Skoll Foundation

 

EcoPeace Middle East Win: Israeli High Court Denies Request of Israeli Military to Approve Battir Separation Barrier

January 5, 2015 by
 
 
 

Great news from EcoPeace Middle East, which received news coverage from HaaretzAFP and more

From their press release:

January 4, 2015 

Following two years of deliberations, the Israeli High Court of Justice today decided to deny the request of the Israeli military to confirm the legality of the proposed route of the separation barrier that was planned to cut through the unique terraced landscape of Battir.

The case is based on a set of petitions filled by the Palestinian village of Battir, neighboring Israeli residents across the ‘green line’ and the cross border environment organization EcoPeace Middle East (formerly Friends of the Earth Middle East), protesting the proposed building of the Separation Barrier on the site of the ancient terraced landscape of Battir.

Nader Khateeb, Palestinian Director of EcoPeace Middle East said: “This is an important win not only for Battir but for cross border cooperation between like- minded Palestinians and Israelis who have worked together for so many years. Trust building is a very powerful way to build peace and prevent building concrete barriers. This helped maximize constructive international attention to our cause. Together we undertook research to strengthen our case. Together we helped create political will that led to UNESCO registration of the Battir site. Together we were able to reveal that the security imperative claimed by the Israeli military to be hollow.”

The head of the local council of the village of Battir, Engineer Akram Bader, was relieved to hear of this decision, saying “great efforts at all levels were made to defend the rights of our peoples, of nature and its beautiful scenery”.

Gidon Bromberg, Israeli Director of EcoPeace Middle East stated, “The Battir landscape managed to survive 4000 years of various conquests. The High Court decision today opens the New Year 2015 with Battir symbolizing a beacon of hope for a better future in our region.”

Learn more: http://www.skollfoundation.org/friends-of-the-earth-middle-east-helps-a-city-become-a-world-heritage-site/

http://www.skollfoundation.org/friends-of-the-earth-middle-east-helps-preserve-heritage-and-agricultural-site/

 

Gawad Kalinga Has Built More than 2,000 Houses Since Typhoon Haiyan

December 8, 2014 by
 
 
 

With the recent Typhoon Hagupit in the central Philippines this weekend, we thought it would be a good time to share some of the current impact of Skoll Awardee Gawad Kalinga (GK) after last year’s Typhoon Haiyan.

To date, GK has:
  • 2,923 houses funded, of which 70% are under construction or completed. They expect to start the rest by January 2015 and their goal is to raise funds and build 3,000 houses more by end of 2015.
  • 3,652 kids eating nutritious meals daily through the “Kusina ng Kalinga” anti-hunger program piloted in Alang-alang, Leyte.  They intend to open 10 more kitchens that will serve 6,000 kids more by year end, and address hunger for 50,000 children by end of 2015.
  • 797 Balangay boats distributed across the fishing communities of the Visayan islands; their goal is to build 700 boats more by June, 2015.
  • 1.7 Million volunteers for Bayani Challenge 2014 mobilized to bring hope and a clear message of Walang Iwanan in Haiyan-affected areas; they continue to encourage volunteers to sustain these efforts, with the goal of involving 6,000 barangays by June, 2015.

Learn more: http://gk1world.com/typhoon-yolanda

 

Mark Plotkin’s TEDGlobal Talk Now on TED.com

November 24, 2014 by
 
 
 

Starting today, you can watch Mark Plotkin’s TEDGlobal 2014: South! talk, which he gave in Rio last month. Mark is a scientist who works in the rainforest to document how people use local plants, and is the co-founder of Amazon Conservation Team (ACT). ACT is dedicated to preserving South American rainforests and works with local indigenous communities to devise and implement its conservation strategies.

An excerpt from Mark’s TED talk:

“The shaman looked me in the face, smiled, and said, ‘Take off your shoe and give me your machete!’ He walked over to a palm tree and carved off a fern, threw it in the fire, applied the fern to my foot, threw it in a pot of water, and had me drink the tea.  The pain disappeared for seven months. When it came back, I went to see him again. He gave me the same treatment and I’ve been cured for three years now. Who would you rather be treated by?”

[Later in the talk, he says, to roaring applause]:

“We introduce technology to the contacted tribes, not the uncontacted tribes, in a culturally sensitive way. This is the perfect marriage of ancient shamanic wisdom and 21st-century technology. We’ve done this now with over 30 tribes. Mapped, managed, and increased protection of over 70 million acres of ancestral rainforest. This allows the Indians to take control of their environmental and cultural destiny.”

