LONDON, 6 April 2004 – UNICEF and Stora Enso, the global forest products company, today entered into a five-year agreement to help UNICEF achieve quality basic education for children everywhere. With annual cash contributions and voluntary initiatives, Stora Enso intends to contribute USD 2.5 million during the five-year period.
Stora Enso will become UNICEF’s first global corporate partner in basic education. Stora Enso’s contributions will be two-fold: a cash donation of USD 250,000 annually and an equal amount through a series of in-kind gifts and employee’s voluntary fund raising activities
“By working with us to help the world’s most disadvantaged children receive a basic education, Stora Enso is demonstrating the best kind of corporate responsibility,” said UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy, at a ceremony sealing the partnership at Stationers’ Hall in London. “We thank Stora Enso for working on behalf of the millions of children growing up without the priceless benefits of education.”
Worldwide, 121 million primary-school-age children are currently denied schooling. More than half of them are girls. UNICEF focuses strategically on protecting the right of girls to an education since they generally face higher barriers than boys to get into and stay in school.
Educating girls is the best way to ensure that they will have a healthier, fuller life and that countries will develop. It is the most effective tool to tackle such problems as infant and maternal mortality, HIV/AIDS, child trafficking and exploitation. While continuing its regular education programmes globally, UNICEF has launched the ‘25 by 2005’ campaign, an accelerated effort to get as many girls as boys into school in 25 countries by the year 2005.
Jukka Harmala, CEO of Stora Enso, said he believes education is a cause that will be embraced by the company’s 44,000 employees worldwide.
“Stora Enso works on five continents in the world, and every country and community is of great importance to us,” he said, presenting Bellamy with the company’s first USD 250,000 contribution. “Like UNICEF, we know that education is the key both to personal growth and broader development. In our everyday work we have seen that the way toward sustainable development is based on education.” And he added, “I am sure that we will be able to attract support from our partners as well.”
Bellamy said corporate partnerships are an important part of UNICEF’s mission.
“Corporate partnerships like this one recognize that improving the lives of children requires the devotion and assistance of both the public and private sectors,” said Bellamy. “There is no one who should not, in some way, be part of this most noble cause.”
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ABOUT STORA ENSO
Stora Enso is an integrated paper, packaging and forest products company producing publication and fine papers, packaging boards and wood products, areas in which the Group is a global market leader. Stora Enso sales totalled EUR 12.2 billion in 2003. The Group has some 44 000 employees in more than 40 countries in five continents and an annual production capacity of 15.7 million tonnes of paper and board and 7.4 million cubic metres of sawn wood products, including 2.8 million cubic metres of value-added products. Stora Enso's shares are listed in Helsinki, Stockholm and New York.
Founded in 1946, UNICEF helps save, protect and improve the lives of children around the world through immunization, education, health care, nutrition, clean water and sanitation. UNICEF is non-partisan and its cooperation is free of discrimination. In everything it does, the most disadvantaged children and the countries in greatest need have priority.
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