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Driving Innovation Through Partnerships

June 3, 2011

Since BSR’s founding, we have been strongly committed to achieving our mission through powerful partnerships. BSR’s Partnership Development team is dedicated to catalyzing collaboration between business and social and environmental innovators in the public and nonprofit sectors to make progress on systemic sustainable development challenges.

With grant support from public and corporate foundations, governments, and multilateral institutions, we design unique partnerships on topics ranging from women’s health to the environmental impacts of port operations. By working with funders ranging from a Swedish aid agency to the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, BSR leverages “venture capital,” our member company network, and our own expertise as well as the expertise of our diverse project partners to help solve development challenges in emerging economies.

HERproject |

We expanded our factory- and farm-based women’s health training program—HERproject—with a major investment from the Swedish International Development and Cooperation Agency and ongoing support from the Levi Strauss Foundation. This support allowed BSR to link member companies with local partners who designed and provided training for female workers on health-related issues in Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Kenya from our original base in China, Egypt, India, Pakistan, and Vietnam. These training programs, now active in 50 factories, have impacted more than 70,000 women. Based on return-on-investment metrics, this training has not only brought improved worker health and awareness, it has led to reduced absenteeism, lower turnover, and increased productivity.

CiYuan (China Philanthropy Incubator) |

With support from the U.S. Department of State, CiYuan is designed both to increase the impact of social investments in China, and to build the capacity and expertise of Chinese nonprofit organizations and their project partners to fund and implement additional efforts. For example, BSR is supporting a new, cross-sector collaboration that includes a multinational company (HP), a U.S.-based nonprofit (the Taproot Foundation), a local nonprofit (Huizeren), and a local foundation (the Narada Foundation) to advance the pro bono service model in China. Our hope is that this model will allow companies and civil society organizations to share skills and build stronger organizations capable of partnering with a wider range of partners.

Migration Linkages

A four-year program in partnership with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, our Migration Linkages initiative helps protect the rights of migrant workers who are moving between developing countries. We connect multinational companies and their business partners with civil society groups, international organizations, labor unions, and governments to make the global migration system more transparent and advance responsible labor practices. In 2010, we launched a pilot program to protect human rights in the recruitment process for migrant workers in Malaysia and in the Persian Gulf.

Green Ports and Energy Efficiency

With new funding from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and building on our experience with BSR’s Clean Cargo Working Group, this project is aimed at evaluating the environmental performance of freight carriers, and working to make ports and terminal operators more sustainable. As a first step, we identified ports’ most significant sustainability issues and developed a framework for ports to consistently report on their performance on those issues. This funding also will allow BSR to expand our Energy Efficiency Partnership, a China-based effort to enhance the energy efficiency of small- and medium-sized enterprises in the Pearl River Delta.

Major Funders in 2010: Private, Corporate, Government

  • British Consulate General in Guangzhou
  • GE Foundation
  • International Finance Corporation
  • Levi Strauss Foundation
  • MacArthur Foundation
  • Rockefeller Brothers Fund
  • Swedish International Development and Cooperation Agency
  • U.S. Department of State

Let’s talk about how BSR can help you to transform your business and achieve your sustainability goals.

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