Aid agencies tap into corporates’ cash and expertise
As cash-strapped governments examine their aid budgets, corporates are becoming increasingly involved in activities that were once the preserve of aid agencies and NGOs. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) recently deployed capital markets experts to several of its regional offices to help stimulate local financing, and several public-private organisations are finding market-based ways of helping their causes, such as Gavi, which raises money on international bond markets to increase access to immunisation. Aid agencies are also interested in corporate research capabilities. For example, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) is partnered with DSM, a Dutch science and technology group, to develop fortified foods. Barbara Stocking, CEO of the UK charity Oxfam, says: “For us the key to all this is dealing with companies that want to do something within their business that’s relevant to development.”
Financial Times* Sustainable Business supplement, p3
Millicom recognised for Inclusive Business innovation
Millicom, which provides mobile phone networks in Latin America and Africa, has been named as a winner of the G20’s ‘Challenge on Inclusive Business Innovation’, which seeks to honour companies with commercially viable ways of working with people in developing countries. The company has been recognised for making mobile telephony affordable to even the lowest earners in developing countries, and for its recent introduction of mobile financial services to certain markets. Mikael Grahne, Millicom’s President and CEO, commented: “As one of the largest foreign investors and direct and indirect employers in our markets, but also through the products we offer our customers, we can contribute positively to the economies where we operate and to the lives of the millions of people who live there.”
UN Global Compact unveils a Framework for Action on social enterprise
A new Framework for Action launched during the Rio+20 summit offers investors, large corporations and Governments a resource for engaging with and supporting the rising number of for-profit social enterprises whose goods and services address social and environmental needs. The product of a partnership between the United Nations Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, and The Rockefeller Foundation, a US-based global philanthropic organization, the Framework is based on the increasing recognition that social enterprise presents a financially or strategically valuable investment opportunity.
New emissions policy will force biggest UK firms to reveal CO2 figures
Public companies in the UK are to become the first in the world forced to publish full details of the greenhouse gases they produce, under plans to be announced by the government at today’s opening of the Rio+20 sustainability conference. About 1,800 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange, including some of the biggest corporate names in the world such as BP, Tesco and Tate & Lyle, will have to publish their emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from April next year. The move will please business leaders and organisations such as the Confederation of British Industry, which have urged the government for regulations to provide greater transparency and enable companies to be easily compared.
The Guardian p17
Furious Greenpeace moves to ‘war footing’ at Rio+20
The head of Greenpeace International said the NGO is moving to a “war footing” after negotiators at the Rio+20 sustainable development conference watered down proposals to protect the world’s oceans. Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International’s Executive Director, said there were so many fudges in the draft agreement that Greenpeace now had no other option but to start planning waves of civil disobedience, warning that it is willing to break an injunction served by Shell on every one of its country offices not to interfere with its oil development in the Arctic.