Thursday, 31 October 2013

Winners of SEED Gender Equality Awards 2013 announced

NAIROBI, 31 October 2013 – Two Latin American companies have won the SEED Gender Equality Awards 2013, sponsored by UN Women and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and supported by the international law firm Hogan Lovells.

The awards are part of the wider 2013 SEED Award schemes to support enterprises tackling key sustainable development challenges at community level in developing and emerging economies.

The award winners were announced today at a high-level ceremony at the UN Environment Programme headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, on the day of a special SEED symposium, “Green Entrepreneurship: Local Solutions that Make a Difference”, taking place in the framework of the Global South-South Development Expo.

An international jury of experts selected the Colombian company, Provokame, and the Peruvian organization, Life Out Of Plastic - L.O.O.P., as the two most promising and innovative enterprises that are women-led or -owned and that prioritize gender equality or women’s empowerment as a core objective.

Provokame produces innovative 100 per cent biodegradable plates, made from natural fibres and recycled paper, which are also implanted with seeds. The enterprise trains and employs local women living in rural areas in the plate production process. The plates are distributed through supermarket chains and organic products shops. The entire process contributes not only to the reduction of pollution and sustainable waste management, but also creates job and income for women, while additionally increasing environmental awareness among the community.

Life Out Of Plastic - L.O.O.P. is a 100 per cent women-owned organization that designs and sells green products such as reusable bags and fleece made from rPET fibre - a textile derived from bottle recycling. L.O.O.P.’s mission is to raise awareness among coastal communities about plastic pollution using market tools such as social media to fund education campaigns, art exhibitions, guided tours for school-groups and beach clean-up activities, all teaching the value of marine ecosystems to communities.

Commenting on the awards, UNIDO Director-General, LI Yong, said, “Promoting women’s economic empowerment is an integral part of UNIDO’s work. As half of the world’s population, women play a crucial role in economic growth, environmental sustainability and poverty reduction. This year’s SEED Gender Equality award winners should be recognized as social innovators who are paving new roads towards not just the empowerment of women, but also towards inclusive and sustainable industrial development. They are pioneers at the local level but make considerable impacts at the global level, shaping new opportunities for themselves, and more importantly, other women.”

The two award winners will receive a financial contribution of US$5,000 and will receive support from the international law firm, Hogan Lovells, which has an established pro bono practice advising women entrepreneurs across the world.

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