Markets could not flourish without a strong underlying moral culture,animated by empathy and fellow-feeling, by our ability to understand our common bond as human beings and to recognize the needs of others. Adam Smith

The 2012 Honourees

The 2012 Oslo Business for Peace Honourees have been named by the Foundation’s independent award committee. Their trailmaking contribution to a wider acceptance of Businessworthy behavior will be recognized during the Oslo Business for Peace Summit on May 7, 2012.
The Oslo Business for Peace Award is ordinarily given to outstanding nominees for their adding to a better understanding of the relationship between ethical business practices and peace.

Adam Smith has been wrongfully used to defend predatory business practices. It is particularly his “invisible hand” metaphor which has been misused. Unknown to many, and truer to his writings, is his statement that “Markets could not flourish without a strong underlying moral culture animated by empathy and fellow-feeling, by our ability to understand our common bond as human beings and to recognize the needs of others.” The Foundation is confident that the 2012 Honourees are strong exemplars to others in proving the worth of that statement.

The 2012 Business for Peace Awards

Ibrahim Abouleish (Egypt) -
Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish is the founder of the comprehensive development initiative SEKEM, in Egypt. During a journey through Egypt in 1975, Dr. Abouleish was overwhelmed by his country’s overpopulation, and its pollution, particularly from the use of chemical pesticides. SEKEM has been a leader in developing and spreading biodynamic farming methods in Egypt. The organization’s commitment regarding innovative development has led to widespread use of biodynamic methods in pest control and to the improvement of yields. SEKEM means “vitality from the sun,” and remarkably Dr. Abouleish has stated that: “I had a vision of a three-fold project that would allow me to contribute to community-building, humanity, and healing the earth. The desert was like the canvas of a painting, but without a frame.”

Eduardo Eurnekian (Argentina) -
Eduardo Eurnekian is president of Corporacion America. Eurnekian has a strong commitment to peace and reconciliation, and advocates genuine restoration and reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia, with the consolidation of bilateral relations between the two countries. He is a prominent advocate of ethical business practices, who sold all his media holdings when diversifying into other sectors of the Argentinian economy, in order not to have privileged access to the media, “in a manner that would imply unfair competition with other companies.” As honorary chairman of the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, and as Vice President of the Argentinian Chamber of Commerce, as well as a member of the B20 group that advises the G20 nations, he is able to spread his business wisdom globally and significantly.

Vladas Lasas (Lithuania) -
Dr. Vladas Lasas, CEO/Founder of Skubios siuntos UAB Kaunas & UPS/Lithuania, is an inspirational business leader who is helping drive awareness of how technology, cooperation and synergy can provide important solutions to pressing, global problems. He is co-founder of the Carbon War Room, the global non-profit initiative by entrepreneurs to implement market-driven solutions to climate change. His numerous involvements and initiatives all have as a common goal to bring together resources from a number of fields and disciplines, across established boundaries, in order to find ways to make the world a better place. In a play on his last name, which means “drop of water” in Lithuanian, his business card declares “Every drop counts.”

David W. MacLennan (USA) -
Dave MacLennan is the President and Chief Operating Officer at Cargill, Inc. Under MacLennan’s guidance, Cargill has developed management systems and policies to ensure environmental compliance, prevent pollution and continually improve performance on criteria relevant to their business and operations. The group’s commitment in this area has led the way for others, in showing that it is possible to have a proven social responsibility record, and also be a leader in profitability and growth. The Ethical Guiding Principles developed for the group, under MacLennan’s stewardship, can serve as a guideline for all businesses.

Reginald A Mengi (Tanzania) -
Reginald A. Mengi is the founder and chairman of the IPP Group. From humble beginnings, Mr. Mengi’s company today ranks amongst the largest private companies in Tanzania. Mr. Mengi has consistently advocated the need for business to actively engage with communities and take responsibility for their development. He promotes initiatives that assist the disadvantaged and infirm, and is seen to be in the forefront in fostering national unity as a leading advocate for peaceful coexistence. He indiscriminately contributes to all religious faiths, and helps finance the construction of schools. The examples of social responsibility set by Mr. Mengi are widely emulated in the Tanzanian business community. Mengi’s business peers have shown their trust by voting him “most respected CEO in East Africa“ for 3 successive years.

Latifur Rahman (Bangladesh) -
Latifur Rahman is the Chairman and CEO of the Transcom Group. The group’s growth has taken place under adherence to ethical and responsible business practices that serve as a guideline for other businesses in the region. The group is one of the highest corporate tax, VAT and import duty payers in Bangladesh, with a clean bank record. The companies in the group also adhere to labor standards and industrial laws. Other businesses in the region look up to Mr. Latifur Rahman for leadership and guidance for his integrity, ethical standards and business acumen – well illustrated by Mr. Rahman’s reelection as chairman of the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry for a total of seven terms.

The press release announcing the 2012 Business for Peace Honourees can be found here. (PDF download)