For the past six years we have focused efforts on tackling two key challenges that have arguably been overlooked in the past:
- Reducing Indoor Air Pollution - the toxic smoke from cooking on fires and traditional stoves in the developing world that causes the premature death of 1.5 million people each year - through both the market-based sale of improved cookstoves and public health campaigns.
- Promoting Growth Finance - the rapidly growing asset class that provides both the skills and finance required by small and growing busineses in emerging economies whose needs are not met by either microfinance or other commercial investors.
Recent months have seen growing interest in these areas, with the 'New York Times', 'Financial Times' and 'The Economist' featuring them - as highlighted in this newsletter. This recognition is very encouraging. We believe that our long and close partnerships with both Envirofit and GroFin have enabled us to be at the forefront of pioneering financially-viable responses to these challenges - thus enabling a focus not just on the nature of these problems but the fact that sustainable and scaleable solutions now exist.
I would also urge you to check out our new ‘Business Principles’, which are part of a broader initiative by the Foundation to promote best practice among corporate foundations as well as explain our hugely value-adding ‘independent yet linked’ relationship to Shell.
Finally, in these difficult economic times, I wish you every success with your own initiatives and endeavours.