Inspiration

Foi a partir da pergunta: ‘como seria o mundo se a Mercur não existisse mais?’ que a empresa que fabrica borrachas e produtos para a saúde, começou um projeto de transformação há quase dez anos. Desde então vem revendo seus projetos de gestão e sustentabilidade. Entre as mudanças mais importantes, a Mercur passou a investir em negócios locais, substituindo importações por compra de insumos nacionais, e incentivando pequenos empreendedores a vender sua produção em uma feira orgânica organizada internamente para funcionários. Um trabalho com comunidades extrativistas no Pará e no Acre garante que os seringueiros recebam remuneração justa e consigam proteger e conservar as florestas, sem pensar em extrair o máximo para ganhar o mínimo. Pensando nessa visão para o futuro, a Mercur criou um Laboratório de Inovação Social, onde investe em educação e diálogo com os colaboradores da empresa para manter o tema presente e vivo na cultura corporativa. Entrevistamos Jorge Hoelzel Neto, facilitador da Mercur, sobre os projetos de sustentabilidade da companhia.

A empresa faz parcerias com cooperativas e comunidades seringueiras
A empresa faz parcerias com cooperativas e comunidades seringueiras

Quais foram os motivadores para que a Mercur iniciasse seus investimentos em novos projetos sustentáveis?

A partir de um olhar para o futuro com lentes mais sensíveis, passando a considerar não apenas as questões econômico/financeiras, mas também as questões humanas, sociais e ambientais, percebemos a necessidade de considerar também um novo modelo de gestão, que pudesse dar conta de necessidades que passavam de forma despercebidas nos planejamentos que fazíamos. Esta avaliação iniciou em 2008, e, de lá para cá, os principais resultados já alcançados têm a ver com a evolução do diálogo entre as pessoas que interagem com a empresa e da co-criação de novas possibilidades na busca da construção de um mundo que possa ser mais confortável para todos. Os projetos surgem nesse contexto, como pano de fundo para uma atuação que busca e experimenta o que não era conhecido por nós até então, com o objetivo de viabilizar soluções legítimas com as pessoas que nos relacionamos.

Você acredita que empresas com responsabilidade social têm resultados melhores? De que forma essas ações e projetos de sustentabilidade se traduziram em resultados corporativos?

A Mercur não estabeleceu essa caminhada com a intenção de atuar como uma empresa que, através da comunicação ou de projetos de responsabilidade social, tem melhores resultados, em função do reconhecimento das pessoas. Toda a legitimidade do nosso processo de gestão está em não ser pautado em modelos pré-existentes, modismos e tendências. Buscamos uma atuação coerente aos nossos valores e direcionamentos, nos orientamos a partir deles e vamos encontrando soluções que fazem sentido para nós.

Acreditamos que por meio do “desenvolvimento do ser humano” podemos contribuir para a formação de uma sociedade mais preparada para a construção do seu próprio sistema de vida. E é esse o resultado que nos interessa, se queremos que nossos produtos e serviços possam ter consumidores, precisaremos construir, com estes mesmos, um novo modelo ou sistema de produção e consumo que sustente a vida humana no planeta de forma sustentável.

Workshop sobre inovação e sustentabilidade com funcionários da empresa
Workshop sobre inovação e sustentabilidade com funcionários da empresa

Como funciona o laboratório de inovação social e quais são os seus objetivos?

O Laboratório de Inovação Social Mercur foi pensado com o objetivo de ser um ambiente que permita à empresa vivenciar descobertas e promover interações com a comunidade e públicos com os quais se relaciona. A ideia é que o espaço seja um instrumento que promova momentos significativos de ensinar e aprender e, também, de criação de soluções que ajudem a melhorar a vida das pessoas, a partir de necessidades legítimas e da convivência com elas. O LAB comporta dois modelos de atividades chamadas de aprendizagem e prototipação. Os espaços de aprendizagem são as atividades em que as pessoas colocam seus conhecimentos a serviço de outras pessoas, criando momentos significativos de ensinar e aprender. Essas ações podem acontecer por meio de uma oficina, roda de conversa, palestra ou até mesmo de um filme que gostariam de compartilhar. Já os espaços de prototipação são as atividades de colocar a mão na massa para construir protótipos de produtos ou serviços.

