17 business innovations to be honored for contributions to the 17 U.N. Sustainable Development Goals
The Fourth Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World Benefit, on June 14-16 at Case Western Reserve University, will celebrate business leaders, professors and students making a positive impact on society and the natural world by focusing on enterprise that ensures dignity for all people and a healthy planet for generations to come.
During the Forum, AIM2Flourish, an initiative of the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit at Case Western Reserve’s Weatherhead School of Management, will award the inaugural Flourish Prizes, recognizing 17 innovations from around the world that align with the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), or Global Goals. Flourish Prizes will be awarded each day during the forum.
“Today, we are announcing the 17 Flourish Prizes, exemplifying the best-of-the-best business innovations discovered and written about by business students—tomorrow’s Global Goals leaders,” AIM2Flourish Executive Director Roberta Baskin said. “Ranging from Mozambique to Cleveland and Argentina to India, the 17 business innovations showcase the power of profitable businesses to solve local challenges while contributing to community prosperity and well-being.”
The U.N.’s Global Goals are the world’s “to-do list” by 2030, unanimously ratified by 193 countries in September 2015. Beyond the moral imperative, these 17 challenges—including ending poverty, combating climate change, preserving the world’s natural resources—represent an estimated $12 trillion business opportunity, according to the “Better Business, Better World” report released at the 2017 World Economic Forum.
A distinguished jury of business and academic leaders selected the 17 best-of-the-best business innovation stories (one for each Global Goal) from the 422 Innovation Stories published on AIM2Flourish.com in 2016. Management students around the world interviewed innovative business leaders and published their stories on the AIM2Flourish platform as a global resource and community, centered on positive business solutions.
“AIM2Flourish is the antidote to bad news by shining a bright light on what business is doing right and encouraging business leaders, educators and citizens to join the Global Goals movement serving 100 percent of humanity and a healthy planet,” Baskin said.
Thousands of business-school students have completed the AIM2Flourish assignment since the initiative’s June 2015 launch at the U.N., including an intergenerational, in-person interview with a business leader. Students learn to ask positive questions based on Appreciative Inquiry, the powerful strengths-based whole system method developed at Case Western Reserve management professors David Cooperrider and Ron Fry.
Business leaders will receive the Flourish Prize awards, designed as solar-powered revolving glass sculptures of earth resting on a crystal base. Professors and student authors who collaborated with AIM2Flourish will be recognized at the Global Forum for their outstanding contributions.
Winners of the 2017 Flourish Prizes are:
Goal 1 End Poverty: The Sunshine Nut Co. in Mozambique, Morocco, which employs young men and women who were abandoned or orphaned in their youth by years of violent civil war.
Goal 2 End Hunger: CV. Green Health Agriculture in Indonesia, whose innovation delivers affordable organic rice to consumers and supports sustainable agriculture.
Goal 3 Health and Well-Being: Lucky Iron Fish, created in Canada but used in Cambodia and around the world, devised a simple iron ingot that delivers essential iron to combat anemia when dropped into a cooking pot.
Goal 4 Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education: Foldscope Instruments, created in the United States but used around the world, invented a $1 paper microscope, making science accessible to anyone.
Goal 5 Gender Equality: Serve & Help in Morocco supports marginalized women looking for a job with a platform that serves as an intermediary to affluent customers who need quality household services.
Goal 6 Clean, Safe Water and Sanitation: SmartPaani in Nepal is tackling the water crisis in Kathmandu Valley with rainwater harvesting, water filtration and wastewater treatment.
Goal 7 Clean Energy: d.light, in the United States (San Francisco), supplying affordable solar-powered lighting and equipment that brightens the night around the world for people without access to a power grid.
Goal 8 Economic Growth and Decent Work: CINIA in Mexico hires people with various physical and mental disabilities to help them become productive members of society.
Goal 9 for Resilient Infrastructure, Industry and Innovation: BIOCONEXION in Argentina connects farmers growing native crops with eager customers for economic, social and environmental benefits, as well as delicious food.
Goal 10 for Reduced Inequality: Cipla Ltd. in India, whose breakthrough 3-in-1 anti-HIV/AIDS cocktail brought the cost of treatment to less than $1 a day, bringing life-saving therapy to millions of people in the developing world.
Goal 11 for Resilient Cities: Conceptos Plásticos in Colombia transforms discarded plastic into Lego-like blocks to build affordable, fire- and earthquake-resistant homes from locally sourced materials.
Goal 12 for Sustainable Consumption and Production: Greenhope in Indonesia produces biodegradable plastic bags for supermarkets from locally farmed cassava. The company’s innovation supports smallholder farmers and reduces landfill waste with bags that biodegrade in sunlight in mere weeks rather than hundreds of years.
Goal 13 for Climate Change: Gram Power in India couples “smart meters” with solar-powered microgrids to bring clean, reliable energy to low-income people.
Goal 14 for Life Under Water: Bureo Skateboards in Chile designs and manufactures sustainable skateboards made from reclaimed plastic pollution, namely discarded fishing nets.
Goal 15 for Life on Land: SunCulture in Kenya provides Kenyan smallholder farmers with solar-powered water pumps and drip irrigation systems that reduce costs, increase yields and lengthen growing seasons.
Goal 16 for Peace and Justice: Buza Ice Cream in Israel, a business run by an Arab and a Jew in a country where most people see the other side as an enemy, is a living example of how peace is possible through business.
Goal 17 for Partnerships: MPOWERD, working in partnership two non-profits: New Course and Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, helps women in Kenya rise from poverty to become independent by selling solar lanterns.
Visit AIM2Flourish.com to read the full story for each Flourish Prize winner, as well as hundreds of other inspiring business innovation stories. For Fourth Global Forum pricing and registration information, visit globalforum.case.edu.