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Now Available: Summary of Roundtable on "Managing Social Responsibility Challenges to Business in Less Developed Nations"

A Summary of the WEC Roundtable entitled "Managing Social Responsibility Challenges to Business in Less Developed Nations," hosted by Merck KGaA, June 27-28, 2011, in Mainz, Germany is now available.

Download the full summary here.


When doing business in less developed countries global companies face additional challenges such as extreme poverty, child labor, insufficient infrastructure, weak and often corrupt governance structures, low enforcement of the law as well as a lack of cultural and regional understanding. Under these circumstances, it is difficult for global companies to implement their sustainability commitments across all areas of their operations. To address these challenges, the Roundtable was structured into five parts and covered experiences from countries in Africa, Asia and South America:

a. Understanding the additional sustainability challenges for business in less developed nations.

b. Exploring a sustainable business model including sustainable sourcing strategies across the entire business.

c. Securing ethical standards under weak legal frameworks within the boundaries of a company’s influence.

d. Minimizing the negative impact of business operations on local communities while maximizing the benefits.

e. Practical solutions for managing social responsibility on the ground – access to medicine and water.


The Roundtable was structured to provide a highly interactive process of discussion amongst 22 sustainability experts   from five countries. 64% of participants came from WEC member companies, 9% from non-member companies, and    27% from academia and NGOs discussing experiences from countries in Africa, Asia and South America.

Major Discussion Points:

(1)   Within global companies, sustainability conversations (especially those focused on social responsibility) are frequently too narrowly focused.  This occurs at a time when human rights issues are increasingly used by stakeholders as a normative framework for the social aspects of sustainable development.  Successful companies are taking into account the inter-related scientific, psychological and socio-political realities they encounter in specific countries.

(2)   Sustainable sourcing is hampered by the lack of global standards or weak national standards.  Companies must use existing standards and develop their own company codes and practices.  These efforts must be supplemented by joint initiatives with competitors (consistent with anti-trust laws); partnerships with international organizations such as NGOs and multi-lateral institutions; and strategies whose aim is to obtain alignment across specific value chains.  In trying to elevate global supply chain standards and reduce the number of suppliers in order to minimize business risks and costs, companies need to be mindful of other consequences (e.g. impacts on child labor, substitution of greenhouse gases).

(3)    Social responsibility is expanding the boundaries for corporate actions and motivating companies to respond in areas where government is failing.  In the case of child labor in global companies’ supply chains, the Roundtable addressed best practices such as: a zero tolerance policy for child labor; constructing and maintaining educational facilities that provide children with an alternative to work; extending micro-credit to women to eliminate poverty; and maintaining rigorous monitoring and verification of on-going programs and results.

(4)   Innovative institution-building is an important part of successful sustainability strategies.  Key factors to success in delivering goods and services to underserved customers in emerging markets include designing the appropriate business model; regarding people not as aid recipients but as customers; developing appropriate market pricing and time-to-market strategies; creating decentralized partnerships with communities; developing on-the-ground knowledge of local conditions; and ensuring service reliability.  There are a growing number of innovative institutions that integrate global companies, international lending bodies, government agencies and venture capital firms together with the capability to deliver products and services.

(5)    An effective starting point for combating corruption is to gain knowledge about communities and people, such as identifying the most corruptible points in a community, a company and an NGO, and understanding if earnings for business partners provide for a living wage.

Download the full summary.

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WEC President & CEO Terry F. Yosie Delivers Keynote Address at 2011 US—China Green Development Symposium

WEC President & CEO Terry F. Yosie delivered a Keynote Address on “Building Sustainable Markets to Global Scale” at The US-China Green Development Symposium at The World Bank, June 10, 2011.

Washington, DC - June 13, 2011 - World Environment Center President & CEO Terry F. Yosie, in a major address on key disruptive forces in the global economy, presented a four-point set of recommendations for expanding the speed and scale of progress to grow global markets for sustainable products and develop more collaborative approaches to innovation.