(We should note, doing so has laid the groundwork for the eventual protection of those lands by providing the basis for forest management plans designed by the very people who inhabit them, with 38 million of those acres already better monitored against illegal incursions).

Watch the talk at TED.com, and learn more about Mark in this recent interview.

 

 

How A ‘Small But Mighty’ Team Of Googlers Is Using Maps To Save People And The Planet

November 10, 2014 by
 
 

Today we’re sharing a Business Insider feature on how the Surui tribe is working with Google Earth to identify (and stop) deforestation in the Amazon. An excerpt:

“Over the last six years, Google Earth Outreach and Google Earth Engine — two initiatives founded and led by a computer scientist named Rebecca Moore — have helped the Surui create cultural maps and record instances of illegal logging on their land. Through Google Earth Engine, they built a real-time alerting system that will notify the tribe whenever suspicious images show up on Google Earth. They can then go investigate and take photos and videos to upload to Google Earth and use to provide as evidence to law enforcement.” Read the rest: http://www.businessinsider.com/rebecca-moore-google-earth-outreach-and-engine-2014-10#ixzz3IgTULwNS

Learn more about the Surui and the partnership: http://www.skollfoundation.org/washington-post-highlights-some-of-the-work-of-our-amazon-corridors-project/

 

First-of-its-Kind Report Ranks U.S. Insurance Companies on Climate Change Responses

October 22, 2014 by
 
 
 

Big news from Ceres today, which got coverage in the New York Times, Bloomberg, Reuters and others. Read the stories in the NY Times: Insurers Retreat from Weather-Related Disasters; Bloomberg: Munich Re Among Insurers Set for Climate Risk, Ceres Says and Reuters: U.S. insurance firms failing to address climate change risk – report

The press release:

Only Nine of 330 Insurers Get High Grades; The Hartford, Prudential, Munich Re and Allianz Are Among Top Scorers

Amid growing evidence that climate change is having wide-ranging global impacts that will worsen in the years ahead, a new report from Ceres ranks the nation’s 330 largest insurance companies on what they are saying and doing to respond to escalating climate risks. The report found strong leadership among fewer than a dozen companies but generally poor responses among the vast majority.

The report, Insurer Climate Risk Disclosure Survey Report & Scorecard: 2014 Findings & Recommendations, ranks property & casualty, health and life & annuity insurers that represent about 87 percent of the total US insurance market. The companies were ranked on a half-dozen climate related indicators, including governance, risk management, investment strategies, greenhouse gas management and public engagement (such as their climate policy positions.) The report is based on company disclosures last year in response to a climate risk survey developed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

“Despite being on the ‘front line’ of climate risks, most of the company responses show a profound lack of preparedness in addressing climate-related risks and opportunities,” said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, a nonprofit sustainability advocacy group. “A big positive in the report’s findings is the strong leadership among a small number of property & casualty insurers – a trend that needs to become far more mainstream if the industry is to accelerate global responses to this colossal threat.”

Read the rest: http://www.ceres.org/press/press-releases/first-of-its-kind-report-ranks-u.s.-insurance-companies-on-climate-change-responses

 

Investigation Shows Massive Laundering of Illegal Timber

October 17, 2014 by
 
 
 

Brazil is laundering illegal timber on a ‘massive and growing scale,’ according to a new Greenpeace investigation published in The Guardian and other media. Skoll Awardee Imazon’s data was used as part of the evidence. An excerpt from The Guardian, which said that illegally logged timber is being sold on to buyers in the UK, US, Europe and China:

“Estimates of the scale of the problem are based on satellite date analysis by Imazon. Using publicly available images, the organisation traces the degree of degradation of key areas in the Amazon, estimates the amount of timber felled in unauthorised areas and then compares this with official figures for timber sales. According to Paulo Barreto of Imazon, the situation is rapidly getting worse. He says the area illegally logged increased by 151% in Pará and by 63% in Mato Grosso between 2011 and 2012. Greenpeace says this data and the findings of their investigation point to alarming gaps in the government’s control system.”

