World Business and Development Awards Announce Winners at Rio+20: Fighting Poverty can Benefit Businesses

19 Jun 2012

London, Paris, New York, Rio de Janeiro - Eleven companies received today the 2012 World Business and Development Awards (WBDA) for their efforts to improve living standards in some of the world’s most disadvantaged communities. Winners were recognized at a ceremony concluding the Business Action for Sustainable Development Business Day taking place during the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), where world leaders along with thousands of participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs and other groups, have convened.

The Awards recognize innovative business models that deliver both commercial success and help improve social, economic or environmental conditions—otherwise known as inclusive business models—with winning companies engaged in diverse initiatives such as providing affordable clean energy to low-income communities in Kenya and boosting reforestation in India to providing micro-credit in Brazil.

A panel composed of nine independent judges selected the winning initiatives, under the categories of small- and medium-sized enterprise and large organizations. The 2012 Awards attracted 115 applications from 38 countries showcasing a variety of inclusive business endeavours undertaken by associations, non-governmental organizations and individual companies.

The 11 winners of the 2012 World Business and Development Awards are:

  • Small- and medium-sized enterprise 2012 category: 
    • Bright Generation Community Foundation: Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative, Ghana 
    • Dream Light Solid Waste Cleaning and Recycling, Ethiopia 
    • Eight19: IndiGo, United Kingdom 
    • Sproxil®, Mobile Product Authentication™, United States 
    • ToughStuff, Kenya 
  • Large organization 2012 category: 
    • Blue Skies: Joint Effort Enterprise, United Kingdom 
    • Grundfos LIFELINKTM, Denmark 
    • ITC: Social and Farm Forestry Programmes, India 
    • Nestlé: The Nescafe Plan: Nestlé’s Visionary Coffee Development, China 
    • Unilever, United Kingdom 
  • Winner of the special Brazil-based company category in honour of the Rio+20 host country: 
    • Itaú Unibanco S.A, Itaú Microcredit,Brazil  

Celebrating a decade of biennial award giving, the World Business and Development Awards 2012 are organized by the International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Netherlands Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, the UN Global Compact and sponsored by Cemex.

The Awards demonstrate how companies can, through their core business activities, help achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)—eight internationally agreed targets to reduce poverty and environmental degradation and improve education, health conditions and gender equality by 2015.

“When businesses apply the full force of their core business activities to development challenges and measure their success both by profit and social outcomes, there is no limit to what can be accomplished. The World Business and Development Award winners showcase what businesses of all sizes and in all regions can do to accelerate progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals,” said Clare Melford, CEO, International Business Leaders Forum .

“Past Award winners have shown how companies can help boost sustainable growth and development. They can be a tremendous source of innovative and sustainable solutions which help transform people’s lives for the better,” said Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator.

The 2012 Awards have been awarded explicitly to companies delivering inclusive business models: sustainable, commercially-viable business initiatives that expand access for low-income people to goods and services, or improve their livelihoods by engagement in the business process as direct employees, suppliers or distributors, while also generating sales and profit growth.

“As progress towards the Millennium Development Goals comes under threat in the current economic climate, the Awards highlight the critical role of the private sector in stimulating sustainable economic growth and development,” said Jean-Guy Carrier, Secretary General, International Chamber of Commerce.

Judges also highly commended (in alphabetical order):

  • BILT (Ballarpur Industries), India 
  • Doi Chaang Coffee Company, Canada 
  • EcoEnterprises Capital Group, LLC, Costa Rica 
  • OSRAM AG, Germany 
  • Simpa Networks, USA 
  • Small- and Medium-Scale Entrepreneurship Fundamentals Foundation (SMEFUNDS), Nigeria 
  • The Amiran Farmer’s Kit, Kenya 
  • The Procter & Gamble Company, USA 
  • The Ranger Production Company, United Kingdom 

Details at ­www.worldbusinessawards.net

UNDP:
Carolina Azevedo, carolina.azevedo@undp.org; +1 212 906 6127

ICC:
Dawn Chardonnal, dawn.chardonnal@iccwbo.org; +33 1 49 53 29 07

IBLF:
Jessica Scholl, jessica.scholl@iblf.org; +44 20 7467 3632