From Cameroon to the Andaman coast: 2008 SEED Award finalists are announced and SEED's Associate Partners Network is launched
UNCSD, New York. The SEED Initiative is pleased to announce the inspiring ventures which have been selected as finalists for the 2008 SEED Awards for Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Development. This year's 15 finalists (listed below) offer exciting examples of innovative action in important fields of sustainability: recycling; creating community enterprises; climate change adaptation and mitigation; organic, fair-trade agricultural produce; empowering women and youth; bio-fuels; harvesting and marketing medicinal plants; community-based eco-tourism - they even include innovations in small-scale irrigation.
The SEED Initiative promotes, supports and researches such exceptional multi-stakeholder partnerships, which have developed innovative, locally-led solutions to the global challenges of sustainable development.
This third round of International Awards represents a significant scaling up of SEED's efforts: formerly a biennial competition, the SEED Awards are now being held annually. The 2008 call for proposals was met by an overwhelming response: Close to 400 applications from over 100 countries worldwide, representing the collaborative efforts of some 1629 organizations from the private sector, including non-governmental organizations, women's groups, labour organizations, public authorities, international agencies and academia.
In Thailand, tsunami affected communities on the Andaman coast are developing employment opportunities through community based tourism. Proceeds support various local projects such as handicraft marketing, a community centre, recycling, and youth-led conservation programs.
In Cambodia, the Philippines and Vietnam a regional NGO, working with local government and a carbon credit network, is creating locally-owned micro-businesses which make charcoal briquettes from local agri-waste, which would have been burned in the fields. In the process they are reducing local air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
In India, a local business and NGO have joined forces with academia to provide a sustainable income to remote villages of Himachal Pradesh, through the collection of Himalayan oregano. The distilled oil has strong market potential, having proven to be a potent anti-bacterial agent, including against MRSA, a well-known antibiotic-resistant bacterium.
In Jordan and Israel, a regional NGO is working with business, municipal and other partners to create a cross-border Peace Park in the lower Jordan Valley. The Park is intended to help protect and restore some of the area's natural resources, foster cross-border cooperation, eco-tourism and biodiversity protection in both countries, and revive and highlight cultural heritage sites.
In the Phillipines, women farmers are working with government and NGOs to create unique fibre-sheets, paper and other products from the husks of durian fruit. These husks are currently a major source of waste in some areas – turning them into a marketable product can ease waste management difficulties, decrease methane emissions and form the basis for a viable social enterprise.
In Thailand, the steady fall in price of fresh litchi and the fruits' high perishability prompted litchi growers cooperative, academics and post-harvest institutes to set-up a village-based fruit drying and processing unit. The more stable prices for organically-grown dried litchi encourage the continuation of the orchards, which help maintain soil stability and provide a reliable income source for smallholders.
In Ecuador, Sumak Mikuy, a community-owned business, aims to establish a sustainable market chain turning neglected native crops into high-value products for the tourist and organic export market, thereby sustaining biodiversity and local culture.
In rural Nicaragua, a university research centre, a women’s cooperative, an NGO and experts on solar technology are planning to launch a cooperative business that will produce and market photovoltaics made from recycled solar cells and solar cookers adapted for local needs.
In semi-arid Northeastern Brazil, partners in Pintadas Solar are developing a series of community projects based on the integrated use of water efficient crop irrigation systems and biofuel production. By applying innovative, small-scale, technological solutions, farming communities are both adapting to and mitigating climate change while also addressing food security and poverty.
In South Africa, a local youth development trust has partnered with local government and business to enable local communities to develop and construct the infrastructure, roads and houses in their own villages, while learning the trades and skills to set-up small construction-related businesses.
In Cameroon, partners have come together to build capacity for the production of organic, fair-trade honey and beeswax in the remote Adamoua savannah. In addition they aim to develop community-owned soap- and candle-making businesses, and build an international market chain to help realise the market potential of these products.
In Tanzania, a partnership has formed to facilitate an effective market linkage for sustainable biofuel production thereby providing smallholder farming families with extra incomes as well as access to renewable and affordable energy.
In Armenia’s Shirak region, a group of organisations have joined forces to create two farmers co-operatives, thereby providing a much-needed channel to market and distribute milk and other agricultural products, improve production methods and strengthen local incomes.
In Albania, a partnership is aiming to enable agricultural producers of watermelons and tangerines to access high-value EU markets, by helping their farms gain the necessary certification for controlled use of pesticides and fertilizers, cultivation techniques that minimize erosion risks, and the management of environmental waste.
In Armenia a partnership has been formed to build capacity and skills for high-yield gardening, which will empower rural women, generate additional household income and increase nutrition levels.
From the 15 finalists, five Global Winners will be chosen by our International Jury of sustainable development experts this Summer. Each winner will receive a package worth $ 25,000 of tailor-made support services, international exposure, and networking activities to assist its development from a project idea to a sustainable enterprise and to create real impact.
High-calibre partners recruited to help SEED Winners and Finalists.
SEED's Associate Partners (APs) stand ready to assist SEED winners and finalists in their efforts to grow their businesses. Being able to draw on the expertise of these organisations gives SEED awardees a much greater chance of success.
Recently recruited members include the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, the UN Global Compact, Ashoka, LEAD International, the International Institute for Environment and Development, Environmental Resources Management, South African Breweries, the University of California at Berkeley, Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development, Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa, Conservation International, the Whitley Fund for Nature, the Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy, and the GVEP International.
For more information, please contact the SEED Initiative Secretariat.