Read the details and see maps: http://greenpeaceblogs.org/2014/10/15/using-gps-trackers-forest-crimes-unit-exposes-amazon-timber-smuggling/?_ga=1.30915327.1118087952.1413575617

Earlier this month, Adalberto Verissimo of Imazon was quoted in the New York Times story, “Clashing Visions of Conservation Shake Brazil’s Presidential Vote”:

Adalberto Veríssimo, a researcher at Imazon, a Brazilian institute that uses satellite imagery to track deforestation, said he expected the deforestation rate to climb about 5 percent from 2013 to 2014.

“We’re witnessing an increase in speculative deforestation and forest destruction for the government’s own infrastructure projects,” Mr. Veríssimo said. “There’s been a rearrangement of priorities, with the Amazon targeted for massive investments. Naturally this opens the way for new deforestation.”

 

 

 

New Report: Illegal Land Clearing for Commercial Agriculture Responsible for Half of Tropical Deforestation

September 22, 2014 by
 
 
 

Exports from Illegal Conversion Worth US$61 Billion and Responsible for 25 Percent of Tropical Deforestation; Brazil’s and Indonesia’s Illegal Land Clearance Highest in the World 

A comprehensive new analysis released earlier this month says that nearly half (49%) of all recent tropical deforestation is the result of illegal clearing for commercial agriculture. The study also finds that around half of this illegal destruction was driven by overseas demand for agricultural commodities including palm oil, beef, soy, and wood products. In addition to devastating impacts on forest-dependent people and biodiversity, the illegal conversion of tropical forests for commercial agriculture is estimated to produce 1.47 gigatonnes of carbon each year—equivalent to 25% of the EU’s annual fossil fuel-based emissions.

“We’ve known that the production of agricultural commodities is a principal driving force behind deforestation, but this is the first report to show the outsize role that illegal activities play in the production of hundreds of food and household products consumed worldwide,” said Michael Jenkins, President and CEO of Forest Trends, a Washington-based NGO that published the report. “Increased agricultural production will be necessary for food security and to meet the demand of the emerging global middle class. However, the world must also wake up to the scale of how much of this agricultural production is taking place on land that has been illegally cleared. Urgent action is needed to help countries where these agricultural products are being grown, both for governments to enforce their own laws and regulations, and for businesses aiming to produce commodities legally and sustainably.”

According to the study, Consumer Goods and Deforestation: An Analysis of the Extent and Nature of Illegality in Forest Conversion for Agriculture, 90% of the deforestation in Brazil from 2000 to 2012 was illegal, primarily due to the failure to conserve a percentage of natural forests in large-scale cattle and soy plantations, as required by Brazilian law. (Much of this occurred prior to 2004, when the Brazilian government took steps to successfully reduce deforestation.) And in the forests of Indonesia, 80% of deforestation was illegal—mostly for large-scale plantations producing palm oil and timber, 75% of which is exported.

While other countries also experience high levels of illegal deforestation, Brazil and Indonesia produce the highest level of agricultural commodities destined for global markets, many of which wind up in cosmetics or household goods (palm oil), animal feed (soy), and packaging (wood products). Read the rest: http://www.forest-trends.org/illegal-deforestation.php

 

World’s Leading Institutional Investors Managing $24 Trillion Call for Carbon Pricing, Ambitious Global Climate Deal

September 18, 2014 by
 
 
 

Blackrock, CalPERS, PensionDanmark, Deutsche, South African GEPF, Australian CFSGAM, Cathay Financial Holdings among 348 investors urging heads of state to take strong action on climate 

Days before UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon convenes the Climate Summit at the United Nations to spur climate action and facilitate a global climate agreement in 2015, nearly 350 global institutional investors representing over $24 trillion in assets have called on government leaders to provide stable, reliable and economically meaningful carbon pricing that helps redirect investment commensurate with the scale of the climate change challenge, as well as develop plans to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels.

“Gaps, weaknesses and delays in climate change and clean energy policies will increase the risks to our investments as a result of the physical impacts of climate change, and will increase the likelihood that more radical policy measures will be required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said the statement – the largest of its kind by global investors on climate change. “Stronger political leadership and more ambitious policies are needed in order for us to scale up our investments.”

According to the International Energy Agency, the world must invest at least an additional $1 trillion per year – a Clean Trillion – into clean energy by 2050 if we have any hope of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius and avoiding the worst impacts of climate change on our environment, health and the global economy. Yet global investment in clean energy was just $254 billion in 2013.

