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UNEP and Hisense sign new partnership to support green entrepreneurs
15/ 02/ 2011

UNEP and Hisense sign new partnership to support green entrepreneursThe UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and Hisense International Co. Ltd. today signed a partnership at a ceremony in UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, which will work to promote and strengthen the brand profile and global positioning of the SEED Award The SEED Award is a component of the SEED Initiative programme, which supports innovative and small-scale entrepreneurs worldwide who integrate environmental and social benefits into their business models.

15 February 2011, Nairobi. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and Hisense International Co. Ltd. today signed a partnership at a ceremony in UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, which will work to promote and strengthen the brand profile and global positioning of the SEED Award

The SEED Award is a component of the SEED Initiative programme, which supports innovative and small-scale entrepreneurs worldwide who integrate environmental and social benefits into their business models.

Hisense International, which is headquartered in Qingdao, China, recognizing the SEED Initiative as a global partnership for action on sustainable development and the Green Economy, today committed US$600,000 to this award programme for the three-year period lasting from 2011 – 2013.

Hisense, which was established in 1969 and ranks among the top five electronic manufacturers in China, is also the first Chinese company to sponsor the SEED Award.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, said: "The SEED Award winners are shining examples of what can be achieved through the lens of the Green Economy and with very little in terms of funds but an extraordinary amount of innovation and hard work. The challenge for the coming year, as governments prepare for the crucial Rio+20 conference in 2012, is how to scale-up and accelerate the kinds of transitions that SEED represents. Companies have a lot to gain from partnering with civil society and public sector initiatives in order to catalyze change. Hisense is today demonstrating how its commitment to corporate and social responsibility is evolving, underlining that striving to achieve sustainability in the 21st century is as much a developing country agenda as it should be a developed-country goal."

The goal of SEED is to support the ability of small-scale businesses to scale up or replicate their activities in a way that helps local economies and communities while promoting the sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems and reducing poverty.

Winners of the annual award cover a diverse range of promising business models which tackle poverty and environmental stewardship in areas such as water and waste management, sustainable energy, recycling, and fish farming.

"Hisense is proud to be a global partner in this SEED Award. Protecting the environment is very important for us and for the Green Economy of today and the future," said Cheng Kaixun, Chief Marketing Officer for the Hisense Group.

The SEED Initiative programme was founded by UNEP, UN Development Programme and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa.

For more information, please contact:
Helen Marquard, Executive Director/SEED Initiative, Tel: +44 1420 488 544, Mob: +44 7785 706 646, Email:

Mia Turner, UNEP/Nairobi, Tel. +254-710620495, Email:

