Winners of 2009 SEED Awards Announced
New York, USA. The winners of the 2009 SEED Awards for Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Development were announced today at a high level award ceremony and reception. The international award recognizes innovation in local, environmentally-responsible and sustainable entrepreneurship. Twenty local initiatives from across the developing world received this year's award. Together, the winners cover a diverse range of promising business models that will tackle poverty and environmental stewardship in areas such as water and waste management, sustainable energy, recycling, and fish farming.
The SEED Award is the flagship programme of the SEED Initiative, a partnership founded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The ceremony, which was attended by high-level delegates from government, civil society and the business community, was held in conjunction with the second week of this year's United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD). Taking advantage of the concentration of national delegations engaged in the CSD, the reception hoped to direct the collective attention of the conservation and development community to the contributions local entrepreneurs are making to attainment of international sustainable development objectives.
Assistant Administrator of UNDP, Olav Kjørven said:
This is an inspiring group of entrepreneurs who demonstrate that environmental sustainability and business can be synergistic goals. It is this type of innovation and responsible entrepreneurship that will create jobs, provide for food security and save the environment. It is our objective at UNDP to promote these progressive business ideas as they are the seeds of future economies and are one of the key instruments that will allow us to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. UNDP is proud to be a SEED Initiative partner and I congratulate the 2009 SEED Award Winners on their outstanding achievements and leadership.
The SEED Awards are distinctive in the growing field of environment and development awards in that they identify, profile and support promising, locally-driven, start-up enterprises working in partnership in developing countries to improve livelihoods, tackle poverty, and manage natural resources sustainably. Rather than the traditional monetary prize, applicants compete for a package of individually-tailored capacity development– a suite of that will help the winners to grow their business idea and establish lasting partnerships across sectors.
In closing remarks, Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UNEP said:
The $3 trillion-worth of stimulus packages assembled to revive the global economy can be spent on keeping ailing industries, such as gas guzzling car companies and polluting factories on life support systems or can be invested in a sustainable Green Economy for the 21st century. The 2009 SEED Award winners are shining examples of the kinds of low carbon, innovation-led, recycling and green job enterprises shooting up across the globe—enterprises that echo to the multiple challenges of here and now, enterprises that with just a fraction of the bail-out billions and trillions could be the new Microsoft, Siemens, Tata, and Unilever - able to deliver tomorrow's economy today.
Competition for the 2009 SEED Awards was particularly fierce. Winners were selected by an international jury of sustainable development experts. Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of IUCN who was also in attendance said of the level of competition:
This fourth round of SEED Awards demonstrates resoundingly that there are a vast number of innovative and practical ideas in the world about how to make sustainable development happen. These SEED winners were selected from more than 1100 applications from close to 100 countries worldwide, representing the collaborative efforts of about 5000 organizations from the private sector, non-governmental organizations, women's groups, labour organizations, public authorities, international agencies and academia. Our hope is that with SEED's support, they will grow and inspire similar initiatives elsewhere.
Beyond the annual SEED Award, the SEED Initiative works to learn from the experiences of the individual start-ups to derive tools and guidance that can be helpful for all entrepreneurs who are aiming to deliver social and environmental benefits. The latest tool, a major online resource developed by SEED in partnership with the International Institute for Sustainable Development and the Commission on Environmental Cooperation, was launched at the reception. Set up as a wiki, at www.entrepreneurstoolkit.org, this tool is designed so that social and environmental entrepreneurs around the world can write about their experience with setting up and running their businesses.
Downloads and links: