September 21, 2010
New York - Ten companies were recognized today at this year's World Business and Development Awards (WBDA) for their efforts in improving the lives of some of the world's most disadvantaged communities. The winning companies are engaged in diverse initiatives such as providing low-income housing in Mexico; assisting farmers in Sierra Leone integrate into sorghum value chains, and offering affordable maternal health services in India, proving that investing in low-income communities can also drive business innovation and growth.
The Award ceremony is part of the special focus on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) during the opening week of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. The biennial WBDA showcase the best practices by businesses, from every region of the world, who apply their inclusive business expertise to the worldwide efforts to end poverty. It is hosted by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The Award winners prove that companies can be an engine of both growth and development. By mobilizing human and financial resources, they can be a valuable source of innovation and can promote positive change. Business can create domestic employment and wealth, and promote an entrepreneurial spirit, all of which contribute directly to reaching the MDGs ?eight internationally-agreed targets which aim to reduce poverty, hunger, maternal and child deaths, disease, inadequate shelter, gender inequality and environmental degradation by 2015.
This year an unprecedented 172 nominations were received, representing a variety of business and commercial endeavors, and included business associations, NGOs and individual companies from more than 42 countries.
Doing business with the poor has shown not only to be a potential boost to a company's competiveness, but also with the right business model to be a force in the fight against poverty, said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark. Today, more business leaders recognize that true worth can come not only from profits but from making a positive difference. With five years left to achieve the MDGs, an innovative private sector must be part of the global partnership to lift millions of people out of poverty.
The true spirit of the Awards lies in the pursuit of productive and innovative business driven solutions, in partnership with government and other partners, as well as building greater awareness of the MDGs in the business community, explained ICC Chairman Rajat Gupta.
The World Business and Development Awards continue to challenge companies to use their core business in a way that contributes both to sustainable development and to their own commercial success. They aim to inspire companies to realize that reducing poverty also makes good business sense, added Graham Baxter, Acting CEO of IBLF.
Andrew Mitchell, UK International Development Secretary, said: These Awards recognise the crucial role of the private sector in development and the contribution that untapped markets can make to increasing global prosperity and tackling poverty. It is the private sector that creates the jobs, enterprise and wealth that can give the world's poorest and most vulnerable people a chance to transform their lives and secure their futures.
"At USAID, we believe in inclusive economic growth," said USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah, one of the Awards ceremony's participants. It's not only about supporting the establishment of small-and medium-sized businesses, we need to reshape attitudes about women in the mainstream workforce, and linking local communities with private enterprise in order to build a culture of entrepreneurship. By supporting business enabling environments, harnessing advances in science and technology, and promoting innovative public-private partnerships, we can create and sustain vibrant business activity around the world.
Other winning initiatives include the creation of a food fortification (flour, sugar, oil, rice) solution to help address food insecurity in the developing world, provision of alternative lighting solutions in rural Rwanda, and a programme to strengthen the number of domestic suppliers and increase indigenous products sold in Mexico and Central America. Some of these winners are also featured in a new report released today by UNDP, titled The MDGs: Everyone's Business: How inclusive business models contribute to development and who supports them. The report provides several other examples of successful businesses that have contributed to the MDGs, including multinational corporations, large domestic companies, SMEs and cooperatives.
The WBDA 2010 are sponsored by US Agency for International Development, Business Action for Africa, Business Call to Action, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, UK Department for International Development, the UN Foundation, the UN Global Compact and the UN Office for Partnerships. Participants in this year's event also include United Kingdom Secretary of State for International Development Rt. Hon Andrew Mitchell MP and the Chairman of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Dr. Mo Ibrahim.
The ten 2010 WBDA wining Initiatives (in alphabetical order) are:
Judges also highly commended:
Adaptation for Smallholders to Climate Change, Germany
Feedback Ventures, India
GAP Regional Directorate, Turkey
Geoffman Enterprises, Uganda
Mahindra and Mahindra, India
Schneider Electric, France
Tata Consultancy Services, India
Toyola Energy Services, Ghana
An International Judging Panel made up of representatives of the organizers and leaders of non-governmental organizations, universities, business entities, and international agencies determined this year's winners.
For information on previous winners, visit: http://www.iccwbo.org/WBA/id23810/index.html
The report can be downloaded here http://www.growinginclusivemarkets.com/mdgreport