NEW YORK: Justine Greening, UK secretary of State for International Development (DFID), former U.S. president Bill Clinton, founder of the Clinton Foundation, and Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, have launched Transform – a partnership to create jobs, increase incomes, and improve the health and well-being of 100 million people in developing countries by 2025.
The announcement coincides with the adoption of a new set of U.N. Sustainable Development Goals aimed at eradicating extreme poverty, fighting justice and inequality - and taking urgent action on climate change.
Transform is the first initiative to be launched since Unilever and DFID committed to working together in 2014 – the first of its kind between a leading international business and DFID. The Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP) now joins the partnership to provide expertise in last-mile distribution.
Since 2008, CGEP has been empowering communities, farmers and aspiring entrepreneurs in Latin America to help lift themselves out of poverty and create jobs for others.
"CGEP's last-mile distribution enterprise models (right) have the potential to provide work and income to countless numbers of women living in low-income communities in developing countries while providing fortified food and affordable products to hard-to-reach areas.
"By creating direct and frequent connections to their customers they are also well positioned to be effective in catalyzing positive changes in behavior in the areas of health, sanitation, and nutrition," said Frank Giustra, co-founder of CGEP and president and CEO of Fiore Financial Corporation, a private equity management firm.
According to the U.N., 17 percent of people in the developing world still live at or below US$1.25 a day and an estimated 2.4 billion are without access to adequate sanitation.
Transform will be a five-year, minimum £10 million, initiative that will initially focus on water, sanitation and hygiene, with the potential to expand to household energy. It will identify and develop social business models that serve low-income households with a focus on digital and mobile to improve health and well-being on a large scale.
Paul Polman, winner of this year's U.N. Champions of the Earth Award in the Entrepreneurial Vision category, noted: "There is no business case for enduring poverty. The [U.N.] Sustainable Development Goals are a once in a lifetime opportunity to end poverty and tackle climate change. But transformational change requires transformational partnerships. Delivering the goals can happen only if business, governments and civil society work together."