Thursday, 29th November 2012 at 9:46 am
Ten businesses from around the world, including an Australian B-corp company, have been named as Social Investment Pioneer Award winners at an awards ceremony in Melbourne.
The awards recognise outstanding contributions to community development in their local region.
The inaugural award ceremony – an initiative of the Principles for Social Investment Secretariat (headquartered in Australia) and United Nations Global Compact – is said to be the first time best practice in the different forms of social investment has been recognised on a global scale.
The ten organisations honoured as social investment ‘pioneers’, across the five categories of Responsible Business, Inclusive Business, Shared Value, Social Enterprise, and Strategic Corporate Philanthropy are:
Responsible Business – recognising companies that commit to social, economic, and environmental sustainability while balancing the interests of diverse stakeholder:
- Eswaran Bros. – Sri Lanka
- Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp – Canada
Inclusive Business – recognising companies that deliberately target middle to low income communities as members of the value chain, as suppliers, clients and customers:
- B-Bovid – Ghana
- Restaurantes Toks – Mexico
Shared Value – recognising companies that seek to create social and business value through re-designing products, services and markets:
- Small Giants – Australia
- Unilever – Indonesia
Social Business – recognising non-loss, non-dividend cause driven enterprises purposefully created to address broach community development priorities:
- SME Funds – Nigeria
- BBVA Microfinance – Spain
Strategic Corporate Philanthropy – recognising companies that align core business capabilities and commercial objectives with philanthropic intentions:
- Slightly Different – UK
- Ferrovial – Spain
Speaking at the event, CEO of PSIS, Shaun Cannon, congratulated the winning companies on their leadership and called on greater private sector commitment to supporting positive social change.
The only Australian winner, Melbourne-based impact-investment firm, Small Giants become the first company in Australia to be certified as a B Corporation – a new type of corporation which uses business to solve social and environmental problems.
Small Giants was founded in 2007 to create, support, nurture and empower businesses that are shifting up to a more socially equitable and environmentally sustainable world, according to it founder and CEO Danny Almagor.
“The Social Investment Pioneer Awards showcase the excellent work of small and multinational organisations from around the world,” Shaun Cannon said.
“These initiatives range from community health and hygiene programs, to advocacy for sustainable farming, providing financial support to communities in need, through to incorporating indigenous, local produce into the supply chain.
“While the social investment projects from businesses were diverse, they all shared a common thread – a strong alignment of commercial objectives with community needs.
“The alignment of commercial objectives to desired community outcomes can help turn the problem of arrested development around. This is the purpose of social investment, and private sector involvement is vital,” Cannon said.
Launched at the United Nations Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum, entries were received from 40 countries. The Social Investment Pioneer Awards were judged by an expert panel comprising Diana Chávez and Walid Nagi, of the UN Global Compact; and Soren Mandrup Petersen, CEO of Orbisun International Holding, Inc (OIHI).
The United Nations Global Compact established the Principles for Social Investment Secretariat (PSIS) to facilitate and improve the impact of social investment by Global Compact signatories, and contribute to measurable and sustainable improvements in the quality of life for communities in need.