Green Banana Paper and UN Sustainable Development Goal 1

June 07, 2019

Green Banana Paper and UN Sustainable Development Goal 1

This is the first piece in a segment examining the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Green Banana Paper. All information about the SDGs is based on information from the Sustainable Development Goals Knowledge Platform. 

Sustainable Development Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere

SDG 1: No Poverty

Target 1.1: By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day 
Indicator 1.1: Proportion of population below the international poverty line, by sex, age, employment status and geographical location (urban/rural)

What to know:

  • Goal 1 calls for an end to poverty in all its manifestations by 2030. It also aims to ensure social protection for the poor and vulnerable, increase access to basic services and support people harmed by climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters.
  • The international poverty line is currently defined at $1.90 or below per person per day using 2011 United States dollars purchasing power parity (ppp). In the decade beginning in 2002, the proportion of the world’s population living below the poverty line dropped by half, from 26 per cent to 13 per cent. If growth rates during those 10 years prevail for the next 15 years, the global extreme poverty rate will likely fall to 4 per cent by 2030, assuming that growth benefits all income groups of the population equally. However, if the growth rates over the longer period of 20 years prevail, the global poverty rate will likely be around 6 per cent. In other words, eliminating extreme poverty will require a significant change from historical growth rates.
  • In 2015, 10.2 per cent of the world’s workers were living with their families on less than $1.90 per person per day, down from 28 per cent in 2000. Young people are especially likely to be among the working poor: 16 per cent of all employed youth aged 15 to 24 were considered working poor, compared to 9 per cent of adults.
  • In 2016, just under 10 per cent of the world’s workers were living with their families on less than $1.90 per person per day, down from 28 per cent in 2000. In the least developed countries, nearly 38 per cent of workers in 2016 were living below the poverty line. 

Progress as of 2018:

  • The rate of extreme poverty has fallen rapidly: in 2013 it was a third of the 1990 value. The latest global estimate suggests that 11 per cent of the world population, or 783 million people, lived below the extreme poverty threshold in 2013.
  • The proportion of the world’s workers living with their families on less than $1.90 per person a day declined significantly over the past two decades, falling from 26.9 per cent in 2000 to 9.2 per cent in 2017.

Green Banana Paper’s role:

Green Banana Paper was founded to create on-island jobs and sustainable livelihoods for people in Kosrae. The small island has limited economic flow and few job opportunities, making it difficult to end generational cycles of poverty. As a high school teacher for five years, Matt Simpson observed that many of his former students were unemployed in Kosrae or in the USA working for minimum wage. 

“While a lot of my graduating students would leave the island in search of jobs or for further education, many would stay on Kosrae, jobless and unable to afford to support themselves or their families. The younger generations are basically forced to trade their beautiful home and families for minimum wage jobs in America. Having left such a life in America myself, I wanted to help create employment opportunities for as many young people as possible, right here on Kosrae.”

Green Banana Paper now employs 22 people, making the company one of the top three private sector employers on the rural island in the Federated States of Micronesia 3,000 miles west of Hawaii and north of New Zealand.

On numbers, the minimum wage in Kosrae is $1.42/hour and the Federated States of Micronesia National Government minimum wage is $2.65/hour. In Green Banana Paper’s company policy regarding the declaration of wages, after one year of training, at the latest, employers’ hourly wages are well above the FSM National Government minimum wage. While we do not have formal statistics on the company’s exact impact on the eradication of poverty in Kosrae, it is clear that this company is having a positive impact, especially for young people ages approximately 20-30 living in multi-generational homes.

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