The statement recognizes the role investors play in financing clean energy, outlines the specific steps they are committing to take, and calls on policymakers to take action that supports, rather than limits, investments in clean energy and climate solutions. It was coordinated by the four investor groups on climate change – Ceres’ Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) in the United States, the European Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), the Investors Group on Climate Change (IGCC) in Australia and New Zealand, and the Asia Investor Group on Climate Change (AIGCC) – with the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). read more

 

Mindy Lubber on Clean Transportation, Clean Energy Investments and Green Bonds

September 16, 2014 by
 
 
 

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is hosting the Climate Summit to engage leaders and advance climate action and ambition on Sept. 23. Mindy Lubber of Ceres, who will attend, wrote three columns looking ahead.  The Summit will serve as a public platform for high-level leaders.

In The Huffington Post, she said clean transportation is driving us toward a low-carbon future:

“Making cars and trucks dramatically more efficient and developing alternatives to petroleum is a sea change. It is an epic transformation along the lines of switching from the horse and buggy to the horseless carriage, or from landlines to smart phones. Entrepreneurs, investors, and corporations are sniffing out opportunities. Bets are being placed. Fortunes will be made. And we need to be doing even more.”

In the Christian Science Monitor, she said investments in clean energy pay off:

“Nationally, electric sector investments in energy efficiency have steadily risen over the past five years to $7.2 billion in 2013. They are generating returns of $3 to $4 for every dollar invested. A comparable expenditure for renewable energy investments is harder to find because the data isn’t reported, but recent research by Ceres shows that renewable energy sales averaged about 5 percent of total sales for the country’s 32 largest power providers.”

In The Guardian, she said “green bonds might sound dull but they’re a vital weapon against climate change:”

“It’s now clearer than ever that green bonds, which provide capital for clean energy projects with a promised return on investment, make good business sense. Investors are buying up green bonds at a blistering pace. More than $20bn in green bonds have been issued in 2014 and the Climate Bond Initiative, an investor-focused nonprofit group, expects the market will hit $40bn by year’s end. That’s a 20-fold jump from the $2bn of green bonds issued in 2012. It’s a green win all around.”

 

 

 

 

 

Mark Plotkin Featured in Times-Picayune

September 12, 2014 by
 
 
 

The Times-Picayune of New Orleans just profiled Mark Plotkin of Amazon Conservation Team. The piece talks about how “growing up, Plotkin never imagined he would one day become an ethnobotanist, studying the ways Indians used the plants that grew around them. ‘How could I?’ I never knew there was such a thing,’ he said.”

It talks about the defining moment that changed all that, and later led to the founding of the Amazon Conservation Team and all his success. It ends with Mark’s humor.

An excerpt:

“In 1996, he and his wife, Liliana Madrigal, cofounded the nonprofit Amazon Conservation Team to protect biological and cultural diversity in the tropical rain forest, and started the program Shamans and Apprentices, which helps medicine men share their priceless knowledge with young members of their tribes. Nearly two decades later, the program is flourishing.

‘It’s not just working, it’s thriving,’ he said. ‘I’m immensely proud of that.’ Plotkin has led a remarkable life. He has degrees from Harvard and Yale, and a doctorate in biological conservation from Tufts University. In 1998, he starred in the IMAX film ‘Amazon.’ He has won numerous awards, and in 2005, for Smithsonian magazine’s 35th anniversary issue, he was picked as one of ’35 Who Made a Difference,’ along with such luminaries as Bill Gates and Wynton Marsalis…

In recent years, the Amazon Conservation Team has put together a partnership between Google Earth and 33 tribes, mapping their land — 70 million acres of tropical rain forest — in an effort to establish their ownership rights and protect the land from loggers.”

Read the rest: http://www.nola.com/homegarden/index.ssf/2014/09/ethnobotanist_mark_plotkin_a_n.html

 

 

New IPS Amazonia Website Maps Social Progress in the Brazilian Amazon

August 26, 2014 by
 
 

We recently shared that conservation of the Brazilian Amazon is threatened by the poor social conditions of its people. That’s the summary of the Social Progress Index for the Brazilian Amazon, published by the Brazilian nonprofit Imazon in partnership with the global nonprofit Social Progress Imperative.

