Sweden’s Aura Light pledges revenue share to food security cause

Funds will flow to FAO’s new private sector trust fund, partnership includes projects in Africa

18/02/2015 - 

For the next three years, Swedish lighting company Aura Light will donate 1 percent of its revenues on all sustainable lighting installation and products sold in southern European retail outlets to the global effort to eliminate hunger.

Aura Light International CEO Martin Malmros and FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva today signed a partnership agreement that will channel a portion of the company’s sales in Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal to FAO, where they will support specific projects related to energy efficiency, renewable energy, food security and sustainability.

“Sustainability and social responsibility comes naturally to us, so I am very proud to be a part of the FAO’s fight against hunger and support their important work,” said Malmros. “We focus on delivering sustainable products and solutions and we do what we can to make the world a better place. FAO is an important organization with possibilities to make big changes and raise impact on the ground.”

The financial contribution generated through this mechanism will feed into the newly established FAO private sector trust fund, meant to allow private sector companies to financially support FAO projects and programs.

“For FAO, this is not just a partnership. This is a strategic alliance,” said Graziano da Silva, noting that Aura Light and FAO share visions of social responsibility as well as the view that “green value chains” should be integrated and embedded in social and cultural elements of communities through improved access to modern and clean energy.

“I have always stressed that we need the private sector on board in this challenge to ensure that no one goes to bed hungry,” said Graziano da Silva.

Aura Light’s funds will support FAO’s work aiming at enabling more inclusive and efficient agricultural food systems at local, national and international levels, FAO Director-General stressed.

Aura Light will support FAO’s efforts to strengthen smallholder farm production and the capacities of local populations, Graziano da Silva added. “The strategic alliance will also promote renewable energy in agrifood chains and solar thermal drying of agricultural crops and products in West Africa,” Graziano da Silva added.

Other areas of engagement are knowledge sharing, including the exchange of information and knowledge concerning matters of common interest related to environmental sustainability.

Initial contact between the company and FAO took place in December 2013 on the occasion of a presentation on FAO private sector partnerships to representatives of the Swedish private sector, who since then have been highly supporting the establishment of a partnership between FAO and the Swedish company.

Today’s signing ceremony was also attended by Aura Light’s general manager for Southern Europe Ulrik Bertelsen and Sweden’s ambassador to FAO, Cecilia Nordin van Gansberghe.

Light to the field work

The partnership starts with the implementation of two concrete projects in Africa.

One involves installing a solar water-pumping system in a small fishing village in Guinea-Bissau, while the other involves installing a demonstration solar food-dryer as part of an ongoing training course concerning Cape Verde, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal.

Auralight has global revenue of around 80 million euros and has specialized in creating and producing long-lasting and energy-saving lighting solutions for more than eight decades.

International Year of Light

On 20 December 2013, the UN General Assembly 68th Session proclaimed 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL 2015).

Focusing on the topic of light science and its applications, the UN has recognized the importance of raising global awareness about how light-based technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to global challenges in energy, education, agriculture and health.

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