Notes to Editors:
About SEED: The SEED Initiative identifies, profiles and supports promising, locally-driven, start-up enterprises working in partnership in developing countries to improve livelihoods, tackle poverty and marginalisation, and manage natural resources sustainably. SEED develops learning resources for the broad community of social and environmental entrepreneurs, informs policy- and decision-makers, and aims to inspire innovative, entrepreneurial approaches to sustainable development.
SEED is a global network founded in 2002 by UNEP, UNDP and IUCN to contribute towards the goals in the UN's Millennium Declaration and the commitments made at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development.
SEED's Partners: The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature); and the governments of Germany, India, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
The 2010 SEED Award winners (by country):
Burkina Faso:
"Manufacture and Popularization of Biomass Briquettes". Aiming to replace wood and charcoal with biomass briquettes from fallen leaves and other sources of unused biomass, this progressive enterprise of local and international NGOs and a research institution helps to combat desertification, create jobs in rural communities and raise awareness for alternative energy sources.
"Initiative for Promoting and Distributing Bio-Pesticides". The initiative's ambitious goal is to promote and distribute ecological pest control for organic crops, especially cotton, vegetable and oil-producing crops. In this way, the partnership of local and community-based organisations and research agencies hopes to increase yields and preserve the production environment.
"SolSource" is a satellite dish-shaped solar device with removable modules that turns its own waste heat into electricity or stores it in thermal fabrics for later use. This novel device, which has been developed by an international social enterprise, research and government institutions, and local organizations, harnesses the sun's energy to provide a portable heat source for cooking and electricity for low-income families at an affordable price.
"BOSQUE HUMEDO BIODIVERSO" is a business initiative headed by a local NGO that uses fruit and pulp as ingredients for the local cosmetics and food industries. The use of non-timber products will reduce deforestation of tropical forests and local families will benefit from collecting value-added goods. This helps develop alternative income sources and promotes the sustainable management of local biodiversity.
"The Shea Economic Empowerment Program (SEEP)". This fruitful partnership centred on a community-based cooperative and international NGOs seeks to improve the livelihoods of women Shea nut producers by offering training, greater ownership within the supply chain and access to improved technology.
"G-lish: Income Generation, Re-Generation, Next Generation". The aim of this remarkable initiative of local NGOs is to provide value-added income for rural communities by crafting baskets from recycled materials. In doing so, they preserve the age-old basket-weaving tradition and carry out extensive tree-planting operations.
"High-value Syrup from 'Prekese' Fruits for Community Livelihood Empowerment". Relying on local raw materials, the partners of this promising initiative strive to establish the sustainable cultivation and harvesting of Prekese fruits in rural communities, allowing income to be generated over the whole life cycle of the tree.
"Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative" is a youth-led, non-profit enterprise committed to the economic empowerment of youth by taking advantage of the abundant bamboo raw materials in Ghana to manufacture and assemble high-quality bamboo bikes - suitable for the road conditions and terrain in Ghana and affordable to the poor.
"DeCo! - Decentralized Composting for Sustainable Farming and Development". The composting firm DeCO! benefits local farmers by producing organic fertiliser in decentralised composting plants following a low-tech approach. By working with local NGOs, government and research institutes, DeCO! aims to inform and educate farmers about the advantages of sustainable soil management.
"Biofuel Production in Promoting Sustainable Land Management". A local NGO in partnership with national research institutions has established a model for rehabilitating degraded community lands, producing food crop and utilising renewable energy through the cultivation and processing of sunflower plants into oil and biodiesel. Their sustainable land management approach also includes bee-keeping.
"Backpack Farm Agriculture Program". This initiative enables food autonomy for rural communities by providing small landholders with a dynamic set of agricultural tools, comprehensive training and monitoring - delivered and distributed in a canvas backpack.
"Papyrus Reeds, Our Future Hope" is a sustainable enterprise that harvests and processes papyrus reeds and crafts them into high-quality baskets, purses, carpets, chairs, sleeping mats and blankets, using the waste as natural manure. Community-based youth organisations and a local research institution implement the initiative.
"Solanterns: Replacing 1 Million Kerosene Lanterns with 1 Million Solar Lanterns". The partners of this innovative initiative are a private company, a local NGO and a microfinance institution that provide economic, environmental and health benefits to both rural and urban households by sourcing and distributing solar lanterns and training youth micro-entrepreneurs.
"Community-Based Medicinal Plant Enterprise for Biodiversity Conservation". This pioneering enterprise initiated by a community-based organisation and national and international government and research institutions generates alternative means of income and awareness for the value of biodiversity within rural communities based on the commercial cultivation and processing of indigenous medicinal plants.
