The European Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potočnik, speaks at the SEED Awards Ceremony in Nairobi, Kenya, hosted by the German Federal Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen
On 22 February 2011, the SEED Awards Ceremony for the seven 2010 SEED Winners from Kenya was generously hosted by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety at a reception during the 26th meeting of the UNEP Governing Council and the Global Ministerial Environment Forum.
German Federal Environment Minister, Norbert Röttgen, said:
SEED makes an important contribution to environmental protection and development not only by propagating sustainable entrepreneurial spirit and green innovations but also by helping to spread these innovations as swiftly and widely as possible and by fully incorporating them into our economies. The Green Economy concept has positive impacts on the environment, working conditions, and the local economic situation, especially if it is not dictated by anonymous administrators but practiced at grass roots level. Green Economy at the local level thus offers an immense potential for businesses and a low carbon - and hence environmentally sound - future. The winners of the SEED Awards have demonstrated that they have this potential, and it gives me great pleasure to see these initiatives now reaching such a broad public.
Janez Potočnik, the European Commissioner for the Environment, said:
I am also fully supportive of the SEED Initiative and am very encouraged by its results. This is what I would like to call "green economy in action": concrete, local initiatives by business men and women in developing countries. Through their entrepreneurship and innovative approaches these men and women demonstrate in practice what we policy makers like to talk about: how good business ideas can serve social and environmental objectives - and vice versa. This is - as I put it in my speech at the GMEF this morning - moving from "protecting the environment from business" to making "business protecting the environment". Our appreciation for the SEED Initiative is reflected by the financial support that we provide to it, with a specific focus on initiatives in Africa. I should add that we do this as part of our overall efforts to assist third countries in their transition towards a green economy. All such projects and programmes show how local and national initiatives can help move us towards a green economy and how in some cases financial support can help make them successful. If you ask me whether we should continue and increase this type of cooperation, the answer is yes. When discussing with my colleague Commissioners I will certainly pass the message to them that small start up companies help to green our economies and that we should give even higher priority to our cooperation programmes for schemes such as SEED. That is why it gives me a great pleasure to also congratulate the winners of the SEED Awards ceremony. You have demonstrated that it is possible to combine your business ideas with environmental and social objectives and considerations. Thank you.
The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Kenya also generously contributed to the SEED Award Ceremony and Her Excellency Mrs. Hellwig-Bötte, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany presented all the SEED Awards to the 2010 SEED Winners.