Business & UN

World Business Awards presented

  • 10 May 2006

Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and current Chair of The Ethical Globalization Initiative, honoured ten business-sponsored projects with World Business Awards at an event in New York City today.

Organized by ICC in association with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and The Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF), the awards recognize the best practices of the business sector striving to reach the UN’s Millennium Development Goals of reducing poverty by half around the world by 2015.

Yesterday the winners presented their projects in an open forum during the 14th meeting of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development.

Each project tackles critical needs within its local community and provides a solution, for example, 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.

During her address at the awards ceremony today, Mrs Robinson praised business for taking up its responsibility in the fields of human rights and sustainable development in recent years.

“Our world is changing very rapidly,” said Mrs Robinson. “Power is shifting. We very badly need a strong human values system. We have that in the UN system and in the Millennium Development Goals. These awards are an encouragement for business to do yet more.”

ICC Secretary General Guy Sebban, who presented the awards with Mrs Robinson, said: “We are so pleased to see that so many companies have proven that there is a convergence between their individual goals of making profits and in creating value for society at large.”

The winning projects were chosen 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. Nominations came from every manner of business and included business associations, confederations and individual companies.

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.