GCU wins Unilever International Award, supported by Business Fights Poverty 2014

9 July 2014
Stephen Howard, Business in the Community; Professor John Wilson, GCU; Satu Monda, GCCN Scholar, Professor Frank Crossan; GCCN and Sue Garrard, Unilever

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) is the first university to win the Unilever International Award, in recognition of its work with The Grameen Caledonian College of Nursing (GCCN).

The University won the small business category at Business in the Community’s Responsible Business Gala Dinner, held in London’s Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday, July 8.

The Unilever International Award, supported by Business Fights Poverty, recognises businesses which demonstrate positive impact against one or more of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals - targets designed to promote development in areas such as promoting education, improving healthcare and reducing child poverty.

GCU was recognised for its work with the Grameen Healthcare Trust in co-founding GCCN.

Keith Weed, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Unilever, who chaired the judging panel, said: “The College is run with passion, belief and complete understanding of the cultural context. It is transforming the nursing industry in Bangladesh and at the same time adding social value to women. We had the pleasure of meeting Bristy Rokeya Akter, a GCCN student who personified the impact of this programme.”

GCCN Principal Professor Frank Crossan; Glasgow School for Business and Society Executive Dean Professor John Wilson and GCCN student Satu Mondal joined HRH The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, as well as 1400 business leaders, for the ceremony.

GCCN was established in 2010 in Dhaka, Bangladesh to provide disadvantaged young women with access to international standard nursing education and clinical practice, in the process raising the status of the profession in Bangladesh and providing opportunities, education and leadership training to women from impoverished backgrounds across the country.

GCU Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Pamela Gilles CBE, said: “GCU is very proud of this College for disadvantaged young women of Bangladesh, based on an innovative, sustainable social business model in partnership with the Grameen Healthcare Trust.

“It is having a real impact on poverty, health, and the empowerment of women in rural communities. It demonstrates what can be achieved when the determination and foresight of a Nobel Laureate, GCU’s Chancellor Professor Muhammad Yunus, is supported by the professional excellence of local and international college staff.”

Business in the Community’s (BITC’s) Responsible Business Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of companies tackling key social and environmental challenges.

There were two winners in the Unilever International Award category, with pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline taking the large company section of the prize.

The 2014 winners were selected from a group of more than 150 leading companies recognised for demonstrating commitment and achievement in responsible business and for demonstrating that making a positive difference in society can also be a key driver for business performance.

Stephen Howard, Chief Executive, Business in the Community, said: “Responsible Business Award winners have demonstrated innovation to drive positive change in our communities. I congratulate Glasgow Caledonian University for playing its part to build a new contract between business and society and a more sustainable future for us all.”