The report measured the social progress of the people living within 772 municipalities and nine states of the Brazilian Amazon. It found that people living there face huge challenges in almost every measure of social progress.

The Social Progress Index built for the Brazilian Amazon combined globally relevant indicators, such as maternal mortality rates, access to piped water, and secondary school enrolment, with customized indicators adapted to the local context, such as deforestation rates, malaria incidence, child and teenage pregnancies, and violence against indigenous people.

This news has been covered by dozens of publications, from Thomson Reuters to the Global Post to Globo. 

Now, the new IPS Amazonia data web site is online, complete with interactive maps and scorecards for each of 772 municipalities across 43 indicators. It shows very clearly that economic development and social progress are not the same.

Learn more at http://progressosocial.org

 

Video: Tony Meloto Talks About Nation-Building after Typhoon Haiyan

August 14, 2014 by
 
 

November’s massive typhoon in the Philippines left behind much destruction. Gawad Kalinga was there immediately. Now, chairman and founder Tony Meloto shares their success in an interview with Rappler.com: Gawad Kalinga mobilized 1.6 volunteers who helped build 1,200 homes, repaired 339 roofs, and gave 613 boats to fishermen by July 2014. By December, GK’s goal is to rebuild 6,000 homes, repair 1,500 roofs and donate 1,500 boats.

“It’s the greatness of the human spirit that we need to unleash,” Tony said in the interview. “And there’s so much of that. So when we see this great devastation, we also see great opportunities for us to be transcendent above our own needs and just rise together.”

Listen to the rest above.

 

 

Jockin Arputham Profiled in one of India’s Largest Business Newspapers

August 11, 2014 by
 
 
 

Mint, a business paper from the Hindustan Times in association with The Wall Street Journal, just published a long profile of Jockin Arputham. The piece covered everything from Jockin’s early life to his unique ways of getting local governments to listen. And of course, it mentioned his Nobel Peace Prize nomination. An excerpt:

“Most of the time, Arputham, or “Jockin sir”, as the slum dwellers of Mumbai call him, is every bit a Dharavi man—astute, resourceful and intrepid. Since the 1970s, he has been the voice of Mumbai’s urban poor that successive governments have not been able to ignore. He has made the slum dweller’s life visible in this overpowering, forgetful city. He has guerrilla tactics for “no eviction without alternative” drives—holding on to a stay order till eviction is about to start, causing the police inconvenience; sending unwashed women in a large group to police stations so the officers on duty listen to them quickly and let them go; camouflaging his small frame behind dupattas and saris of women to avoid police arrest; and gathering thousands together to paralyse streets. On paper, Arputham has been arrested more than 50 times…But that alone ought not to have got Arputham the Padma Shri and Ramon Magsaysay awards—both gleaming on a shelf at his Dharavi office—and the Nobel Peace Prize nomination. It has been reported that the Swedish minister for public administration and housing presented his nomination and, so far, he has the support of ministers from Norway, South Africa and Brazil.” 

Read more at: http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/PIbnK6GqJwvL8fjhvahuSK/Jockin-Arputham–Light-from-the-matchbox.html?utm_source=copy

 

How Three Villages in Tanzania Became Solar Electrified

June 16, 2014 by
 
 
 

Six illiterate women recently became solar engineers through Barefoot College—and now, three villages in Tanzania are solar electrified. Their story is in the Inter Press Service. An excerpt:

“Just over a year ago, homes in the village of Chekeleni were dark after sunset. Today they are filled with light from solar lamps as women bustle around cooking and children do their homework near the glowing lamps. At least 200 households now have their own solar installations for lighting and other electrical needs.

Six women have brought this light to three remote southern Tanzanian villages in the Mtwara and Lindi districts. They are among the 25 illiterate, rural mothers, many of them also grandmothers, from four African countries who were trained at the Barefoot College in Tilonia in the northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan, to install and maintain solar energy panels.

The programme was part of the 2011 ‘Rural Women Light up Africa’ initiative, a partnership between UN Women and the Barefoot College.”

Read the rest: http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/06/mothers-light-up-homes-in-rural-tanzania/

 

Skoll Foundation Applauds Stanford’s Decision to Divest from Coal Companies

May 7, 2014 by
 
 

Stanford University just announced it will not make direct investments in coal mining companies (it now has an $18.7 billion endowment of stock in these companies), and The Skoll Foundation applauds this decision. The New York Times noted that this makes Stanford the first major university to support the nationwide campaign to “purge endowments and pension funds of fossil fuel investments.”

