- The Prince and Princess of Asturias presented the award to Iñigo Meirás, CEO of Ferrovial, on 3rd March.
- The Maji ni Uhai project is being developed in cooperation with African NGO AMREF and will benefit more than 50,000 people in the Serengeti district.
The Maji ni Uhai (Water is Life) project, which supplies drinking water to 50,000 people in several populations of the Serengeti in Tanzania, has just been selected by the European Commission among the ten finalists in contention for the European Business Awards for the Environment 2010. The winners will be announced next June.
The Ferrovial-led project has been selected in the category 'International cooperation for sustainable development', after reaching the European competition by winning the national equivalent - organized by the Entorno-BCSD España foundation, along with the support of the Ministry of the Environment and the Biodiversity Foundation - as announced on 3rd March 2010.
The 10 finalists were chosen from 141 entries from 24 EU and candidate countries. The four winners will be announced at a ceremony on 2nd June 2010 during Green Week, the Commission's major annual environmental conference and exhibition event in Brussels. The awards go to companies that spur economic growth by contributing to innovation and competitiveness while also protecting the environment.
In addition to Ferrovial, nine other projects will compete in three different categories. These entries come from Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Turkey and the UK.
Preserving the environment makes enormous economic, social and business sense, said Janez Potocnik, European Commissioner for the Environment. These Awards recognise the most far-sighted, responsible and eco-innovative companies in Europe and play a major role in identifying and promoting best practices. EBAE winners are the best of the best.
Award in Spain
On 3rd March, their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Asturias presented Íñigo Meirás, CEO of Ferrovial, with the International Cooperation Award for Sustainable Development for its project Maji ni Uhai, which the company is developing in Tanzania.
This award is part of the European Business Awards for the Environment in Spain, which every two years is presented by the Fundación Entorno-BCSD España with the support of the Ministry of the Environment and the Biodiversity Foundation. The award-winners have the opportunity to take part in the Europe-wide final organized by the European Commission, to which projects from the 27 member States are presented.
Ferrovial is cooperating with AMREF on this project, which involves the development of sanitary and water supply infrastructure in five municipalities in the Serengeti district: Issenye, Kyambahi, Kebanchebancha, Rin 'Wani and Natta. It aims to improve health and living standards in local communities, providing them with clean water and sanitary installations as well as educating, raising awareness and promoting good water usage practices.
Íñigo Meirás, CEO of Ferrovial, showed his appreciation for the award and stressed that this project responds to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals to which Ferrovial has adhered since 2002. One of the objectives of the UN is to promote business involvement in the fight against poverty. For this reason, with Maji ni Uhai Ferrovial is directly involved in development cooperation.
Maji ni Uhai aims to ensure that the infrastructure which is built in Tanzania becomes the basis for sustainable economic development in the region. With this idea, Ferrovial and AMREF are working on a horizontal project to enhance women's skills in this area, and train local communities.
Tanzania's government is promoting infrastructure development to improve the supply of drinking water in rural areas. Ferrovial's initiative will increase access to drinking water in the area from 23% to 60% by 2011. Maji ni Uhai, which will run until 2011, involves local authorities, social organizations and private companies. The model of the project is innovative since Ferrovial has become a partner; not only funding the project (1.8 million euros over three years), but also providing technical and technological expertise, as well as involving company specialists through its corporate volunteering program.
About the European Commission's European Business Awards for the Environment
The European Business Awards for the Environment, now in their 7th edition, are organized by the European Commission's Directorate-General for the Environment. The awards aim to publicly recognize those organizations that through their actions have contributed to meeting the principles of sustainable development and whose efforts may set an example for other companies.
AMREF (African Medical and Research Foundation) is the largest international health organisation that is totally African in its origins and management. It was founded in Kenya in 1957 in order to meet the medical and health needs of the most disadvantaged areas of Africa. In 1996 it established a branch in Spain under the name AMREF Flying Doctors. More information: www.amref.es
Ferrovial is one of the world's leading infrastructure groups, with over 100,000 employees, a presence in 49 countries and operations in a range of complementary industries such as construction, airport and toll road management and maintenance, and municipal services. The company owns two of the world's leading private transport infrastructures: Heathrow airport, in London, and 407 Express Toll Route, in Toronto. Over 60% of Ferrovial's revenues come from outside Spain, mainly from other OECD countries. The company, which is listed on the Madrid Stock Exchange, is a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices and the FTSE4Good index.