Three Indian enterprises areamong 34 awarded by the United Nations for their contribution in promoting sustainable development.
'Tambul Leaf Plates', 'Pollinate Energy' and 'Sustaintech India' won the 2013 SEED Awards announced by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) which
identifies and supports innovative social and environmental start-up enterprises that tackle key sustainable development challenges at the community level, in developing and emerging economies. The Indian enterprises won in the category of SEED Low Carbon Awards.
Pollinate Energy targets urban poor migrant communities in India that rely on kerosene for their daily lighting requirements.
Its mission is to create job opportunities for local "pollinators" to start their own businesses as micro-distributors that bring clean energy technology in the form of small-scale solar lights, directly to the most needy communities, UNEP said in a statement.
Sustaintech markets and distributes a line of environmentally friendly fuel-efficient commercial cook stoves designed for cooking, food processing and post-harvest processing.
Tambul Leaf Plates promotes production of arecanut leaf plates as a livelihood option among rural communities in northeast India, providing training, technical, financial and marketing assistance to the rural producers to enable them to establish their arecanut leaf plate making enterprises.
"The winning companies are mini-enterprises that are achieving profitability not at the expense of their environment but by providing solutions to the social, economic and environmental challenges of our time," UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said.
Other awardees include Uganda's 'Nuru Energy', which provides reliable, clean, sustainable power to off-grid households, a social media website promoting car-sharing in Vietnam, certified cocoa for speciality markets, and affordable biodegradable sanitary pads made from banana waste.
The 2013 SEED Awards placed special emphasis on Africa, with 20 awards being given to enterprises in Ethiopia, Morocco, Mozambique,Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. The award winners will receive access to other supporting institutions and technical assistance, and a financial contribution of $5000.