We first highlighted the Millennium Development Goals in the CSR360 GPN online magazine in July’s issue in 2009 with the intention of raising the awareness and celebrating some of the advances that individual businesses were making towards achieving the 8 international targets. The issue featured several inventive and compelling projects which were recognized by the Coffey International Award in Business in the Community’s Annual Awards for Excellence.
A whole year has passed by and with it the somewhat inconclusive and disappointing Gathering at Copenhagen. More uplifting however, was the recent UN Summit which saw Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Heads of State and Government, along with the private sector, foundations, international organizations, civil society and research organizations making a new pledge to speed up efforts to achieve MDGs 4 and 5; Child and Maternal mortality.
Indeed, $40 billion has been pledged over the next five years, with the aim of saving the lives of ‘more than 16 million women and children, preventing 33 million unwanted pregnancies, protecting 120 millions of children from pneumonia and 88 million children from stunting, advancing the control of deadly diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS, and ensuring access for women and children to quality facilities and skilled health workers.’ http://www.un.org/en/mdg/summit2010/
What mustn’t be forgotten though is that amongst the debating and predicting, corporations are operating ‘business as usual’ and are increasingly implementing projects and programmes that create support networks for some of the most disadvantaged people and communities in the world. Action is the key to the success of the goals and this action needs to happen now. Through such initiatives as providing health care to employees and in some cases, their families and through supporting farmers implement sustainable agricultural practices with technological systems, businesses are helping to turn impoverished communities into thriving ones. The advantage being that business prospers in thriving communities.
In this month’s issue, we take a closer look at three amazing projects being delivered by businesses. Firstly, we hear from Andy Wales, Global Head of Sustainable Development about SABMiller’s enterprise development. They have invested in small scale supplier relationships, particularly with smallholder farmers in Africa, India and increasingly Latin America to build local agricultural capacity and secure supplies of raw materials. Find out how this approach to sourcing brewing materials has led to benefits to business and the community.
Microfinance is a highly effective tool which people and communities can use to lift themselves out of poverty and into prosperity. International Law Firm, Allen & Overy have developed the idea and incorporated it into their sustainable development strategy to create the Allen & Overy Global Microfinance Group which engages 200 lawyers from around the world. In our interview with Greg Brown, Partner in the Banking Department, we learn more about the Group and the achievements and challenges along the way.
Finally, readers are given the chance to learn about a small company which targets no less than 5 Millennium Development Goals. Pachacuti is the UK’s Panama hat specialist and purveyor of certified Fair Trade clothing and fashion accessories. It is the world’s first company to be certified against the Sustainable Fair Trade Management System, a new worldwide standard for the independent certification of organisations that demonstrate Fair Trade business practice. Read more about their exciting business model in the issue.
Our cover piece comes from Sue Adkins, International Director and Founding Director Cause Related Marketing at Business in the Community. Her article calls business to act to reach the ever looming deadlines for the targets. She recognizes that much has been achieved to date by business but reiterates that there is still a long way to go.
We finish as always with David Halley’s blog. In this edition he shares some of the strange and surprising gastronomic journeys that working in global CSR has taken him on.
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