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dec 01 1

How Multinational Corporations Are Redefining Business Strategies to Reach Poor or Vulnerable Populations

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This report illuminates the enormous opportunities in emerging markets for companies to drive competitive advantage and sustainable impact at scale. It identifies how over 30 companies across multiple sectors and geographies design and measure business strategies that also improve the lives of underserved individuals.

In 2008, the Rockefeller Foundation launched its program initiative on impact investing with an important premise in mind: that the resources of government and philanthropy alone are insufficient to address the world's biggest challenges.

Over the past four years, this initiative has sought to help build the emerging industry of impact investing as well as to hold it accountable for its social and environmental impact goals. Since then, the concept and the practice of impact investing - placing capital with the intent to generate positive social impact beyond financial return - have grown and matured significantly.

As our initiative has progressed considerably, the opportunity is being taken to contribute further to the acceleration of impact investing from new perspectives and with complementary strategies.

In parallel with advancements in impact investing, there have been significant developments in the area of creating shared value. Shared value strategies drive large companies to undertake work that combines the pursuit of profit with the pursuit of positive social and environmental impact; in that way, it is analogous to the way impact investors deploy capital.

As part of the development of a strategy designed to help foster the "demand-side" of socially - and/or environmentally-focused capital, the Foundation has recently worked with various organizations to understand how large companies, through their business operations and practices, can make strong positive impacts on underserved communities. These impacts can be direct, such as through delivery of products and services or through employment of people who traditionally face substantial labor market barriers. They can also be indirect, as when large companies partner with smaller, dedicated "impact enterprises".

Read More > >

dec 01 2

DOHA CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE - NOVEMBER 2012

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South African businesses are soon likely to have access to a wider range of market mechanisms that can be used to trade "certifiable emission reductions" (CERs) with developed countries that want to offset their emission of greenhouse gases linked to climate change by funding clean development in non-industrialized regions.

Developing and approving new market mechanisms was part of the task that delegates from almost 200 nations set themselves at the United Nations climate-change talks in Doha, Qatar.

Africa and South Africa have up to now largely missed out on the developing world's most commonly used market mechanism, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), and access to the most established market for CDM credits closes to South African companies on December 31.

While the Asia Pacific region had 84.38% of the 4,884 project activities registered by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by October 31 this year, Africa had a measly 2.05% . and South Africa much of that. Latin America and the Caribbean accounted for 13.17% of the registered project activities and other regions 0.41%, according to a UNFCCC publication.

"But, while South Africa will not be allowed to trade CERs through the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme after the end of the year, that is not the end of the story. It will be able to develop CDM projects with other regions and countries, and use the other market mechanisms being developed", says Harmke Immink, director at South African carbon market advisory firm Promethium Carbon.

"What's exciting is that there are some pilot programmes to test actual alternatives to the CDM ... It is always more exciting to have more dishes on a buffet," she says.

South Africa voluntarily made an emissions reduction pledge at the 2009 talks, to reduce its domestic greenhouse gas emissions trajectory by 34% by 2020, and by 42% by 2025, subject to "adequate financial and technical support".

It is unlikely to meet this goal, according to research by the German non-profit organization Climate Analytics, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and renewable energy and carbon-efficiency consultancy Ecofys.

"Looking at the most recent data, South Africa is currently exceeding its projected business-as-usual emissions. It appears unlikely that with existing or planned policies the country will be able to turn this trend around," the three research institutions say in a research summary.

However, Ecofys Energy and Climate Policy Director Niklas HÃ says because South Africa's pledge was always conditional on financial and technological support, it is "highly likely" the country will get this support.

This ties in with UNFCCC executive secretary Christiana Figueres contention that every one of the almost 200 nations that have come to Doha acknowledges that not enough is being done to secure the future.

 

Delegates have to decide on a plan that will secure a new global and legally binding agreement on how to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, linked to the overall rise in the world's temperature.

The rise in temperature is linked to higher sea levels that threaten coastal cities, hotter and longer heat waves, desertification, biodiversity loss and extinction, increased flooding and reduced crop yields, especially in regions that depend on rain-fed agriculture and human displacement.

"While being locked out of the world's most dominant emissions trading scheme might have been a problem a few years ago, things are looking up," says Ms Immink.

There are 20-odd disparate carbon markets in various stages of development across the globe. They are not yet linked, which can make trade more complicated, but it also makes it more exciting.

At the end of last year's climate-change talks in Durban, the participants promised to agree, by 2015, on a structure for a future carbon market to be implemented by 2020.

"While there is the potential that this will not happen, this is not necessarily a problem", says Promethium Carbon director Robbie Louw. "Links between country-specific and regional markets could still develop outside the UNFCCC, and that may be all that is necessary", he says.

Already Australia and the European Commission have, for example, announced their markets will be progressively linked up, with trade beginning when Australia's carbon market kicks into action in 2015.

"The CDM was a good start", says Martin Hession, vice-chairman of the UNFCCC's CDM executive board.

"Few would disagree that much more needs to be done to avoid the worst effects of climate change," he says. "Likewise, few would disagree that the CDM has made a significant start, demonstrating in a concrete way what is possible with political will."

 

dec 01 3

HIV & ME


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The United Nations (UN) recently commended South Africa for its work and efforts to lessen national HIV transmission rate. Since 2010, South Africa has been committed to increased education and awareness of the disease, emphasizing reform in the nation's prevention and care policies.

In late October 2012, the UN Taskforce on Women, Girls, Gender Equality and HIV for Eastern and Southern Africa visited 7 sites throughout the country to conduct an independent assessment of South Africa's progress to date.

The UN Taskforce spent one week measuring the reach and scope of prevention programs, while monitoring and evaluating the country's progress towards the Accelerated Agenda for Women and Girls on HIV and AIDS, a commitment South Africa signed back in 2010 pledging support for these vulnerable groups. South Africa supports the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and has signed the UN doctrine pledging to end mother-to-child transmission of HIV/Aids by 2015.

After the visit and an official impact assessment, the UN had concluded that South Africa decreased mother-to-child transmission of HIV from 3.5 percent in 2010 to 2.7 percent last year. "South Africa has done a commendable job in significantly reducing transmission of HIV from pregnant women to their newborns," said Naomi Shaban, Kenyan Minister of Gender, Children and Social Development. This, together with the elimination of new HIV infection among children dominated a discussion between the taskforce and South African health officials.

 

Though exciting progress, the UN used the opportunity to call for renewed commitment to protect the health of young South African girls, women, children and people with disabilities. While acknowledging South Africa's improvement to date, the UN also highlighted that more needs to be done to protect these vulnerable populations disproportionately impacted by the disease.

The UN urged that South Africa take steps to protect the health of young girls, specifically calling for more education and school-based programs. The country's department of basic education found that one percent of female school pupils became pregnant last year, or to approximately 89,390 girls around the nation. "Keeping girls in school is the best thing we can do to reduce new infections among girls and women and help them to reach their potential," said Shaban.

"Education is the key. Prevention of unplanned pregnancies and HIV infection in young girls must be a major priority of the South African government and school systems." urged taskforce member Sheila Tlou.

- HIV&Me Program Manager