Stating that “we in the sustainability community continue to look at issues primarily through a single lens—water, energy, climate, transportation, or food,” Dr. Yosie called for the development of new forms of collaboration where traditional boundaries across the private sector, government and NGO communities become less relevant. Specific recommendations included:

  • Engineer the benefits into the products so they become self evident. Rather than expect consumers to have a conversion experience prompting them to purchase higher priced greener products, a more effective approach is for companies to design energy efficiency, recyclability, fewer natural resources, and other sustainability criteria directly into the product at the same time as they improve quality, performance and price.

  • Global companies must take responsibility for their value chains. Few institutions are as well positioned as the global corporation to bring more order and structure to economic relationships that can simultaneously advance global sustainability standards while providing affordable goods and services.

  • Develop new forms of co-creation and collaboration to achieve global scale in sustainability initiatives. Co-creators of value are business partners, non-governmental organizations, governmental agencies, universities and individual families who are sources of new ideas for new products that can expand the infrastructure for renewable energy technologies, create closed looped systems, and foster greater competition with non-sustainable products in the marketplace.

  • Get the leaders and the experts in the same room. The goal is not to assemble all of the technical knowledge at the same time but, rather, to recognize that all of the major players—businesses, policymakers, NGOs, and consumers—must be part of the same system-wide conversation in the same room with a bias for converting their agreements into action over time.

These recommendations were delivered with the understanding that disruptive global changes will continue to “intervene and periodically undermine our best efforts to create a more sustainable and just world,” Dr. Yosie said.  He concluded: “The real risk is not that these disruptive developments will occur. It is that our responses to them will be inadequate. It’s time to co-create the future.”  These recommendations were presented at the 2011 US—China Green Development Symposium hosted by The World Bank.

Click here to read Dr. Yosie's full keynote speech.

Press release

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10 Perspectives on the Future of Water

WEC Board Members and other industry and NGO leaders share their perspectives on water in this article by Tilde Herrera, published June 8, 2011, on

Water today is cheap, poorly managed and becoming increasingly scarce, and what is already a complex issue is only going to get more complicated as the global population continues to swell and the world's aging infrastructure gets older.

Similar to the challenges facing us with climate change, action on water scarcity is torturously slow. But unlike climate change, water shortages are a near-term life-or-death situation. The good news is that the battle isn't going unfought.

On Tuesday, Dow Chemical Co. brought together 60 of the world's leading water experts for a free, fast-moving virtual conference that explored the past, present and future of the global water challenge as part of its The Future We Create initiative. Sixty representatives from industry, academia, nonprofits and other thought leaders each offered back-to-back one-minute messages about water as it relates to people and businesses.

"The key to solving our biggest challenges lies at the intersection of science, collaboration and human ingenuity," Mary Jo Piper, Dow Chemical's public affairs manager, said in an email. "Collaboration is critical -- it requires human interactions and productive conversations based on mutual respect. That's why Dow created The Future We Create conference series -- to provide a meeting ground for leading-edge thinkers and curious minds to learn, share and act for a better future for us all."

We'd be remiss if we didn't ask the question: Is Dow the right company to talk about the future of water? The company has had its own water-related issues, including a dioxin clean-up near its headquarters and lawsuits alleging water contamination. While the company wouldn't comment on pending litigation, it did note that technology from its Water and Processing Solutions unit is being used to produce 22 million cubic meters of water daily around the world. It has also managed to reduce water consumption at its biggest production site by a billion gallons a year, which is fairly impressive by any measure.

In any case, the virtual conference included a wealth of interesting information. Below are some memorable quotes that caught my attention from the program, which is still available online:

• "Water is cheap right now, relatively speaking; it's not going to stay that way. It's not plentiful; it is not going to become more plentiful. The time for companies to act is when it's less expensive to act, versus more expensive to act. Companies that have invested in water technologies include Khosla, Kleiner, DMJ -- huge corporations out there. I think all of this activity bodes well for the future of water and our ability to handle our water challenges, though there is a long way to go." -- Lara Abrams, founder of Lara Abrams Communication

• "An average American uses more than twice as the amount of water as the average person uses in Hamburg, Germany; Rotterdam, Holland; and Barcelona, Spain. Similarly, from India to the Gulf countries, per capita water use is two to three times that of the cities which have more efficient water use." -- Asit Biswas, president, The Third World Center for Water Management

