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Ending poverty sits at the heart of the Tata Group

In September 2015, the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with 2030 as the target year. The goals set an ambition for a safe and sustainable future for everyone, especially for the less privileged passengers aboard ‘Spaceship Earth’. The 17 goals provide a global framework for action. DNV GL’s report “Future of Spaceship Earth – Business Frontiers” dives into private sector solutions for attaining them. For each SDG, we highlight a company pioneering progress towards the goals. To demonstrate solutions on Goal no 1 we invited in the Tata Group.

Ending poverty sits at the heart of the Tata Group

Ending Poverty – Goal 1 – is the main yardstick by which the successes and failures of the SDGs are likely to be measured, and the principle of leaving no one behind is clearly rooted in this goal. Poverty, in all its forms, includes extreme poverty and relative poverty that differs between the nations, and also has the multi-dimensional poverty aspect.


High extreme and relative poverty in rest of world (ROW) ensure a red score. OECD and USA have low extreme poverty, but do not succeed in reducing relative poverty, and so score yellow. Brazil, India, South Africa and Emerging (BRISE) and China improve on both relative and extreme poverty, but not enough to have a green overall score. The score is based on assessing economic poverty, as we have little input for scoring multi-dimensional poverty.

Future of Spaceship Earth scorecard

Understanding the score: • Five regions: USA OECD (excl. USA), China, BRISE (Brazil, Russia, India, South Africa and 10 other emerging economies), ROW (rest of the world). • Green light: Goal likely to be reached. • Orange light: Goal not likely to be reached, but more than 50% of the gap between today’s status and the goal is likely to be closed. • Red light: Goal not likely to be reached, and less than 50% of the gap between today’s status and the goal is likely to be closed.

The Tata Group “the power to act”

The Tata Group approaches its stated mission – ‘To improve the quality of life of the communities we serve globally, through long-term stakeholder value creation based on Leadership with Trust’ – in three ways.

The first relates directly to Tata’s role as a producer of goods and services. “You can make a significant difference in poverty if the kinds of goods and services you produce are the kinds that also serve the poor,” Tata Sustainability Group’s Shankar Venkateswaran says.

The second is to create employment, both directly within its companies and in the supply chain around them. “It’s about businesses being conscious and asking, how can we also positively impact those who are left out of these processes?”

The third aspect is Tata’s involvement in communities, which Venkateswaran describes as moving beyond philanthropic CSR to more strategic efforts to create value for people at the base of the pyramid. For example, Tata Consultancy Services developed mKrishi, an application that uses mobile phones to bring personalized advice to farmers. Besides giving them access to information like weather, practical advice, and pricing, it also gave them access to new markets. Before this kind of ‘disruptive innovation’ a farmer would have been at the mercy of the middleman. “Now,” says Venkateswaran, “they are in a better position to play the market.”

Explore our forecast and the prognosis for reaching each of the 17 goals:

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