Anais Mangin

A New Opportunity for Successful Green and Inclusive Businesses: The CHANGING Markets Award is seeking enterprising nominees

Climate change, environmental degradation, poverty and social inequalities are some of the most pressing challenges of our time. Oftentimes, these challenges are closely linked. People living at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) are the most vulnerable to environmental pollution and suffer most severely from the consequences of climate change. Achieving green and inclusive growth has thus become an urgent and challenging priority, and the private sector has a crucial role to play here.

In this context, innovative entrepreneurs around the world have started developing green and inclusive business models: market-based solutions which tackle environmental challenges and at the same time create positive impacts at the BoP. The CHANGING Markets Award implemented by adelphi on behalf of GIZ seeks to strengthen the visibility, growth and replication of successful green and inclusive businesses. It rewards the next “Champions for Green and Inclusive Markets” through targeted capacity building, high-level experience exchange and networking opportunities and a monetary prize of 5,000 Euros.

But how will the next “Champions for Green and Inclusive Markets” cohort look like? The award targets enterprises that achieve convincing and quantifiable environmental impacts, creating real benefits for people living at the BoP. The green aspects of their business could range from innovative production processes which cause less pollution or require fewer resources to offering environment- and climate-friendly products and services. Green products and services for example help users reduce their energy consumption, save water, avoid air pollution, reduce waste, or prepare against climate hazards.

As inclusive feature of their business, the company could integrate the people living at the BoP as producers and distributors in their value chain, thus creating new income opportunities. It could also offer products and services tailored to the needs and purchasing power of poorer segments of society. But benefits for the BoP could also be achieved indirectly, for instance when a company’s products contribute to reducing the pollution of groundwater sources upon which nearby communities rely.

Particularly strong candidates integrate both green and inclusive aspects in their business model, and have achieved quantifiable impacts in both areas. The initiative Oro Verde, winner of the 2009 SEED Gold Award, shows how this can be done. Oro Verde aims at reversing environmental degradation and social exclusion brought about by illegal and uncontrolled mechanized mining in the Chocó Bioregion of Colombia, one of the lushest regions on this planet in terms of biodiversity. Based on a certification scheme for artisanal mining families, Oro Verde facilitates a responsible mining of gold and platinum which can then be sold as green and fair metals at a premium price. This way Oro Verde creates an economic incentive to environmental protection and improves artisanal mining families’ access to global markets. By 2011, 114 mining families from the municipalities of Tadó and Condoto have joined Oro Verde, protecting their collective territories, increasing their incomes and conserving their traditional extractive practices.

The Champions for Green and Inclusive Markets looked for in the CHANGING Markets Award implement such an integrated approach for achieving environmental and BoP benefits through their enterprise. But even beyond their immediate business they act as drivers of change for a shift towards a green and inclusive economy. Some might actively work on creating new market demand for sustainable products and services, others engage in advocacy work at the policy level to promote conducive framework conditions for green and inclusive businesses, and again others might collaborate with other stakeholders to advance the “green and inclusive economy.”

The CHANGING Markets Award is an exciting opportunity for enterprises targeting BoP markets. It takes place in the framework of the 16th International Business Forum (IBF) organised by GIZ on behalf of the German Ministry for International Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The IBF aims at fostering dialogue and knowledge-transfer between businesses, governments and civil society to promote, develop and up-scale sustainable business models in developing and emerging countries. This year’s forum puts green and inclusive business models centre stage.

The ten most promising enterprises will be elected as finalists and invited to the 16th International Business Forum (IBF) in Istanbul, Turkey on Oct. 23-24. During the forum, the finalists have the opportunity to showcase their business model in front of an international audience. Targeted workshops before and after the IBF support them in further advancing their business model and fine-tuning their operations. Up to three winners chosen from the finalists additionally receive a monetary prize of 5,000 Euro.

The competition is open to for-profit and non-profit entities – businesses, subsidiaries, NGOs, community-based organizations and public sector organisations. While the focus is on small and medium enterprises (SME), initiatives of larges companies may also apply.

Applications are accepted through Sept. 1. To find out more about the Award and how to apply, please visit

Be a champion – apply now to showcase your green and inclusive business model on a global level and benefit from a great learning and networking opportunity!

Anais Mangin works as a project manager at adelphi, a think tank for policy analysis and strategy consulting on global environment and development challenges. Her main focus lies on sustainability entrepreneurship and corporate sustainability.