Colombia and Peru receive UN awards for innovative green enterprises that empower women

Nairobi Biodegradable plates that are implanted with seeds and provide food after use in Colombia, a social media website that promotes car-sharing in Viet Nam and sanitary pads made from banana waste — these are just some examples of the 34 winners of the 2013 SEED (Supporting Enterprises for Sustainable Development) Awards, announced today by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) at the Green Economy Symposium.

Founded in 2002 by UNEP, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the SEED Awards identify and support innovative social and environmental start-up enterprises that tackle key sustainable development challenges at a community level in developing and emerging economies.

They also include two SEED Gender Equality Awards, which have been given to enterprises in Colombia and Peru. Funded by UN Women and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the awards focus on enterprises that are women-led or owned and prioritize gender equality or women’s empowerment as a core objective.

In Colombia, Provokame trains and employs local women from rural areas to produce 100 per cent biodegradable plates that are also implanted with seeds. The process contributes not only to sustainable waste management, but also creates jobs for women.

In Peru, Life Out Of Plastic is a 100 per cent women-owned organization that designs and sells green products such as reusable bags and fleece made from rPET fibre – a textile derived from bottle recycling.

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