We are business partners with UNICEF and Schools for Africa. The partnership is described at UNICEFs web site. Below is the appendix from our book, Responsible and Profitable, where we describe why we have decided to collaborate with UNICEF.
Knowledge has a unique feature: unlike other resources, it increases in value when it is shared. In spite of this, knowledge is unfortunately in short supply in many parts of the world. With this book we wish to develop and disseminate knowledge about responsible business models. We also want to do more. In line with our own perspective, we have tried to carry this project out in a way that entails that we both cast light and minimize shadow, so that we create positive externalities and reduce the negative externalities of the project as far as possible.
There are initially no extensive negative externalities associated with writing a book. We work and live, however, on the ‘opposite sides of the mountain’ and we have tried to minimize the shadow of this project by traveling as little as possible. We have done this by writing the book interactively on Google Drive, thereby reducing the distance between us by ‘virtual’ means. Similarly, we have contacted each other through the telephone instead of actual meetings, and the few times we have met along the way, we have added these to the journeys we were obliged take in the course of fulfilling other obligations. We applied the same principle to the interviews we have conducted with managers in several of the businesses that we have written about in the book. These interviews took place in part when we have been in the same location as the interviewees and in part by telephone and email.
Inspired by one for one, one of the business models that we have discussed in Responsible and profitable, we are also trying to cast light with the book. Blake Mycoskie based himself on this model when he started TOMS Shoes (see Chapter 2), and a similar model is suitable for this project. For this reason four per cent of the sales of this book will go to UNICEF and their project Schools for Africa. Furthermore, we shall provide a minimum of ten per cent of the revenues from lectures that are based on the book for the same purpose.
One-third of the children in southern Africa do not attend school, and this is a strong brake on development. We are both former students of the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH), and we are still affiliated with this institution in various ways. Since 2007 NHH students through NHH Aid (www.nhhaid.no) have been contributing large sums to Schools for Africa, more particularly Malawi. Together with UNICEF and NHH Aid, we have decided, therefore, that the money we collect will go to projects in Malawi through NHH Aid. Malawi is unquestionably one of the world’s poorest countries, and a large proportion of the population have HIV and AIDS. Knowledge is one of the most important ways of preventing the further spread of this disease.
In Malawi, the funds are used, among other things, to build schools, to purchase teaching materials, and to provide continuing education to teachers. Four per cent of the revue per book might not sound like much. But it is a substantial part of what we earn from this, and for every book sold UNICEF will receive enough so that one child, for example, can get the necessary school supplies for an entire year.
In this way we hope that Responsible and profitable will have a double effect. First, we want the readers to get some ideas and inspiration to create responsible business models for their own businesses. Secondly, we want this book to help children and young people in Malawi to get an education. UNICEF has with this commitment already made a difference to thousands of children and young people. Now we hope that our readers and we can help UNICEF in their meaningful work.
Visit www.unicef.no to read more about how your organization can also become a UNICEF-partner.