Qual a visão da empresa para o futuro?

Ao construir intensas interlocuções em busca de se tornar uma indústria mais próxima e relevante para seus públicos, a Mercur foi conhecendo melhor a sua vocação e atualizando naturalmente a sua proposta de atuação. Recentemente fizemos um exercício de imaginar a empresa que queríamos ser em 2050 e concluímos que gostaríamos de continuar sendo uma organização comprometida com a construção de relacionamentos que valorizam a vida, sobretudo em iniciativas locais voltadas à criação de bem -estar. Essa visão foi transformada em macro-objetivos estratégicos e em decisões que possam viabilizá-los em perspectivas de tempo apropriadas, isto é, que levem em conta a gestão de potenciais externalidades.

Horyou apoia as iniciativas de inovação social que ajudam o mundo a alcançar os Objetivos de Desenvolvimento Sustentável, e é organizadora do SIGEF, o Fórum de Inovação Social e Ética Global. Seja o futuro, seja Horyou

The United Nations Development Program, in partnership with “MEGA Silk Way”, Künde, “Public association of disabled people “Bakyt” and the Medical Center of Mental Health, have organized a crowdfunding campaign to open a coffee shop in Astana that promotes the integration of people with special needs. The coffee shop is Künde Café, an inclusive socially responsible café in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Students of Nazarbayev University promote events to raise funds and awareness to the project
Students of Nazarbayev University promote events to raise funds and awareness to the project

Künde Café is an innovative social entrepreneurship projects that offers work opportunities to people with mental or special development needs, in order to better integrate them in society.

The project started one year ago in collaboration with the Astana Medical Center of Mental Health, providing opportunities to people with special needs who are part of the Medical Industrial Workshops. One of the partners is Künde, a network comprised of 102 workshop personnel, their parents and friends, as well as psychologists and psychiatrists, along with students of Nazarbayev University and catering professionals.

Besides raising funds for the project, the campaign aims to increase awareness of the issues that people with mental and development needs face everyday. A concert was held within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), whose core message is to ‘Leave No One Behind’ and thus help provide good health and well-being, decent work and economic growth, and reduce inequalities, wherever they are needed.

Promotion piece about the café
Promotion piece about the café

“When given an opportunity, people with special needs can become fully included into the society, and bring in transformative ideas, great knowledge and a wealth of experience. UNDP has been working to create and promote such opportunities for people with special needs for a long time and in over 170 countries around the world“, stated UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Norimasa Shimomura.

“My aim is to work in the social café, get on my feet, make money, and improve my quality of life. I want to achieve all of that by myself. I would like to create a family. My goal is to achieve all of that and not give up,” declared Kuanysh Nogaibayev, one of the future workers at Künde Café.

To date, approximately 600,000 people with special mental needs live in Kazakhstan. Less than 3% of those people have jobs. When launched, Künde Café will give them an opportunity to provide for themselves and their families, to socialize, and to successfully integrate into society.

If you would like to support this campaign, become a part of Künde’s success story, and be a donor, go to this link.

News from Astana is a content project by Horyou, the social network for social good and host of SIGEF 2017, the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum. The 4th edition of SIGEF will take place in Astana, Kazakhstan, from 5-7 September.

As a network organization, the Social Entrepreneurship Akademie aims to educate and support social entrepreneurs and innovators. Established in 2010, the institution is a joint initiative of four universities from Munich, Germany. By coaching startups and helping students and professionals to gain entrepreneurial skills to solve global challenges, the SE Akademie embeds the idea of social entrepreneurship in society. Horyou blog interviewed the team spokeswoman Kristina Notz about the network and the social innovation landscape.

SE Akademie is a result of the cooperation between  four German universities
SE Akademie is a result of the cooperation between four German universities

As a social entrepreneurship supporter and accelerator, what would you say are the biggest challenges for a social entrepreneur?

Every entrepreneur faces similar challenges and there are many. We observe that some social entrepreneurs have more difficulties to think and talk about profit, since they are impact-driven. At the same time they need more time to figure out their business model, to find funding, and to convince people and supporters. In the social sector, it is a challenge to find and retain talent, even though it seems to be an attractive working environment at first sight. The ability to stay motivated intrinsically is key.

Are you committed to the Sustainable Development Goals ? Do you address some of the SDGs with your projects?

