Mexico City, 20 January 2017 – Affordable home builder and Business Call to Action (BCtA) member ¡Échale! a Tu Casa has made an ambitious new pledge to provide 12,500 new low-income clients with access to sustainable housing solutions and financing in Mexico by 2022.
Launched in 2008, the BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that engage people with less than US$8 per day in purchasing power as consumers, producers, suppliers and distributors. It is supported by several international organizations and hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
According to Mexico’s National Housing Commission, there are 9 million families in the country without a home; 6 million of these do not receive public social security or other benefits. An additional 4.9 million families live in overcrowded conditions or in unsafe houses constructed of fragile or dangerous materials.
¡Échale! caters to Mexico’s vast market of working families who spend approximately 30 percent of their income on shelter – and typically pay high prices for low-quality construction materials. Unlike housing in higher-income markets, their expenditures do not hold value or generate community cohesion. By contrast, ¡Échale!’s housing solutions are sound, durable and sustainable, building a sense of civic pride since they are self-built by local people working together for the good of their community.
The company’s inclusive business model combines self-build assistance, community participation and innovative financing. Its newest housing initiative is designed to benefit more than 7,000 families and create job opportunities for around 10,000 people – impacting over 20,000 people in all.
“¡Échale! is delivering exceptionally high-quality and eco-friendly housing at a price working families can afford”, said BCtA Programme Manager Paula Peleaz. “This enables the company to capitalize on Mexico’s vast and virtually untapped housing market, which few others have been able to navigate. It is a great example of how inclusive business practices can open up new vistas for industry innovators”.
At the core of this successful initiative is the Terrapress technology – a patent-protected process that combines the use of Adoblocks (compressed earth blocks), on-site production and social mobilization. Adoblocks are made from earth and other natural materials, which do not pollute or create construction waste.
The company provides new homeowners with self-build kits, which are used by local community members to build new or improve existing houses – providing a valuable source of temporary employment. ¡Échale! has also designed a line of customized affordable credit products to finance the self-build kits.
“We believe that the right to adequate housing is a fundamental human right, and that decent housing lays the foundation for marginalized communities to thrive”, said company CEO Francesco Piazzesi. “Involving communities in the home-building process not only yields decent and dignified housing. It imparts, skills, self-esteem and – most importantly – a sense of community ownership.”
In January 2012, ¡Échale! joined the BCtA with a commitment to provide US$25 million in microfinance lending to help 25,000 families earning US$5 per day purchase home self-build kits by 2017. With the success of its inclusive model, the company is now expanding to six new regions in Mexico and pledging to provide 12,510 new low-income clients with access to financing and sustainable housing solutions by 2022. In the process, ¡Échale! aims to employ 10,000 temporary workers from local communities in new home construction.
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Membership in the Business Call to Action does not constitute a partnership with its funding and programme partners, UNDP or any UN agency.
About the Business Call to Action (BCtA): Launched at the United Nations in 2008, the Business Call to Action (BCtA) aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that offer the potential for both commercial success and development impact. BCtA is a unique multilateral alliance between key donor governments including the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), UK Department for International Development, US Agency for International Development, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Finland, and the United Nations Development Programme — which hosts the secretariat. For more information, please visit www.businesscalltoaction.org or on Twitter at @BCtAInitiative.
About ¡Échale! a tu Casa: ¡Échale! is a social enterprise that delivers affordable homes and credit access to communities throughout Mexico. Through its innovations in construction technology and financing, the company has streamlined its unique the self-build process, which provides temporary employment in the communities where homes are built. With an average solution costing US$10,000, the market potential for ¡Échale!’s products is US$ 89 billion. To date, the company has assisted almost 200,000 families in completing new or improving existing homes using sustainable materials, and has exported its technology to Nicaragua, Belize, Haiti, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates. The company was recognized as best Social Enterprise in 2014 as a ‘Best in the World’ B-corporation in 2015. For more information about Échale and its inclusive business model, visit: http://www.echale.com.mx/.