• "One of the things I've learned is that very few places know exactly how much water they've got with any accuracy. It's really difficult to make good investment decisions if you don't know how much water you've got to put into those investments. What we are seeing though is a massive change in the way people are engaging with their resources and their governments because of new technologies." -- Julia Bucknall, Water Unit manager, World Bank

• "An example of innovation could be Bolivia, where there's a village where they have these special mushrooms. They're sort of like a truffle that grows under pine trees. They found that if they add some fermented urine to them that the mushrooms will grow much faster. This is a great market, it's an existing market and this is an innovation that they developed locally. What we're trying to do is use that demand for urine as a reason to build a toilet. So we're finding some really interesting ways to build on local innovations to solve sanitation problems." -- Susan Davis, chief partnership officer, Water for People

• "I've found the biggest enemies of progress in the water sector are two things: turf and inertia. This leads to big anomalies in the water sector. For example, water is the biggest user of energy. That hasn't been widely known until recently ... What we need to do is step back and look at the opportunities created by these anomalies. -- F. Henry Habicht III, managing partner, SAIL Capital Partners

• "Let me give you a sense of what water stress means on a very human level. Half of all hospital beds around the world are filled with people with waterborne diseases." -- Lisa Nash, CEO, Blue Planet Network

• "Indoors, fix all leaks and take shorter showers. You can also use water-saving devices, include high-efficiency toilets, shower heads, aerators, washing machines and dishwashers. You can find even greater water savings outdoors. Again, fix all leaks. Use soaker hoses and drip irrigation." -- Janet Nazy, executive director, Partnership for Water Conservation 

• "Most people don't know the true source of their water. The Nature Conservancy recently did a poll of 1,000 Americans and less than a quarter could name the actual lake or river where their water comes from." -- Jeff Opperman, senior scientist, Global Freshwater Team, The Nature Conservancy 

• "One of the things we've learned at Coca-Cola is that water is not just a physical resource. We obviously use a lot of water, but we've really learned that water is a very special molecule. It really is not a commodity like electricity, it's a cultural issue, a deeply social and political issue in many places and countries; it has tremendous religious symbolism. As we operate around the world, we've come to understand and appreciate -- in part the hard way through some of the lessons we learned in India -- that we really need to learn to respect water, in terms of earning not just the physical license to operate, but the emotional and social license to operate." -- Jeff Seabright, vice president for Environment and Water Resources, The Coca-Cola Company

• "We believe it will always be available to nourish our bodies, grow our crops and operate our factories. Water availability and purity are increasingly scarce, not only in arid regions. The removal of inefficient subsidies, technological innovation and better water management must each do their part to solve the global water crisis. But so must each one of us. We must do nothing less than re-examine our relationship with water." -- Terry Yosie, President and CEO, World Environment Center

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WEC's "Greening the Supply Chain" work featured in Revista Industria

WEC's work in Costa Rica is described in the March-April 2011 issue of Revista Industria.

WEC's Greening the Supply Chain work in Costa Rica is featured in the March-April 2011 issue of Revista Industria, in an article entitled "Reinventar la rueda sin Contaminar," which describes "Implementing Practical Solutions for Greener Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)."

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Colloquium Summary Now Available

Summary of the major discussion points covered at the 2011 WEC Gold Medal Colloquium on the topic "Sustainable Development as a Driver of Business Model Innovation."
Colloquium Summary Now Available

Peter Schnurrenberger (F. Hoffmann-La Roche, Ltd.), Bob Langert (McDonald's), Albert Cho (Cisco), Beth Stevens (Disney), and Claus Conzelmann (Nestle) at the 2011 Colloquium

Download the complete summary here.

WEC Gold Medal Colloquium, National Press Club, Washington, D.C. May 20, 2011


The acceleration of sustainable development initiatives in the marketplace has stimulated a variety of business model adaptations to serve current customers and create new ones in emerging and developed markets.  The Colloquium presented a diverse range of business model experimentation as practiced by companies in multiple sectors.  Major questions addressed in the Colloquium included:

  1. What frameworks should companies consider for updating their business models and co-creating value with customers and stakeholders?
  2. How are sustainability initiatives driving the evolution of business models?
  3. What are critical, unique scaling issues that must be resolved to integrate sustainability with core business functions?
  4. What are potentially disruptive factors to current business models?


AECOM: Gary Lawrence
Boeing: Mary K. Armstrong
Coca-Cola: Jeff Seabright
Cisco: Albert Cho
Disney: Beth Stevens
Ford: John J. Viera
General Electric: Ann Klee
Harvard University: Jane Nelson
IBM: Jacqueline Jasiota Gregory
IMD International: Aileen Ionescu-Somers
Innosight: Matthew J. Eyring
Marks & Spencer: Mike Barry
McDonald’s: Bob Langert
Nestlé: Claus Conzelmann
Roche: Peter Schnurrenberger
Royal Dutch Shell: Allard Castelein
Unilever: Gavin Neath
Walmart: Andrea Thomas
WEC: Terry F. Yosie
WWF US: Jason Clay

The Colloquium generated a highly interactive discussion among 135 attendees and included senior executives from global companies, non-governmental organizations, governmental agencies, universities and consultancies.

Major Points of Discussion:

Many companies currently under serve customers in both developed and emerging markets.  The critical task of successful business models is to focus on unmet needs that can be fulfilled at a profit, incorporating functional, emotional and social factors. Most companies make incremental changes to their business models instead of deconstructing them from scratch and learning from quick and cheap failures. As a result, companies overspend and take too much time in adapting their business models.  Similar rules for business model innovation apply in both developed and emerging markets.

Consumers are beginning to educate global companies as they evolve their products and services across a variety of markets. Reconciling the views of consumers and stakeholders is a specific challenge, as is obtaining strong signals from consumers in a variety of markets.  Manufacturing mobility rather than cars, becoming more energy efficient, understanding the manufacturing footprint, reconciling the role of agriculture with sustainable biofuels production, providing healthier menu choices, and understanding the value proposition of communities are current examples of consumer perspectives that influence business planning.  A basic learning is that “You have to engineer the benefits into the products so they become self-evident.” However, product-related conversations with B2B customers or government agencies are very different than those with consumers.

Limits in the ability of natural systems to provide food and other raw materials will prompt a major re-examination of business objectives and practices. Some major questions include:  where will future food ingredients come from, and can sufficient food supplies be provided?  How is food processed?  How can companies eliminate embedded risks in supply chains without dictating responsible sourcing methods?   How can robust systems be developed to trace product ingredients across the value chain?  Will raw materials be available at sufficient scale?  Can ecosystem services be protected and expanded?  How can companies, governments, NGOs and consumers achieve system level integration across a multitude of climate, food, water and energy challenges?

Global companies are transitioning to global scale by taking responsibility for their value chains, including the consumer. This transition raises a number of issues:  avoiding a parallel universe of “green” products that confuses consumers when the objective should be to embed sustainable qualities in all products; creating consistency, focus and value among multiple labelling and certification schemes; improving the valuation of natural capital; resolving the problem of many suppliers and NGOs currently lacking the global scale that companies need; and  focusing more attention on the worst performing areas of impact rather than improving the best performing areas. More fundamentally, many critical economic sectors, such as agriculture, lack global scale.  The challenges of achieving global scale in sustainable business operations will require the development of new innovations and skills that expand the level of collaboration across critical value chains.

The emergence of newer co-creation models provides major opportunities for business innovation. Of particular importance are such issues as:  system level integration of specific value chains at the pre-competitive stage that enables companies to work with their competitors; emergence of new sources of intellectual creativity or technology development platforms such as the IBM Jam or GE’s Eco-Challenge Initiative; development of challenge funds; dematerializing business processes and products; the need for the financial sector to play a larger role in the growth of sustainable markets; and financing the adaptation to climate change.

There are major disruptive factors that will reshape business models in the future. They include:  population growth and urbanization; the growing domination of global trade and emerging consumption within Southern nations such as Brazil, China, India and Indonesia; the emergence of disruptive technologies and the accelerating rate of global change; protecting the integrity of companywide network security systems and making information systems more resilient; supply chain risks; growing food security challenges and the possibility of civil unrest; the integration of social media with sustainability planning; and planetary limits to growth.

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WEC China Office Releases May 2011 Newsletter

The WEC China office released today from its Beijing headquarters its May 2011Newsletter, describing the office's recent and noteworthy activities.

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WEC 2011 Gold Medal Gala Honors Nestlé S.A.

The 2011 WEC Gold Medal Award for International Corporate Achievement in Sustainable Development was presented to Nestlé CEO Mr. Paul Bulcke on May 19, 2011 at the 27th Annual WEC Gold Medal Gala. Professor James Schorr of Vanderbilt Univesity presented the award on behalf of WEC.
WEC 2011 Gold Medal Gala Honors Nestlé S.A.

The 2011 Gold Medal

Nestlé S.A. was honored as the winner of the 27th World Environment Center Gold Medal Award for its commitment to environmental sustainability.  Mr. Paul Bulcke, Chief Executive Officer of Nestlé, accepted the award “on behalf of our Chairman and the 280,000 employees that make Nestlé today.”

Speaking at the presentation ceremony on May 19 in Washington, DC, Mr. Bulcke also stressed that “this award is a mandate, an obligation and motivation to do even better so that also future generations can enjoy Good Food and a Good Life with Nestlé.”

The WEC Gold Medal Award is presented annually to a global company that has demonstrated a unique example of sustainability in business practice and is one of the most prestigious forms of recognition of a global company's ongoing commitment to the practice of sustainable development.

Nestlé was originally announced as the winner in January, ahead of this month's official prize ceremony.

Presenting the 2011 Gold MedalWEC President & CEO Dr. Terry F. Yosie, Professor James Schorr, Nestle CEO Mr. Paul Bulcke, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Senior Vice President of Sustainability Ms. Andrea Thomas, and WEC Chairman of the Board Mr. Jeff Seabright during the award presentation.




Event Photos

Nestlé Press Release

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WEC delivers lecture at Carnegie Mellon University on "Sustainability and the Evolving Global Chess Board"

Terry F. Yosie's speech delivered at Carnegie Mellon University, March 24, 2011, on the topic of "Sustainability and the Evolving Global Chess Board."
Terry F. Yosie, President and CEO of the World Environment Center, delivered a lecture on "Sustainability and the Evolving Global Chess Board" to audiences at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, on March 24, 2011. The lecture presented specific case studies of the integration of sustainable development into foreign policy, defense and competitiveness strategies. Click here to view the lecture slides.
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WEC Chinese language March 2011 Newsletter

A description of WEC's March 2011 activities in Chinese

WEC's office in Beijing has published a Chinese language newsletter of WEC's recent activities.

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White House Announces New WEC Initiative in Chile

The World Environment Center (WEC) applauds President Obama’s successful visit to advance the U.S.-Chile bilateral relationship and expand efforts to promote more sustainable economic development. The U.S. and Chile have launched a new public/private partnership for small and medium sized Chilean enterprises to implement cleaner and more energy efficient technologies that will reduce waste, carbon dioxide emissions, material consumption, and business costs. Funded by the U.S. Department of State, WEC will lead a new two-year project with Chileoliva, an industry association of Chilean olive oil companies. Through WEC’s signature “Greening the Supply Chain” initiative, small and medium sized companies will receive on-the-ground technical assistance and training for improving their business management skills and strengthening the economic, environmental and energy performance of their companies. WEC will also partner with other governmental and private institutions, including the Clean Production National Council to strengthen project activities and further replicate the successful cases developed during the project.

Dr. Terry F. Yosie, WEC’s President and CEO, commented that, “Progress in improving our economies and our environment results from top down leadership and the strengthening of bottom up capabilities. This initiative announced by The White House embodies this dual approach and will achieve tangible results that benefit the people of both nations. The World Environment Center is pleased to play an important role in this unique partnership.”

Read the full White House Statement here.

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The World Environment Center and U.S. Department of State Launch Cleaner Production Partnership in Morocco

The World Environment Center (WEC) has launched an innovative project to expand the sustainable development commitments of Moroccan businesses by reducing energy and water consumption, minimizing waste and raw material usage and lowering operating costs. WEC is partnering with the Moroccan Cleaner Production Center (CMPP) and the country’s leading national business association, the Confédération Générale des Entreprises du Maroc (CGEM), to implement the local activities and provide advanced technical expertise for the project. The partnership is funded by the United States Department of State through its “Cleaner Production Private Sector Partnerships” program. WEC has created a one-page summary of the project for further information. This is the third partnership of its kind, spanning six countries, between the U.S. Department of State and WEC.

“The U.S. Department of State is committed to helping small and medium-sized enterprises ‘green’ their production processes by implementing measures that decrease resource use and waste, while reducing costs,” said Rob Wing, Chief of the Environment and Trade Division in the State Department’s Bureau of Oceans, Environment, and Science. “The World Environment Center remains our trusted partner in this and has the connectivity on the ground to deliver results for these companies that preserve natural resources and create cost-savings.”

The specific objectives of the partnership are to enhance sustainable development practices in local companies to reduce water and energy consumption, minimize waste and raw material use, and maximize operational savings. Through the WEC partnership with the Moroccan food-canning processor association, FICOPAM (Fédération des Industries de la Conserve des Produits Agricoles), WEC’s technical team will train selected small and medium-sized local member companies specifically in:

  • conservation of water and energy;
  • reducing waste, raw material use and emissions;
  • establishing environmental management systems; and
  • accessing funding and loans to finance the adoption of advanced technologies.

This training, and the follow-up and monitoring process for the participating companies, will allow these businesses to minimize environmental impact while improving their productivity and competitiveness. The duration of the project’s expected technical assistance to companies is 16 months.

Dr. Terry F. Yosie, WEC’s President and CEO, commended the project for its combination of sustainable development goals with business-focused improvements. “Businesses’ incentives to find greater efficiencies in their operations and to minimize the use of natural resources and the generation of waste create an economically virtuous circle,” he stated. “Leadership in sustainable development is found through practical business solutions that improve the daily lives of citizens in communities around the world.”

About World Environment Center
WEC is an independent, global non-profit, non-advocacy organization that advances sustainable development through the business practices and operations of its member companies and in partnership with governments, multi-lateral organizations, non-governmental organizations, universities and other stakeholders. WEC’s mission is to promote business and societal value by advancing solutions to sustainable development-related problems. It manages projects for companies across their global operations, builds executive-level learning and competency in applying sustainable development across a number of business sectors, and recognizes performance excellence through an annual awards program. WEC is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with regional offices in China, El Salvador and Germany.

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WEC Achieves Cost Savings and Environmental Improvements in Private Sector Environmental Project in Guatemala & El Salvador

The World Environment Center (WEC) has successfully completed a State Department (DoS)-funded project “Cleaner Production Private Sector Partnerships.” Thirty five Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) from Guatemala and El Salvador participated in the project to improve their environmental performance and have achieved a combined total savings of over $621,400, with investments of $293,500. A final report summarizing the project and its noteworthy results is available here. A Spanish version is available here.

As part of the Central America Free Trade Agreement, the Department of State’s Oceans, Environment and Science Bureau (OES) initiated the Cleaner Production Partnership with the World Environment Center (WEC) in October, 2008. The project provided on-the-ground support to assist small local companies in both countries to improve the private sector´s environmental performance, reduce costs, and improve efficiency and competitiveness through the adoption of Cleaner Production and Energy Efficiency practices and technologies.

Through WEC’s training and the partnership with local stakeholders such as Wal-Mart Centroamerica, the Guatemala Association of Small Hotels, and the El Salvador Association of Dairy Processors, the project provided technical assistance to the participating companies to improve their performance and upgrade their facilities. These approaches allowed firms to further their profitability and competitiveness while simultaneously strengthening environmental performance and fostering a better work environment.

Some highlighted results include a collective savings of 4.47 millions of drinking water, 185,890 gallons of fuel oil, reduction of C02 by 1,162 tons, and 77,291 liters saved of liquid raw material.

“We found this project to be a direct extension of our efforts with our suppliers, focusing on sustainable growth and driven by economic incentives,” said Claudia de Ibañez, manager of Corporate Affairs for Wal-Mart Centroamerica in El Salvador.

“This program achieved important benefits for the participants, all of which can be considered a starting point as well as an example for other businesses interested in improving their production processes,” said Ernesto Samayoa, Director of Operations for WEC Latin America. The project not only focused on strengthening the processes of the businesses that participated, but also effectively demonstrated that business, economic growth, sustainability and environmental improvements aren’t mutually exclusive. Although the term of the project activities has been completed, the participants have established a path of continuous improvement that will continue to achieve future successes.

For more information, see the project's Fact Sheet.

Contact: Ernesto Samayoa

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Nestlé S.A. to Receive 2011 World Environment Center Gold Medal for International Corporate Achievement in Sustainable Development

WEC's independent jury selects Nestlé S.A. as the 2011 recipient of the Gold Medal Award
Washington, D.C.—January 24, 2011. The World Environment Center’s (WEC) Twenty-Seventh Annual Gold Medal for International Corporate Achievement in Sustainable Development will be awarded to Nestlé S.A. for its commitment to environmental sustainability across its value chain and throughout multiple levels of company management. Paul Bulcke, Nestlé Chief Executive Officer, will accept the Gold Medal Award on behalf of the Company on Thursday, May 19, 2011, during the Gold Medal Presentation Ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Nestlé S.A. was selected by the independent Gold Medal Jury, chaired by Dr. Joel Abrams, Professor Emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh. The Jury found that Nestlé’s environmental practices have been guided over the long-term by its “Creating Shared Value” approach to business. This contributes to the health and well-being of consumers while improving the economic and social conditions in communities located across Nestlé’s entire value chain.

Nestlé’s “Creating Shared Value” approach to business served as the basis for the Company’s Gold Medal application, and provided a compelling representation of the Company’s on-going commitments to environmental sustainability. Nestlé stakeholders from humanitarian organisations, business, and academia, comprise its Creating Shared Value Advisory Board under the leadership of its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Paul Bulcke, Nestlé CEO, said: “Nestlé is delighted to receive this prestigious award, which recognises the efforts of many people working tirelessly over decades, with the long-term mindset to deliver best in class environmental management performance.”

In explaining Nestlé’s environmental efficiency, Mr Bulcke continued: “Our commitment to sustainable business practice is long-term in its perspective, comprehensive in its scope, and meticulously managed in its approach. Sustainable management has given us the solid base for our long-term business development; by consciously identifying areas of focus where shareholders’ and society’s interest strongly intersect, we can additionally optimize value creation for both parties. We are therefore honoured and motivated to receive this distinguished award.”

He added: “In committing to long-term sustainable practices which are integral to our business, for example, we have built approximately 290 water treatment plants to date – significantly in developing countries where national and municipal waste water treatment infrastructure does not exist, or does not yet meet the international environmental standards that Nestlé supports. In more recent years, we have also pioneered co-generation technology in our factories.”

“On behalf of the independent Gold Medal Jury, I extend my congratulations to Nestlé for advancing sustainable practices across its many business operations and product categories,” stated Dr. Abrams. “The Creating Shared Value program will establish long-term benefits for society and shareholders by increasing natural, social, human and financial capital. As with past recipients, the Gold Medal provides a positive incentive for Nestlé to extend its commitments to improve people’s living standards and quality of life.”

The World Environment Center’s Gold Medal for International Corporate Achievement in Sustainable Development was established in 1985 to recognize significant industry initiatives in global environmental excellence and sustainable development. Recent recipients of the WEC Gold Medal Award are: Wal-Mart Stores (2010), The Coca-Cola Company (2009), Marks & Spencer (2008), Alcan Inc (2007), ABN AMRO Bank (2006), Starbucks (2005), Johnson Controls Inc. (2004), Ricoh Group Ltd. (2003) and CEMEX (2002).

The WEC Gold Medal Jury is independent of WEC and its programs, and is composed of international leaders from academia, government, non-governmental organisations and retired industry professionals.

About Nestlé With sales of CHF 108 billion in 2009, Nestlé is the world's leading nutrition, health and wellness company. The Company, headquartered in Switzerland, employs over 280,000 people and has 449 factories situated in 83 countries. Nestlé products are sold in almost every country in the world. Nestlé is the worldwide leader in product categories such as soluble coffee, infant nutrition, bottled water, ice cream, as well as chocolate and malt drinks, and culinary. The Group is also a co-leader in pet care.

About World Environment Center The World Environment Center, headquartered in Washington, D.C. with offices and operations in emerging and developed markets, is unique in its direct application of sustainable development strategies and practices to the business operations of its member companies. WEC creates sustainable business solutions through individual projects in emerging markets; convenes leadership roundtables to shape strategic thinking across a range of sustainability topics; and honours industry excellence through the annual awarding of its Gold Medal Award. An independent non-profit organisation, WEC conducts no advocacy activities.

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WEC's Gwen Davidow on Corporate Environmentalism in China

"Corporate Environmentalism in China: An NGO - Corporate Partnership to Improve Energy Efficiency in Chinese SMEs"
WEC's Gwen Davidow's Commentary piece entitled "Corporate Environmentalism in China: An NGO-Corporate Partnership to Improve Energy Efficiency in Chinese SMEs" was published in the China Environment Forum's 11th issue of the China Environment Series. The Woodrow Wilson International Center's China Environment Forum team produced this special Energy and Climate issue of the China Environment Series. The publication conveys a snapshot of major energy trends in China and the complexities in the U.S.-China energy and climate relations.

Davidow's article within the full publication can be downloaded below:

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WEC's Yosie and Fuller: "10 Things Business Schools Must Teach About Sustainable Development"

WEC's President & CEO Terry F. Yosie and Sustainability Program Manager Virginia Fuller discuss what is important for new business leaders to learn in order to successfully realize sustainability goals within an organization.

The article, entitled "10 Things Business Schools Much Teach About Sustainable Development," builds on a discussion that took place during WEC's Roundtable event "Preparing the Next Generation of Business Leaders to Implement Sustainable Development," held September 16-17, 2010, in Washington, DC. The article was published on November 22, 2010, in and can be accessed here.

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WEC Annual Review 2009-2010

Highlights of WEC's activities, 2009-2010
Click below for the 2009-2010 World Environment Center Annual Review.
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WEC Closes Cleaner Production Partnership Private Sector Project in San Salvador

This month the World Environment Center celebrated the successful completion of its project “Cleaner Production Private Sector Partnerships,” funded by the U.S. Department of State in Guatemala and El Salvador. Thirty eight companies participated in the project to receive technical assistance resulting in a combined total savings of over $425,000 in 18 months. As part of the CAFTA-DR's Private Sector Environmental Performance Program, the U.S. Department of State funded WEC to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in both Guatemala and El Salvador save money and protect the environment by strengthening business processes, decreasing waste and natural resource usage, and increasing savings and efficiencies. A final report on the successes and lessons learned from the project will be released in Fall 2010. Please contact WEC if you are interested in receiving more information. Roxana de Castillo speaks at the closing ceremonies of WEC’s Cleaner Production Private Sector Partnership Project in San Salvador on September 23, 2010:

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WEC cited in "10 Things to Know About Engaging Suppliers for Green Programs"

WEC President & CEO Terry F. Yosie quoted in
WEC President & CEO Terry F. Yosie weighs in on the role of supply chain modifications in achieving corporate sustainability goals; read the full article here.
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WEC Roundtable: "Preparing the Next Generation of Business Leaders to Implement Sustainable Development"

WEC Roundtable | September 16 and 17, 2010

“Preparing the Next Generation of Business Leaders to Implement Sustainable Development”

Hosted by IBM Corporation and F. Hoffmann-La Roche, Ltd.

The acceleration of sustainable development initiatives in the marketplace has stimulated a variety of responses from global companies and the business schools producing the next generation of leaders for those companies. In addition, government policies, economic trends, and the expectations of current and future employees all affect sustainability activities in corporations and business schools but remain disparate in actions and results. Within this context, WEC’s Roundtable focused on three major questions:

  • How is sustainable development currently integrated into business school curricula?
  • What skills does industry want its new employees to have?
  • How will sustainable development evolve in the future, and how must global companies and business schools prepare to respond?

Read WEC's one-page summary of the event


Panelists (L to R) Liz Maw (Net Impact), Eric Orts (Wharton), and Thomas Lyon (University of Michigan) discuss sustainability in business school curricula with Moderator Jane Nelson (Harvard University), September 16, 2010:
Panel Discussion

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