and second, that inclusion is actually wanted by the excluded. A growing number of experts argue that inclusion alone is not enough; people should not only benefit from growth, but should above all exercise control over their own income and wellbeing (Gupta et al., 2015; Pouw and de Bruijne, 2015; de Haan, 2015). The Max Havelaar Lecture explores whether businesses are able to trigger such processes of inclusive development. Furthermore, workshops on frugal innovation, living wage and inclusive business are organized.

> Programme & sign up
> Download KPN challenge 2016

Lecture 2015

Are the Sustainable Development Goals going to deliver?

Are the Sustainable Development Goals going to deliver?
28 October 2015

> Video impression    > Watch the presentations

Lecture 2014

Young *** Fair
Will Generation Y make a difference?

Max Havelaar Lecture 2014: with Rob van Tulder en Noortje Schrauwen

> Video impression    > Watch the presentations
> Read the blog of Young & Fair
> download the booklet

Lecture 2013

True Pricing, Fair Banking and Fair trade.
Managing the transition to a truly value-creating economy

Max Havelaar Lecture 2013: with Adrian de Groot Ruiz, Peter Blom and Rob van Tulder

> Video impression    > Lecture Adrian de Groot Ruiz
> Lecture Peter Blom    > Lecture Rob van Tulder

Listen to an interview with Adrian de Groot Ruiz (Radio 1)
> download the booklet

Lecture 2011

Fairtrade and Climate Change: risks and opportunities

Max Havelaar Lecture 2011: with Prof. Dr. Atul Kumar, Dr. Peter Baker and Drs. Gert de Gans

The impact of climate change for small producers

> read more    > watch the video    > download the booklet

Lecture 2010

Power and Responsibility

Max Havelaar Lecture 2010: with Jan Pronk

Power and Responsibility

> read more    > watch the videos    > download the booklet

Lecture 2009

Chains for Change

Max Havelaar Lecture 2009: with Gary Gereffi

How supply chains can change the world

> read more    > watch the videos    > download the booklet

Lecture 2008

Partnerships for development
Noreena Hertz

Max Havelaar Lecture 2008: with Noreena Hertz

Partnerships for development

> read more    > watch the videos    > download the booklet

Lecture 2007

Development is a practical challenge

Max Havelaar Lecture 2007: with Jeffrey Sachs

Development is a practical challenge

> read more    > watch the videos    > download the booklet

Max Havelaar


Surveys held during the 2007, 2008 and 2009 lectures

> download Survey results 2007 (PDF)

> download Survey results 2008 (PDF)

> download Survey results 2009 (PDF)