VIENNA – Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of soleRebels – Africa’s fastest growing footwear brand – has joined the advisory board of the Green Industry Platform, convened by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the UN Environment Programme.
Addis Ababa-based soleRebels, founded by Alemu in 2004, has succeeded as a socially and environmentally responsible manufacturer, with its range of artisan-made shoes now selling in 55 countries through strong linkages with retailers in Asia, the European Union and the United States of America.
Alemu has become one of Africa’s most celebrated businesswomen. In June 2011, she won the award for Most Outstanding Businesswoman at the annual African Business Awards, and, in the same year, she was selected as a ‘Young Global Leader’ by the World Economic Forum. In 2012, she was named ‘Woman to Watch’ on Forbes magazine’s World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list, and, in 2013, CNN ranked Alemu fourth on their list of 12 Women Entrepreneurs Who Changed the Way the World does Business over the last Century.
As a member of the Green Industry Platform’s Advisory Board, Alemu will work alongside other government, business and civil society leaders to help guide the direction and strategy of the Platform’s activities and to advise on how to most effectively meet the Platform’s objective of scaling up and mainstreaming green industry policies and practices on a global level.
“I am extremely honoured to join the Advisory Board and I am looking forward to working with a diversity of international actors and using soleRebels’ experience to help benefit others,” said Alemu.
soleRebels’ participation in the Green Industry Platform will help to promote the concept of environmentally sustainable, socially conscious and economically viable manufacturing. The company’s products incorporate as much recycled and sustainable materials as possible, derived from a growing network of local suppliers, and include components such as hand-spun and hand-loomed organic cotton fabrics and natural fibres, including Abyssinian hemp and koba.
By sourcing its material locally, using recycled automobile tyres for the production of rubber soles and relying on manual tools to hand-craft its products, soleRebels is realizing Alemu’s commitment to carry forward Ethiopia’s tradition of eco-sensible craft making and to ensure a zero-carbon footprint for the company.
Alemu will be speaking about the mobilization of global capital to support green industries at the upcoming Green Industry Conference 2013 in Guangzhou, China, from 7 to 9 November 2013.
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