Sustainable ventures can make a significant contribution to poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability. These business initiatives and activities improve human well-being and the environment on a profitable basis for people, planet and profit (triple P), contributing to economic growth and improvements in human wellbeing from natural resource use.
The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) has developed a toolbox that helps to guide key questions related to sustainable ventures such as the identification of opportunities, the understanding of the determinants of success and the assessment of costs and benefits.
The toolbox addresses initiatives that support sustainable ventures, including donor programmes, award schemes, private and public investors, professional education programmes and policy makers. It provides a general framework, which needs to be adapted for specific purposes, for example to develop a questionnaire for loans, forms to participate in competitions or checklists for initial business screenings. Yet the UNEP toolbox mainly targets intermediaries with expertise in the field of triple bottom line assessments. For small and medium agricultural enterprises and less specialized consultants and NGOs, the toolbox is offering an approach.
Less experience is available on how these enterprises, with the aid on the toolbox, could realize PPP assessments in practice and obtain a clear impression on their economic, social and environmental impacts. Presently enterprises need to hire in consultants for this work, without knowing if there is a clear business case for them in investing in more sustainable production.
The Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) in Amsterdam works on value chain development and sustainable ventures in various programmes and develops instruments for the ANNONA sustainable investment fund to analyse businesses on their triple bottom line impacts. Contributing to the UNEP toolbox allowed KIT to better integrate planet aspects in its work on sustainable markets and value chains, to analyse better how attention to the ‘planet’ may contribute to positive impacts for ‘people’ and ‘profit’.
UNEP and KIT agreed to co-operate in further developing hands-on tools for promoting sustainable consumption and production in developing countries, systematically analyzing sustainable business ventures in developing countries from a lifecycle perspective and helping small and medium enterprises to assess business cases for investing in the environment.
The present report contains three cases of PPP assessments that have been made with the help of the existing guidelines, especially to learn how the guidelines worked in the hands of non-specialized persons and enterprises.