November 16, 2017, Jakarta – WEConnect International, in collaboration with Freeport-McMoRan Foundation, today hosted the Women’s Business Growth Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, with the theme expanding market opportunities for women-owned businesses in Indonesia. The summit brought together more than 65 participants that comprised of owners of women-owned businesses, corporations committed to sourcing more from women-owned businesses in Indonesia, government representatives, civil society, and other thought leaders, to discuss how to improve market access for women-owned businesses in local and global value chains.
“We are pleased to bring these diverse voices together to network and share their business experiences”, said Elizabeth Vazquez, CEO & Co-Founder of WEConnect International. “We believe business opportunities that are specifically tailored to the needs of women, such as this summit, will engage a greater number of women in local economies, increasing their earning power and, in turn, accelerating increased economic activity and sustainability”, Vazquez added.
Extensive global studies demonstrate that investing in women’s economic empowerment accelerates economic and social development, increases sustainability and improves social well-being for the community at-large. When women increase their income, they typically reinvest a significant portion in their families and communities, spreading wealth far beyond themselves. This is one reason why countries with greater gender equality tend to have lower poverty rates.
Freeport-McMoRan is committed to investing in women’s economic empowerment through programs such as the Women’s Business Growth Summit, which is the first of its kind, as one way of connecting women to opportunities to grow small businesses, increasing their ability to participate equally in their local economies, and helping to create more diversified, sustainable communities.
The initiative and partnership with WEConnect International also aligns with the United Nations Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically the Gender Equity Goal (Goal 5), which calls for ensuring women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities in economic and public life. .
In 2017, Presidential Decree No. 59 was enacted to support Indonesia’s implementation of the SDGs through an inclusive process involving all stakeholders. The decree cited the SDGs as a useful framework for addressing inequality and ensuring that no one is left behind.
“Freeport-McMoRan Inc. has committed to partner with WEConnect International and others to work on creating an enabling environment that increases gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, including the implementation of small business development and supplier readiness initiatives, targeting at least 2,000 women-owned businesses in countries where the company operates between 2017 and 2020,” Tracy Bame, President of the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation said.
The Women’s Business Growth Summit, includes talks on Why and How Corporations Buy from Women, Leveraging Local Resources, Scaling Your Business and Creating Sustainable Market Opportunities, as well as a roundtable discussion on The Future of Indonesian Women Owned Businesses.
About WEConnect International:
WEConnect International is a global corporate-led non-profit created by multinational corporations committed to supplier diversity and inclusion and to expanding market opportunities for women-owned businesses. Annually, its corporate members purchase over $1 trillion in goods and services, of which less than 1% goes to women-owned businesses, and WEConnect International was created to address this gap.
Established in 2009 WEConnect International connects member buyers with women-owned businesses ready to compete in global value chains, supports members with developing and growing their global inclusive sourcing efforts, builds the capacity of women-owned businesses to compete, links women-owned businesses based in over 100 countries to one another for international opportunities, and upholds the global standard and international certification verifying that a business is truly women-owned. This certification is recognized in the U.S. and 21 other countries as the leading mechanism for companies, consumers, investors, and governments to verify that a business is at least 51% owned, managed, and controlled by one or more women.
About Freeport-McMoRan Foundation:
At the core of our business are the extraordinary people who focus on safe production while helping to improve the sustainability of areas near our operations. This means Freeport-McMoRan operate a business that upholds and respects human rights while working with our stakeholders on the fundamental environmental, social and economic aspects of our sustainability programs.
Mining operations inevitably create economic, social and environmental impacts on local communities. Some of these impacts may include changes to land use and population influx, while others includes economic opportunities and development in the areas of infrastructure, health and education. We engage with local stakeholders throughout project lifecycles to build the relationships and trust needed to operate and grow our business. Our Community Policy requires collaboration with communities to minimize and mitigate unavoidable adverse impacts and to maximize opportunities to deliver value from our operations.
Transparent and consistent engagement ensures communities have input into our development projects and ongoing operations, promotes understanding of our business, and ultimately reduces risk to our plans. Communication with local stakeholders takes place via a number of channels, such as formally through open houses linked to regulatory processes, informally through interactions with our community development representatives in the field, or through community partnership panels and community investment funds or foundations.
The Freeport-McMoRan Foundation is based at the company’s corporate headquarters office in Phoenix, Arizona, and is one of four Foundations the company has in each country in which it operates. The Freeport-McMoRan Foundation supports global initiatives aligned with our sustainable development objectives, and is the primary source of funding for social programs in the United States. The Foundations programs and partnerships promote education, economic development, environment, as well as health and wellness, with the goal of facilitating sustainable community development through inclusive engagement with communities.