All organizations, regardless of size or location, engaged in innovative business models that are delivering both commercial success and helping improve social, economic and environmental conditions are eligible to apply online by 25 March 2012.
The award ceremony will be held on 19 June, when governments convene in Brazil at the Rio+20 Conference, closing the Business Action for Sustainable Development Business Day.
Celebrating a decade of biennial award giving, the World Business and Development Awards are organized by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership this year with the Netherlands Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the UN Global Compact. 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 achieved,” said Clare Melford, CEO of IBLF. “We hope that the WBDA will again stimulate businesses of all sizes and in all regions to bring forward their best examples and so accelerate progress towards achieving the MDGs.”
The 2012 Awards will be given 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 value chains as direct employees, suppliers or distributors, while also generating sales and profit growth.
In honour of the Rio+20 host country, there will be a special category designated for Brazil-based companies.
By bringing together examples of innovative, effective business practices, the World Business and Development Awards will also provide leading businesses and entrepreneurs with a valuable platform for networking and sharing experiences, and promote best practices after Rio+20. This will encourage other businesses and governments to replicate and scale initiatives.
An international judging panel made up of representatives of the organizing partners as well as non-governmental organizations, universities, business entities, and international institutions will determine this year’s winners. A knowledge-exchange workshop focussed on inclusive business will take place prior to the awards ceremony.
In 2010, the Awards received an unprecedented 172 nominations, representing a variety of business and commercial endeavours undertaken by business associations, non-governmental organizations and individual companies from more than 42 countries. Diverse in nature, the 10 winning initiatives ranged from low-income housing in Mexico and assisting farmers in Sierra Leone, to offering affordable maternal health services in India.
“Past Award winners have shown how companies can help boost sustainable growth and development,” said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark. “They can be a tremendous source of innovative and sustainable solutions, which help transform people’s lives for the better.”
ICC Secretary General Jean-Guy Carrier said: “As progress towards the Millennium Development Goals comes under threat in the current economic climate, the Awards will highlight the critical role of the private sector in stimulating sustainable economic growth and development.”