World Business and Development Awards open call for business contributions to sustainable development

Feb 2, 2012

London, New York, Paris—The World Business and Development Awards today launched a call for nominations for successful business initiatives that are in line with the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. All organisations, regardless of size or location, engaged in innovative business models that are delivering both commercial success and helping improve social, economic and environmental conditions are eligible to apply online by 25th March 2012 by downloading the form at

The award ceremony will be held on 19th June, when governments convene in Brazil at the Rio+20 Conference, closing the Business Action for Sustainable Development Business Day.

Celebrating a decade of biennial award giving, the World Business and Development Awards are organized by the International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership this year with the Netherlands Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the UN Global Compact. The Awards demonstrate how companies can, through their core business activities, help achieve the Millennium Development Goals — eight internationally agreed targets to reduce poverty and environmental degradation and improve education, health conditions and gender equality by 2015.

“When businesses apply the full force of their core business activities to development challenges and measure their success both by profit and social outcomes, there is no limit to what can be achieved,” said Clare Melford, CEO of IBLF. “We hope that the WBDA will again stimulate businesses of all sizes and in all regions to bring forward their best examples and so accelerate progress towards achieving the MDGs.”

The 2012 Awards will be given explicitly to companies delivering inclusive business models: sustainable, commercially-viable business initiatives that expand access for low-income people to goods and services, or improve their livelihoods by engagement in value chains as direct employees, suppliers or distributors, while also generating sales and profit growth.

In honour of the Rio+20 host country, there will be a special category designated for Brazil-based companies.

By bringing together examples of innovative, effective business practices, the World Business and Development Awards will also provide leading businesses and entrepreneurs with a valuable platform for networking and sharing experiences and promote best practices after Rio+20. This will encourage other businesses and governments to replicate and scale initiatives.

An international judging panel made up of representatives of the organising partners as well as non­governmental organisations, universities, business entities, and international institutions will determine this year’s winners. A workshop on inclusive business will take place prior to the Awards ceremony.

In 2010, the Awards received an unprecedented 172 nominations, representing a variety of business and commercial endeavours undertaken by business associations, non-governmental organisations and individual companies from more than 42 countries. Diverse in nature, the 10 winning initiatives ranged from low-income housing in Mexico and assisting farmers in Sierra Leone, to offering affordable maternal health services in India.

“Past award winners have shown how companies can help boost sustainable growth and development,” said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark. “They can be a tremendous source of innovative and sustainable solutions which help transform people’s lives for the better.”

“As progress towards the Millennium Development Goals comes under threat in the current economic climate, the Awards will highlight the critical role of the private sector in stimulating sustainable economic growth and development,” said ICC Secretary General Jean-Guy Carrier.

The World Business Development Awards

In addition to IBLF, ICC and UNDP, supporting Partners include the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). Associated partners include the Business Call to Action (BCtA) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

The International Business Leaders Forum works with business, governments and civil society to enhance the contribution that companies can make to sustainable development. Founded originally by HRH The Prince of Wales, IBLF is an independent, not-for-profit organization currently supported by over 100 of the world’s leading businesses.

The International Chamber of Commerce is the largest, most representative business organization in the world. Its hundreds of thousands of member companies in over 120 countries have interests spanning every sector of private enterprise. A world network of national committees keeps ICC International Secretariat in Paris informed about national and regional business priorities. More than 2,000 experts drawn from ICC’s member companies feed their knowledge and experience into crafting ICC stance on specific business issues. The United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the G20 and many other intergovernmental bodies, both international and regional, are kept in touch with the views of international business through ICC.

UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in 177 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.

Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Through development co-operation, the Netherlands works on reducing poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals. To this end, the Netherlands co­operates with the private sector and promotes and supports partnerships with civil society organizations, businesses and knowledge institutions. The Netherlands invests in economic growth as an engine for development and poverty reduction. Through co-operation with the private sector and through public-private partnerships, additional resources and business sector expertise are leveraged towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency works according to directives of the Swedish Parliament and Government to reduce poverty in the world, a task that requires cooperation and persistence. Through development cooperation, Sweden assists countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Sida provides resources and develops knowledge, skills and expertise. This increases the world´s prosperity. Through cooperation with private sector actors additional resources are leveraged towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

The UN Global Compact is a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. By doing so, business, as a primary driver of globalization, can help ensure that markets, commerce, technology and finance advance in ways that benefit economies and societies everywhere.

Contact information

UNDP: Carolina Azevedo, Tel.: +1 212 906 6127,
ICC: Dawn Chardonnal, Tel.: +33 1 49 53 29 07,
IBLF: Jessica Scholl, Tel.: +44 20 7467 3632,