Global Business Coalition for Education

Investing in Education: Lessons from the Business Community



May 20, 2015

The business community can support the transformational efforts to realize the right to education and improve learning for all.  As world leaders prepare to approve the 2030 development agenda for education, the international education community is increasingly recognizing the role of the private sector in supporting the delivery of education.


To help provide insights on the variety of ways businesses can support the implementation of these new ambitions for education, GBC-Education and the UN Global Compact developed a publication, Investing in Education: Lessons from the Business Community.  This publication features a diverse set of responsible investments in education by six GBC-Education member companies – Standard Chartered, LEGO Education, Oando Foundation, Nestlé S.A., Econet Wireless and PwC – and shares lessons that can inspire other businesses to support the education targets for the next 15 years.




Sarah Brown, Executive Chair of GBC-Education and President of Theirworld states: “Business is playing a transformative role in elevating education as a political, social and economic priority, and can help ensure the right of every child and youth to receive a quality education by supporting government in the delivery of education. Business is uniquely positioned to support and create sustainable and scalable solutions to address the world’s pressing education needs. We hope these examples help open new doors for investments in education by the business community.”


The publication displays a new framework that combines and builds upon two guidance documents, specifically The Smartest Investment: A Framework for Business Engagement in Education and Planning for Impact: Measuring Business Investments in Education.  The resulting framework, shown in the “Business Investment in Education” diagram below, combines the strategic thinking of these resource documents to guide making the business case for investments in education and planning for impact.


This publication is unique because these examples of business investments in education are presented within this new framework.  The first page of lesson is designed for readers to easily identify the industry and geography of the company, the type of impact, the type of investment and the intended beneficiary.  In the descriptions of each investment, specific text is shown in bold to correspond to the features of steps 1 to 4 in the diagram above.  A reader can look for the key terms in this diagram in the text to get a better sense of the company targeted, leveraged, executed and measured its investment in education.


Each lesson also provides practical examples of a businesses are making smart investments by highlighting specific elements of investments and lessons learned to guide responsible engagement in education.  For example, the feature on Standard Chartered’s Goal programme highlights how a company can use partnerships to scale its investments.  Each of the investments showcased also demonstrates how businesses work with numerous partners to maximize their impact.  Education actors can view these lessons to see tangible examples of how coordinating actions can make a larger contribution.


Goal Programme

Standard Chartered

LEGO Education

LEGO Education

Oando Foundation

Oando Foundation


Nestlé S.A.

Nestlé S.A.


Econet Wireless




Acknowledgments:  We are grateful to the representatives from each business highlighted in this publication who worked closely with us to develop these examples. We hope they will help inspire action by many more companies in support of education.


Cover Photo © UN Photo/Albert González Farran

Standard Chartered Photo © Standard Chartered

LEGO Education Photo © UN Photo/Pasqual Gorriz

Oando Foundation Photo © Oando Foundation

Nestlé S.A. Photo © Nestlé Philippines

Econet Wireless Photo © Higherlife Foundation

PwC Photo © PwC