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Sustainable Finance Awards

The Financial Times and IFC launched the Annual FT/IFC Sustainable Finance Awards for financial institutions that show leadership and dedication in integrating environmental, social, and corporate governance into their business.

They have five categories: Sustainable Bank, Investor, Investment, Technology in Sustainable Finance, and Achievement in Inclusive Business.

In June 2013 in London the winners were announced, with M-KOPA of Kenya winning the Award for Excellence in Sustainable Finance, Banco Santander taking the Sustainable Global Bank of the Year transaction prize, and Impax Asset Management of the UK recognized as Sustainable Investor of the Year.[1]

HSBC Global Connections

The banking community is working to assist businesses in international development. HSBC Global Connections is an excellent website resource (globalconnections.hsbc.com) addressing risk management, supply chain, talent management, sustainability, and many more topics.

Netafim

One of the stories HSBC reported on is a company called Netafim, headquartered in Israel. This country is more home to subsidiaries rather than head offices, as Israel is not an easy country for people to export products from, due to its isolation.

This company has a great story of collaboration, innovation, and a vision of helping others by “growing more with less.” It met the vision of Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to “make the desert bloom.” Netafim was a collaboration of a small kibbutz named Hazerim in the Negev desert with water engineer Simcha Blass.

Blass's innovation utilized a drip-based tube that slowly released water, which leads to amazing plant growth. This device is utilized in irrigation products around the world in more than 110 countries.

In 2011 Netafim saw growth of 30 percent worldwide, especially in emerging markets, such as India (where seed cotton yield was boosted by 85 percent, using 40 percent less water), Latin America, and Eastern Europe.

The comment that struck me the most about this company was this quote from the article: “We view each challenge through the eyes of our customers. We provide state-of-the-art technology, international agronomic expertise, and effective capacity-building training.” This is one of the first principles of a quality management system – ISO 9000: “Organizations depend on their customers and therefore should understand current and future customer needs, meet customer requirements and strive to exceed customer expectations.”

The principle from ISO 9000 – “involvement of people – people at all levels is the essence of an organization and their full involvement enables their abilities to be used for the organization's benefit” – is followed by Netafim.

The organization grew through its own subsidiaries, not acquiring foreign businesses. What is interesting is how it operates in these areas. The CEO in India is Indian, and in the United States is American. The HSBC article “Sustainability – a Growth Strategy” quoted the company as saying, “We have a different culture in each subsidiary. We aim to understand their needs and limitations, and not force them to act in ways that are not reasonable in their countries.”

These stories help us to see that growth and sustainability of one's business start with the principles the business works with and with the focus being on the customer.

Suncor's Challenge – “What Yes Can Do” – Our Voice

Industry plays a very important role in supporting communities, and many companies have done excellent work to help communities be selfsufficient and sustainable. In the beginning of the book, I spoke about leaders being those who ask questions and the need to be innovative.

The approach Suncor has taken is innovative, using video and the web to inform its viewers what it is doing to make a difference, under

“What Yes Can Do.”[2] It has outlined its voice on how it is making a difference, sharing this information to teach, lead, and work together to make a difference (see Table 3.1).

TABLE 3.1

Together, Let's See “What Yes Can Do”

Environment

Can we raise the bar on environmental performance?

Innovation

Can we be leaders in Innovation?

Social

Can we help make communities stronger, self-sufficient, and sustainable?

Economic

Can we help sustain our quality of life and build our future?

People

Can we be concerned about the environment and work for an energy company?

  • [1] Details can be found at ft-live.com/sustainablefinance.
  • [2] Suncor website, suncor.com.
 
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