Yes, we’re using the SDGs in most of our workshops as a starting point to raise people’s awareness and give impulses towards the field they could become active in as a social entrepreneur. Many of the social enterprises we support tackle one of the challenges addressed by the SDGs.

How do you see the future of social entrepreneurship?  

My vision is that all entrepreneurship is social and we can leave out the word “social” and herewith differentiate. The future is that every entrepreneurial activity respects the triple bottom line and bears in mind people, planet, and profit. And I strongly believe this is possible but requires a certain change in mind-set.

Many social entrepreneurs supported by the institution develop SDG-related projects
Many social entrepreneurs supported by the institution develop SDG-related projects

Horyou connects on its social platform thousands of social entrepreneurs, philanthropists and organizations around the world. In your opinion, what’s the importance of social networks for social entrepreneurship and, particularly, for your work?

Social networks offer powerful tools to raise awareness about social entrepreneurship and bring its idea and examples to a broader audience. Platforms like yours are very valuable to the sector since you showcase best practices and role models and inspire others, and ideally turn information into action.

In our work, Social media are our main tool to reach out to and stay in touch with our participants and alumni. We focus as well on offline networks, make people meet and experience the network face to face. They can learn from each other, be inspired by others and exchange ideas and best practices. The flux of ideas, learnings, dreams, and failures contributes a lot to the venture development and success.

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

Forced marriage is still an issue that affects more than 700 million women globally – a third of them are less than 18. In order to raise awareness of this issue, the UNICEF partnered with major African artists to write a song against child marriage.

In Central and Western Africa, 41% of the girls above 18 are married (illustrative photo, source: UNICEF)
In Central and Western Africa, 41% of the girls above 18 are married (illustrative photo, source: UNICEF)

In Central and Western Africa, 41% of the girls above 18 are married – in countries like Benin, one in ten girls is married under the age of 15. More than depicting a social issue, these statistics are alarming from a health care standpoint as many of these girls are not able-bodied for childbearing and could face permanent physical and psychological damage.

As part of the Zero Tolerance Campaign against child marriage that the government launched last June, nine artists from Benin committed themselves to breaking the silence around child marriage. UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassadors Angélique Kidjo and Zeynab Abib, supported by Danialou Sagbohan, Kalamoulaï, Don Métok, Sessimè, Dibi Dobo, Norberka and Olga Vigouroux, gathered to craft a deeply moving song and a video that call the population to act.

“A little girl is still a child. She cannot be a mother or a bride. Let her grow up to live a fulfilling life. Say NO to child marriage!”; so goes the song, co-written by Angelique Kidjo and Zeynab Abib.

The artists sing in a variety of languages, including Fon, Mina, Mahi, Sahouè, Yoruba, Goun, Bariba and French in order for the message to spread throughout the country and neighbouring countries.

Artists from Benin are engaged in the cause
Artists from Benin are engaged in the cause

“The impact on these girls is terrible. Once married, they no longer go to school, they are raped, they get pregnant, which puts their health and that of their baby in danger. We artists are saying NO to all these injustices! Girls are not the property of anyone; they have the right to choose their own destinies”, says Beninese pop star Zeynab Abib, who was able to mobilise Benin’s greatest artists around this cause.

Early marriage prevents girls from getting proper education and leads them to poverty, while enforcing the prevalence of traditions and belief systems that are tied to the continued practice of child marriage.

“We need all the strength and weapons we can muster to fight the scourge of child marriage. Art, especially music, is a powerful weapon. As Nelson Mandela said, ‘politics can be strengthened by music, but music has a potency that defies politics’. This power must be harnessed!” says Dr Claudes Kamenga, UNICEF Representative in Benin.

Watch the video [English subtitles] [SAY NO TO CHILD MARRIAGE]1 Watch the video [French subtitles] [DISONS NON AU MARIAGE DES ENFANTS]2

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

The UN Refugee Agency, in partnership with UNICEF and the International Rescue Committee, issued a document today to improve the situation of refugee and migrant children who arrive in Europe without their relatives or caregivers.

Aziz Jabarkheil, 8, is Afghan and waits for the return of his uncle in an abandoned warehouse in Belgrade.
Aziz Jabarkheil, 8, is Afghan and waits for the return of his uncle in an abandoned warehouse in Belgrade.

