Flourish Prizes Shine a Light on Businesses Impacting the UN SDGs
By Claire Sommer, Communications Director for AIM2Flourish, a movement to change business education for the better by helping students discover, report on, and be inspired by world-benefiting business solutions. They recently awarded 17 Flourish Prizes honoring businesses innovating toward each of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Below, Claire shares some of her favorites, and we’re proud to see 2016 Social Innovator Gavin Armstrong on that list along with innovations driving rural access to power and new ways of approaching peace creation. As the UN SDGs remain such an important focus here at Babson, it’s energizing to see businesses like those being profiled and celebrated.
The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals are often seen as the world’s “Must-Do List” over the next 15 years. The AIM2Flourish team is proud to be part of the global education community with Babson College that sees the transformative, strategic, and financial advantages of aligning their business with the Sustainable Development Goals. Once business fully gets on board with the SDGs—watch out! We will witness a business-powered, positive transformation of our energy, food, and transportation sectors like the world has never seen before.
AIM2Flourish helps students research and identify a radical business innovation, using the SDGs as a lens to evaluate impact. Once students write up their innovation stories, their work is reviewed by their professors, followed by our volunteer editorial board, and then published on AIM2Flourish.com.
What makes a good AIM2Flourish story? We’re looking for innovations by for-profit companies (including Certified B Corps) that help achieve one or more of the UN SDGs. Each of the 550+ stories on AIM2Flourish.com shows how business can, at its core, be both profitable and “do good.” Earlier this year, the AIM2Flourish team and professors selected 48 finalists out of the 422 AIM2Flourish stories published in 2016. These finalists were then analyzed by students at the Business School Lausanne in Switzerland using the new True Business Sustainability typology to assure that all winners can be considered “truly sustainable” according to BST 3.0. In February, a distinguished jury selected our 17 Flourish Prizes winners—one for each SDG.
This week, we will celebrate these stories with 17 Flourish Prizes at the Fourth Global Forum at Case Western Reserve University. We are delighted that business leaders, professors, and students will be joining us from India, Indonesia, Argentina, Israel, Chile, Mexico, Colombia, Nepal, Sweden, Canada, Morocco, and the United States. You can read about all the winners here, and here’s a deeper look at three of our favorites:
2017 Flourish Prize for Goal 3: Health and Well-Being: While at the University of Guelph in Canada, Dr. Gavin Armstrong invented a product and his Certified B Corporation, both called Lucky Iron Fish. This product is a fish-shaped iron ingot that, when boiled with a meal for 10 minutes, releases a significant portion of a person’s daily iron intake requirements. The company’s mission is to reduce the wholly preventable effects of iron deficiency in Cambodia, and has grown worldwide since. In India, the ingot is in the shape of a leaf as a more suitable cultural choice. The Lucky Iron Fish business model includes a successful “buy one, donate one” strategy. Read the AIM2Flourish Story: An Ironclad Solution
2017 Flourish Prize for Goal 13: Climate Change: Gram Power in India couples “smart meters” with solar-powered microgrids to bring clean, reliable energy to low-income people. Gram Power’s core innovation is social as well as technological. Their Smart Distribution technology includes Smart Meters and Grid Monitoring Systems to provide on-demand, theft-proof power with a unique pay-as-you-use schedule, determined by the end user. Read the AIM2Flourish Story: Serving Energy Customers with Power Distribution at the Bottom of the Pyramid
2017 Flourish Prize for Goal 16: Peace and Justice: Sometimes the best way to build relationships is to start with common delight in a sweet, cold treat. Buza Ice Cream in Israel is a stellar example of how a profitable business can drive social impact. The company is run by an Arab and a Jew in a country where most people see the other side as an enemy—and a living example of how peace is possible through business. The business started in a neighborhood with no ice cream stores and now has 5 locations and a small factory, employing dozens of local people. Read the AIM2Flourish Story: Building Peace for the Love of Ice Cream.
These winning and worthy business innovation stories demonstrate the power of creativity for profitable, positive solutions and the path towards a positive future.
AIM2Flourish.com is the transformational learning experience that inspires the world’s business students to think deeply about the purpose of business and what it will mean to be a business leader of tomorrow. Launched in 2015 at the Weatherhead School of Management – Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and housed in the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit, AIM2Flourish combines a higher-education curriculum, a Web-based story-sharing platform, and a program that recognizes the next generation of leaders who view business as a force for good.