Here’s more from the Stanford Report:

“Acting on a recommendation of Stanford’s Advisory Panel on Investment Responsibility and Licensing, the Board of Trustees announced that Stanford will not make direct investments in coal mining companies. The move reflects the availability of alternate energy sources with lower greenhouse gas emissions than coal. The Stanford University Board of Trustees has decided to not make direct investments of endowment funds in coal-mining companies. Stanford University will not make direct investments of endowment funds in publicly traded companies whose principal business is the mining of coal for use in energy generation, the Stanford Board of Trustees decided today.”

Read the rest: http://news.stanford.edu/news/2014/may/divest-coal-trustees-050714.html

 

Ceres Responds to Somber New Report on Climate Change

May 6, 2014 by
 
 

Today, a new report showed that “the effects of human-induced climate change are being felt in every corner of the United States, with water growing scarcer in dry regions, torrential rains increasing in wet regions, heat waves becoming more common and more severe, wildfires growing worse, and forests dying under assault from heat-loving insects,” according to the New York Times.

Skoll Awardee Ceres released this statement:

“Today’s report is a stark reminder of the urgency for expanding our efforts to curb the carbon pollution that is impacting every stretch of the United States, from extreme precipitation and flooding in the northeast, to drought, water scarcity and wildfires in the southwest. We simply can no longer afford to risk our children’s futures on the false hope that the vast majority of scientists are wrong. read more

 

Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson on Climate Change: Who Will Lead?

April 22, 2014 by
 
 

The Elders have published a blog by Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson, Climate change: who will lead?, urging youth to mobilize ahead of the Paris climate conference in December 2015. An excerpt:

“With the latest warnings delivered by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) over the past few weeks, no world leader will ever be able to claim that they were caught off-guard by climate change.

As former heads of state ourselves, we’ve experienced global crises from within the corridors of power. Some may take the world by surprise, but sometimes the warning signals are such that there is no excuse not to act. The IPCC report is such a signal.

The report of Working Group II of the IPCC is the most sobering assessment, to date, of the risks posed to humanity by climate change, describing a range of threats in a clear yet measured tone. Around the world, people’s crops and homes are in danger already. This will only get worse if nothing is done. Economic shocks and worsening poverty, exacerbated by a warming planet, will also increase the risk of armed conflict. It is the world’s poorest who are the most vulnerable. The report does not dictate exact scenarios but tells us, with unprecedented authority, what we must be ready for.

For this reason, it is a compelling call to action for governments. We hope it can trigger decisive action – notably on greenhouse gas emission reduction and financing for climate adaptation – on the road to December 2015, when world leaders will meet at a major conference in Paris to agree a new climate deal.

This week we are coming to Paris, as Elders, to help build momentum towards this deadline. It is difficult to overstate the importance of this process. Climate change ignores national borders. Multilateral negotiations remain the best approach for the world to reach a comprehensive solution. We are calling for a robust, fair, universal, and legally-binding agreement in Paris in 2015.”

Read the rest: http://theelders.org/article/climate-change-who-will-lead

 

Simon Taylor, Charmian Gooch, and Patrick Alley

March 4, 2014 by
 
 

“We all face a world of increasing demand for scarce resources. This could mean more conflict, more corruption, and the destruction of people’s livelihoods. But there is a choice before us, and together we can change such a grim future. We hope to work to shine a more powerful light on the shadow system to put an end to the kind of business practices that often make resources a curse instead of a blessing.”

Sub-Issues: Arresting Deforestation; Human Rights; Responsible Supply Chains Powerful and corrupt exploiters of natural resources often funnel the proceeds into war, conflict, and human rights abuses, in the absence of transparency and regulation in international trade systems.