"Village Cereal Aggregation Centres (VCAC)". A local commercial entity has joined forces with the national government, the financial sector and cereal buyers to establish mobile post-harvest management centres in villages - enabling farmers to deliver high-quality grain to the market value chain and encouraging more participation of youth in cereal production.
"EcoPost - Fencing Posts from Recycled Post-Consumer Waste Plastic". International and national NGOs have launched this unique initiative to recycle waste plastic into aesthetic, durable and environmentally-friendly fencing posts and consequently reduce plastic litter on streets and open fields. By providing an alternative fencing material to traditional wood, EcoPost contributes towards the conservation of forests.
"Commercialization of Prosopis Juliflora Products from Affected Areas". A local community-based NGO, the FAO and a Kenyan company and research institute have mobilized efforts to control the undesirable spread of the Prosopis tree by promoting its commercial use as charcoal, timber and pods for livestock feed. The development of a sustainable national market will maximize returns to local communities.
Production and Distribution of Pressurized Biogas in Gas Cylinders". This initiative has been developed by a private company, an international NGO and government organizations to produce and store pressurised biogas for cooking made from urban, domestic and industrial wastes. Environmental benefits are achieved by offering an alternative firing material to firewood and charcoal.
Efficient Charcoal Production and Smoke Recycling". This partnership of international NGOs, government institutions and a reforestation initiative is promoting new technologies to increase the energy output of charcoal. As a result, this significantly reduces the amount of forestland used for the production of charcoal and lessens air pollution by recycling tar and other smoke components.
"Micro Power Economy for Rural Electrification". The goal of this enterprise involving local partners from the private and microfinance sector is to set up a profitable rural power provider based on off-grid power system operation and the utilisation of renewable energy sources, such as wind-solar-diesel hybrid power systems.
FLOWER OF H.O.P.E This pioneering franchising initiative set up by a community-based organisation, international NGOs and research and finance institutions aims to improve agricultural development by training resource-poor community groups to become successful agricultural entrepreneurs, thereby generating more income for local communities.
Kayor Rural Energy, Rural Electrification by Photovoltaic Solar Energy". An outstanding pilot enterprise launched by a community-based organisation that aims to provide solar energy solutions for rural communities. The partnership with microfinance institutions permits KAYER clients to finance their equipment with microcredit adapted to their means.
South Africa:
Resentse Sinqobile Trust Trading as Zondi BuyBack Initiative". A local NGO and government institutions have teamed up to establish this comprehensive buyback centre to recycle, reshape and sell household waste such as cans and plastic. Natural resource protection, the reduction of litter, increased employment opportunities and an educational program are among the impressive results of this initiative.
IziWasha Two social enterprises and a private company have developed this innovative hand-held laundry device to facilitate washing in low-income communities. As the appliance does not rely on electricity or a home water supply, IziWasha significantly cuts water and energy use. A network of female micro-franchisees who distribute the eco-friendly product will directly benefit from the revenues.
Reclaiming Livelihoods - Mooi River Waste Reclaiming". This initiative led by a community-based organization, an international NGO and a government department has a high impact on local waste pickers who earn an income from recycling waste. By formalising the workforce and providing shelter, protective clothes and technical equipment, attractive job opportunities are created.
Amatola Wild Trout Fishery" is the first recreational fly-fishery in South Africa owned and managed by a local community. Set up by a partnership between a NGO and a research institution, the fishery brings a high-end market tourism activity into a rural area, while focusing on skills training and job creation for local people and environmental improvement by sustaining water quality and wild trout populations.
Food & Trees for Africa is a social enterprise addressing the greening of urban areas, climate change and food insecurity by planting trees. Launched by a local and international NGO, government institutions and private businesses, FTFA offers skills training in natural resource management and develops organic permaculture gardens for impoverished communities. The project has also designed a carbon calculator.
"Claire Reid Reel Gardening" provides consumers with a pre-fertilised seed strip that encases seeds at the correct depth and distance apart and offers planting instructions in seven languages. Implemented by a youth organization with assistance from government and social development programmes, the initiative aims to create sustainable subsistence gardens throughout South Africa.
Sri Lanka:
The "Rural Enterprise Network (REN)" aims at linking small-scale farmers to input-output markets through improved product quality, access to market information and the establishment of a common brand. By organizing producers in a network of organic agro- and food processing enterprises, the farmers will benefit from joint marketing services.
"ORIBAGS INNOVATIONS (U) LTD" is a private enterprise initiated by a research institution and local NGO to manufacture hand-made paper bags, printing paper and jewellery from agricultural wastes including wheat straw, elephant grass and other natural fibres. Oribags offers an eco-friendly alternative to polythene bags and empowers women entrepreneurs.

Further Resources
The SEED Initiative