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World Business and Development Award winners: Fighting poverty can benefit business

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 ten 2010 WBDA wining Initiatives (in alphabetical order) are:

* Cemex offers poor communities in Mexico the opportunity to produce construction materials that can be used to build or improve their houses, their communities or be sold for additional income. This initiative, called Productive Centers for Self Employment, has benefited more than 3,500 families benefiting to date.

* Eli Lilly & Company addresses the health challenges of TB and multi-drug resistant TB by successfully mobilizing over 20 partners on five continents to tackle the disease in all its forms. The Lilly partnership is providing medicines, advocacy tools and technology to focus global resources on prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

* GroFin/Shell Foundation —GroFin, in partnership with the Shell Foundation, has developed a business model, successfully piloted in Africa, proven to create sustainable employment through the integrated provision of skills and finance to small and medium-sized enterprises. The partnership currently supports over 200 businesses across 8 continents.

* Heineken developed a sustainable local supply chain for Sierra Leone Breweries Ltd, the local subsidiary of Heineken in Sierra Leone, to help local sorghum farmers compete against imported grains. The company has adopted an Africa-wide strategy to procure at least 60 percent of their raw materials locally.

* LifeSpring Hospitals provides low cost, high quality maternal care to low income mothers across India. LifeSpring Hospitals was started as a proof of concept in 2005 and, since then, eight more hospitals have been established. It is a social enterprise with a dual goal of fulfilling its social mission while achieving financial sustainability. As of June 2010, Lifespring has delivered more than 7,000 babies and its doctors have treated over 100,000 outpatient cases at the hospitals chain’s nine clinics.

* Novartis, as of June 2010, has delivered over 340 million of its antimalarial treatments without profit, to more than 60 malaria-endemic countries for public sector use, making Novartis the leading pharmaceutical partner in the fight against malaria. Since the beginning of its Malaria Initiatives program, Novartis has pioneered access to medicines in the developing world through an innovative not-for-profit distribution concept, coordination of best practice sharing workshops, development of new formulations and capacity building.

* Nuru Energy, focusing on providing affordable, clean, and safe lighting to people in Rwanda, Kenya and India without electricity, Nuru Energy also offers an income generating activity for rural entrepreneurs. Each entrepreneur sells Nuru’s LED-based portable lights and then charges the customers a small fee to recharge them. The income launches an entrepreneur out of poverty, giving them close to 10 times the average income, while saving customers 90 percent on lighting costs.

* Reuters Market Light developed a mobile phone-based, easy to use, professional information service specially designed for the Indian farmer community. Through sharing, it is estimated to have been used by over a million farmers in over 15,000 villages, helping them reap significant return on their investment and increase efficiency.

* Royal DSM focuses on the creation of innovative and targeted solutions specifically designed to meet the nutritional requirements of those in the developing world. Its Nutrition Improvement Program concentrates on food fortification (flour, sugar, oil, rice) in order to provide the consumer with access to a low-cost alternative to food variety and better nutrition. To date, approximately 2 million people globally have been reached through this program.

* Walmart Mexico, the Company’s Indigenous Product Commercialization Program is one of the first food security programs of its kind in Mexico geared towards impoverished families. It offers poorer producers the opportunity to sell their products in Walmart stores by providing transportation, distribution, logistical and capacity-building support.


News selected by Covalence | Country: Global | Company: Cemex, Eli Lilly, GroFin/Shell Foundation, Heineken, LifeSpring Hospitals, Novartis, Nuru Energy, Reuters, Royal DSM, Walmart | Source: UNDP

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