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For many years, direct sales companies have shown enormous potential for generating income and social change, stimulating entrepreneurship and promoting interpersonal relationships.
Despite all the progress and success of our industry, we know that part of society is still unaware of the relevance of our sector and that there are still negative perceptions in the public and governments. Influenced by this diagnosis and aware of our potential for change, we approved the Long Range Plan (LRP) of the WFDSA at the end of 2008.
In the coming years, we will continue to focus on these areas: strengthening direct selling’s image, improving processes and structures of the local WFDSA and DSAs, promoting ethics and strengthening integration and alignment of direct selling companies. Given the advances in recent years in ethics as well as integration and alignment between companies, we have the opportunity to give greater emphasis to the other two goals of our strategy.
Strengthening the Image of Direct Selling
We have the opportunity to show society the strength of our industry and that we can have relevance in a constantly changing world increasingly connected and impacted by social and environmental challenges. Today we live in challenging times, marked by continual financial crises, rising unemployment, famine, corruption in many nations and various environmental challenges such as global warming. In this context, we can all show the world the important transformation and mobilization role of the direct selling industry.
We can and must exercise our vocation as an agent of social change, suitably paying the network of people involved in the generation and commercialization of our products and services, promoting opportunities for the integration of people excluded from access, and developing new forms of sustainable business.
We need to show the world our power of transformation and entrepreneurship. Thus, through the strengthening of our image, we will increase our business opportunities and positive impact on the lives of millions of people.
Improving the Processes and Structure of the WFDSA and DSAs
We know that the existence of the WFDSA is subject to strengthening the individual Direct Selling Associations (DSAs), as they are the ones who represent us around the world. We need to empower our associations, improving their structures and resources. Only then will we have DSAs that are strong and legitimate representatives of our sector, respecting and fulfilling the needs of each region and company, regardless of nationality, size or sales method.
The coming years will be extremely important for this industry. More and more consumer desires are immediately brought to the forefront, determined by the need or convenience of the person buying. The Internet environment has perhaps been the biggest stage on which these new consumption parameters have been shown.
In this complex circumstance in the early stages of our understanding, direct selling companies have the challenge of transforming themselves. However, faced with this challenge we also see many opportunities. Operating within networks is already part of the essence of our industry. Therefore, in an increasingly connected world, we can create even more innovative ways of doing business within direct selling.
I think that the WFDSA can foster an environment that enables the exchange of experience between companies, so that together we can create direct selling of the future, admired and recognized by all. These will be the priorities of the WFDSA over the coming years. We have the advantage—with the active participation of a diverse group—of being part of a WFDSA deeply committed to working for the industry.
This is our commitment, and I believe that this diversity strengthens us, connecting us to people, the world and the challenges of our time.
Alessandro Carlucci is the CEO of Brazilian cosmetics company Natura and the current Chairman of the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA).