UNbacked awards recognize innovative green enterprises

The 2013 Supporting Entrepreneurs for Environment and Development (SEED) Awards, announced today by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), spotlight new locally-driven enterprises that have found creative ways to overcome environmental and developmental problems while also creating economic and social opportunities for their communities. “These micro-companies are the little acorns from which big and mighty businesses could well grow, but they are more than that. These mini-enterprises are achieving profitability, not at the expense of their environment or their communities, but by providing solutions to the social, economic and environmental challenges of our time,” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.“If proof is needed that a transition to an inclusive green economy is underway, then look no further than these remarkable entrepreneurs.”As in previous years, the SEED Awards placed a special focus on Africa, with 20 awards being made to enterprises in Ethiopia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. In addition, ten Low Carbon SEED awards were given to social and environmental enterprises that focus on mitigation and adaptation to climate change, and two SEED Gender Equality Awards recognized projects to further gender equality or women’s empowerment.“With their innovative entrepreneurial approaches and unfailing attention to women’s empowerment, the SEED Gender Equality Award winners are advancing sustainable development, both locally and at global level,” said the Executive Director of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.“In every region, women are coming forward with new ideas to combat poverty and improve living standards while protecting natural resources.”Other Award winners include Uganda’s ‘Nuru Energy’, which sells generators powered by pedals and provides reliable, clean, sustainable power to off-grid households, and ‘moWoza’ – a mobile phone application providing cross-border traders in Mozambique with fast information on prices, payments and deliveries and empowering female entrepreneurs. “The SEED winners show us a viable path to a greener economy and highlight the power of creative local business models that can inform the discussions on the post-2015 development agenda,” said the Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), Helen Clark.The winners will receive a package of individually tailored support for their businesses, access to other supporting institutions and technical assistance, and a financial contribution of $5,000. read more

Need a pawternity leave Brock expert discusses how pets impact worklife balance

Anyone who has introduced a new pet into their household knows how much attention and training it takes to fully integrate it into the family.The amount of time it takes to care for a new pet is prompting some employees to take ‘pawternity leave’ from work to fully dedicate their time to getting their pet settled.A human resources professor from Brock University’s Goodman School of Business says that pet ownership can dramatically impact a family’s dynamic and, ultimately, employees’ productivity and work-life balance.Deborah McPhee, Associate Professor of Human Resources ManagementAhead of National Pet Day, which is observed on Wednesday, April 11, Deborah McPhee, Associate Professor of Human Resources Management, discusses how some employers are adapting to trends by allowing employees to bring their pets to work and even take time off when welcoming a new pet.In an article published earlier this year in The Conversation Canada, McPhee discussed changing family dynamics that place a greater emphasis on pets. People are staying single longer and owning pets instead of having kids, causing a change in the profile of the average family.More families than ever own pets, which can pose challenges for work-life balance as people are forced to find options for pet care while they are at work.While some employers allow pets at the workplace, it can cause productivity-reducing conflict between people who view their pets as stress-relievers and those who experience stress by working alongside pets they’re not comfortable with.McPhee says she expects pets will become more integrated into workplaces as employers work to attract millennials who have a growing fondness for their ‘fur babies.’Along with her Goodman School of Business colleague Robert Steinbauer, Assistant Professor of Business Ethics, McPhee is currently conducting research on organizations with pet-friendly policies, and learning how it can impact workplace productivity. If your organization, or you personally, are interested in participating in this research, please contact them at [email protected] or [email protected] read more