The Skoll Awardees: Patrick Alley, Charmian Gooch, and Simon Taylor, co-founders and directors of Global Witness, met while working for an environmental organization, and discovered a shared horror in what was happening in the forests of Cambodia, where Khmer Rouge rebels were financing murderous campaigns by clearing forests and selling timber to Thai companies. They posed as buyers to document and expose the traffic, and succeeded in shutting it down. They founded Global Witness to act as a credible investigator, uncovering problems that exist at the intersection of conflict, corruption, and natural resource exploitation. Their investigations follow the money – where it comes from, where it goes – to spotlight the drivers of environmental destruction and uncover paths to combat corruption in the extractive sector and international financial systems. They seek to unmask anonymous companies set up to hide the identities of perpetrators and profit seekers. GW campaigns engage media, governments, civil society, and international bodies to end the vicious cycles of illegal trade, corruption, and violence. Its Publish What You Pay Campaign is a global movement for transparency. At the time of the Award, GW had made major contributions to exposing illicit trade in conflict diamonds, minerals, oil and gas, and land use; bringing down the Charles Taylor government in Liberia, and to the global movements driving change in global governance systems. Two-thirds of the world’s oil, gas, and mining companies (measured by value) were covered by laws that require transparency about the payments they make.

Impact since joining the portfolio in 2014:

  • In March 2014, Global Witness announced a TED “wish” to end anonymous companies. Queen Elizabeth shortly thereafter announced her government’s intention to introduce legislation establishing a public register of company ownership. It was enacted and finalized in March 2015. The EU Parliament has also voted in favor of public registries.

    

LEARN MORE ABOUT THEIR WORK:

 

Jay Coen Gilbert, Bart Houlahan and Andrew Kassoy

March 4, 2014 by
 
 

“We noticed an increasing number of social and environmental entrepreneurs who were trying to use business to solve social and environmental problems. Now, they are part of a community that shares one unifying goal, which is to redefine success in business. If they can do that, one day all companies will compete not only to be the best in the world, but the best for the world.”

Sub-Issues: Clean Energy, Responsible Supply Chains, Standards, Water Management Almost half of the world’s wealth is controlled by one percent of the population. The private business sector, for the most part, is an engine that creates wealth for a very few, while externalizing costs to many.

The Skoll Awardees: Believing that the private sector can and must be a force for good, a force for solving the problems of the world and not for creating them or making them worse, B Lab creates a blueprint for business in the 21st century. Jay Coen Gilbert, Bart Houlahan and Andrew Kassoy, who founded B Lab in 2006, were longtime friends who had lived together at Stanford. They had worked in businesses committed to serving a double or triple bottom line, valuing social and environmental benefits along with profits, and experienced the frustration of working within a legal system that made this well-nigh impossible by recognizing the rights of shareholders, including their right to insist on maximizing profits, as paramount. B Lab exists to enable double and triple bottom line businesses to take advantage of a new legal form, the benefit corporation, that makes it possible to balance shareholder value with social benefit. It supports those businesses and promotes their success through corporate certification and enhancing their access to capital. At the time of the Award, there were about 1,000 certified B corporations around the world.

Impact since joining the portfolio in 2014:

  • As of early 2015, there are more than 1,200 B Corporations.

    

LEARN MORE ABOUT THEIR WORK:

 

Jockin Arputham

March 4, 2014 by
 
 

 “Cities are livable because slum dwellers are there, cleaning the garbage, cleaning the toilets, working as servants. Many middle class people can go to work because slum dwellers take care of their children. Instead of talking about slum-free cities, let’s talk about slum-friendly cities. The poor will work together to change the city.”

Sub-Issues: Financial Services; Living Conditions; Sanitation

More than a billion people live in slums, and are routinely excluded from the economies and political structures of the surrounding cities.

The Skoll Awardee: Often called the “grandfather” of the global slum dwellers movement, Jockin Arputham was educated by the slums, living on the streets for much of his childhood. After working as a carpenter in Mumbai, he became involved in organizing his community. In the 1970s, founded the National Slum Dwellers Federation of India, and later, helped to found Slum Dwellers International (SDI) so that federations of slum and shack dwellers in more than 20 countries could support and learn from each other. Federations share information on how to organize; how to engage in participatory planning; how to ensure women’s involvement in community participation, savings and credit; and how to access water and sanitation.  SDI works to have slums recognized as vibrant, resourceful, and dignified communities — equal partners with governments and international organizations in the creation of inclusive cities. At the time of the Award, it had programs in nearly 500 cities, including more than 15,000 slum dweller-managed savings groups reaching one million people; and 20 agreements with national governments. It had helped nearly 130,000 families secure land rights.

Impact since joining the portfolio in 2014:

  • 14 million people currently participating in 15,716 savings groups.
  • Number of settlements profiled is now 10,258, with 4,117 complete enumerations.

   

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