This year's awardees include business-sponsored projects that provide low-income housing in Mexico, comprehensive HIV/AIDS treatment in Botswana, venture capital for small businesses in India, and health education in Turkey's primary schools. Corporate partners involved in the projects include The Merck Company Foundation, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, CEMEX Mexico, GlaxoSmithKline and Tetra Pak.
Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and current Chair of The Ethical Globalization Initiative, will present the awards at a public event in New York on 10 May. On 9 May, at the United Nations Headquarters, the winners will present their projects to the 14th meeting of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development.
Organized by the ICC in association with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and The Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF), the World Business Awards are the first worldwide business awards to recognize the crucial role of the private sector in implementing the UN's Millennium Development Goals of reducing poverty by half around the world by 2015, as agreed to in 2000. It is the fourth time the awards will be given.
"A partnership approach involving business lies at the very heart of the MDGs and is key to their successful implementation. These initiatives represent the very best of business activity around the world, using innovative and productive skills to help make the societies where they operate better places to live and better places to work," said ICC Secretary General Guy Sebban.
Selections were made by an independent panel chaired by Mrs Robinson, drawn from business, labour, research and academic organizations, with representatives from ICC, UNDP and IBLF. Panellists evaluated 73 projects from 33 countries before choosing the awardees. Nominations came from every manner of business and included business associations, confederations and individual companies.
"We were very impressed with the high quality of the nominations received and commend the wide range of projects from large and small businesses in all regions. They all contribute to the development goals defined in the UN Millennium Declaration," Mrs Robinson said.
The awards recognize breakthrough, productive methods deployed by businesses large and small towards promoting sustainable development nationwide, in partnership with government, civil society and other organizations; building awareness of the MDGs in the business community, and sharing best practices.
The ten winning initiatives (in alphabetical order) are:
Aaviskaar India Micro Venture Capital Fund
Africa Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnership (ACHAP), Merck
Global Alliance for the Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis (GAELF), GlaxoSmithKline, Global Community Partnerships
Health Care Logistics, VidaGás, VillageReach , Foundation for Community Development (FDC)
Patrimonio Hoy, Cemex Mexico
Siwa Sustainable Development Initiative, Environmental Quality International (EQI)
SOLO, Eczacibasi-Georgia-Pacific / Ipek kagit
Sustainable Banking, Banco Real / ABN AMRO
Tetra Pak Food for Development, Tetra Pak
Judges also highly commended: Anglo-American's Socio-Economic Assessment Toolbox, Brandix Training Center for Water Management, Education for All, Eskom's Electrification Program for South Africa, Macy's Rwanda Path to Peace, Sustainable Development for Narino's Coffee Growers, Sustainable Farming in Equatorial Africa, Reliance HIV/TB Control Center, the Social Stock Exchange and Starbucks Integrated Approach to Coffee Sustainability.
The eight Millennium Development Goals offer an integrated framework to the challenges that afflict individuals, countries and the global community with quantitative and measurable targets to be achieved by 2015 to alleviate hunger, disease and make tangible improvements in education, health care, shelter and environmental protection. For more information on the MDGs: www.undp.org/mdg.