Called The Way Forward to Strenghten Policies and Practices for Unaccompanied and Separate Children in Europe, the document is a roadmap which recommends policies to be put into practice to effectively protect and support these children. The organizations recognize that regional and national laws in Europe are a good framework on this matter, but through consultations with more than 100 specialists, including psychologists, social workers and lawyers, have discovered that the current bureaucratic procedures are resulting in severe consequences for the children’s well-being and future.

“Many of these children have experienced terrible violence, sexual abuse, trafficking and emotional and psychological pressure not only during their journey but in Europe itself. They deserve better protection and care from Europe. All actions and decisions must have the child’s best interests at heart. We can all make this happen and the Roadmap shows us how,” says Diane Goodman, Deputy Director of UNHCR’s Europe Bureau.

Since the increase of migrant and refugee arrivals in Europe, in 2015, the situation for unaccompanied and separated children has worsened. They’ve faced detention and large scale institutional care, limited family reunification opportunities, and rising concerns over deportations.

Aziz kicks around a deflated football to keep warm in sub-zero conditions in Belgrade.
Aziz kicks around a deflated football to keep warm in sub-zero conditions in Belgrade.

As David McLoughlin, UNICEF’s Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia puts it, “refugee and migrant children travelling alone to Europe have taken paths marked by danger, bureaucratic backlogs and uncertainty at every step of the way – even at their destination. This Roadmap plots the way forward for these children to be given the same level of care, trust and protection as national children.”

For one thing, the roadmap recommends that governments identify and register children through adequate and friendly procedures, ensuring them to a guardian and protecting them from smugglers or traffickers.

South Sudanese refugee, Emmanuel is 10 years old
South Sudanese refugee, Emmanuel is 10 years old

The organization also recommends stronger emphasis on providing proper care arrangements and services, and long-term solutions to these children based on their specific needs. The importance of different actors, as guardians, cultural mediators and community members is also key.

“The children that we interviewed clearly stated the importance of being heard and empowered,” confirms Annalisa Brusati, the IRC’s Child Protection Senior Technical Advisor. “These children have hopes, dreams and an incredible energy to fulfil them. Through education, peer groups, sports and training, they can start their own projects and overcome the hardships they’ve endured, if supported and given the chance.”

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

The European Commission launched this week a report which addresses the challenges for the future of Europe regarding innovation and research.

The European Commission event took place in Brussels
The European Commission event took place in Brussels

Over 700 scientists, business leaders and policy makers have gathered this week in Brussels at the conference Research and Innovation – Shaping Our Future, where competitiveness, productivity and value generation were some of the key topics on discussion.

The report, entitled LAB – FAB – APP: Investing in the European Future We Want was initiated by an independent group of leading experts chaired by Pascal Lamy, President Emeritus of the Jacques Delors Institute. The document highlights the idea that part of Europe’s success is due to research and innovation as two thirds of economic growth achieved in the last two decades by industrialised countries are attributed to investments in this area. The document included 11 recommendations that focused on maximising the impact of EU investments in research and innovation in order to increase prosperity and solve the biggest societal challenges on the continent.

Apart from being pretty much focused on policies and research budgeting propositions, the recommendations address some of the Sustainable Development Goals such as education and human rights.

The 11 recommendations for the future of innovation are as follows:

*1. Prioritise research and innovation in the EU while taking them into account in national budgets, with emphasis on a doubling of the budget covering post-2020 EU research and innovation programme

  1. Build a true EU innovation policy that creates future markets

  2. Educate for the future and invest in people who will make the change

  3. Design the EU R&I programme for greater impact

  4. Adopt a mission-oriented, impact-focused approach to address global challenges

  5. Rationalise the EU funding landscape and achieve synergy with structural funds

  6. Simplify further, privilege impact over process

  7. Mobilise and involve citizens

  8. Better align EU and national R&I investment

  9. Make international R&I cooperation a trademark of EU research and innovation

  10. Capture and better communicate impact*

For Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, “Research and Innovation make a big difference to enhancing productivity, boosting competitiveness and tangibly improving our quality of life. Europe is a global scientific powerhouse, but we need to better reap the benefits of this knowledge by turning it into value for the economy and society through innovation.”

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

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