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Winners see business as a tool for change

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Marc Benioff, Felicitas Pantoja, and James Mwangi are the winners of the 2020 Oslo Business for Peace Award

 

More than the bottom line: winners see business as a tool for change

 

09.09.2020, Oslo – Today, the Business for Peace Foundation announced the 2020 Oslo Business for Peace Award winners. The Honourees are: Marc Benioff, Co-Founder, Chair and CEO of Salesforce; James Mwangi, Managing Director and CEO of Equity Group Holdings and Felicitas “Joji” Bautista Pantoja, Co-Founder and CEO of Coffee for Peace.

 

The Oslo Business for Peace Award is given annually to business leaders, as individuals, for their outstanding businessworthy accomplishments; leaders who apply their business energy ethically and responsibly, creating stronger economic and societal value. 

 

An independent Award Committee of Nobel Laureates in Peace and Economics has selected the three outstanding leaders to receive the Award this year. This is following a global nomination process through Business for Peace’s partners: International Chamber of Commerce, Principles for Responsible Investment, United Nations Development Program and United Nations Global Compact. Past winners include Paul Polman, Ouided Bouchamaoui, Richard Branson and Durreen Shahnaz. The 2020 winners (Honourees) will be celebrated at the Business for Peace Summit in May 2021. 

 

Each of the 2020 Honourees transformed their businesses, industries and communities through positive change, inspiring other leaders to follow suit. Benioff established the ‘1-1-1 model,’ whereby a company contributes one percent of profits, equity, and employee hours back to the communities it serves. Mwangi enabled 96% of the unbanked population in Kenya opportunities for broader economic participation. Pantoja provided sustainable livelihoods for indigenous and migrant groups in rural areas, enabling over 880 farmers to escape poverty and build their coffee production capacity. 

 

“In a world of various complexities such as globalisation, polarisation and environmental struggles, this year’s Honourees have led by using business as a tool for change. They are role models to society and their peers, have earned stakeholders’ trust, and stand out as advocates,” says Per Saxegaard, Founder of the Business for Peace Foundation. “Through their business activities they have made substantial contributions towards reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 8: helping to achieve sustained, sustainable and inclusive growth and decent work for all.”

 

“With ten years left until we need to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and at a time when the world is looking for a clear direction, the Business for Peace Honourees show real leadership and the invaluable efforts from the business community,” says Raymond Johansen, Governing Mayor of Oslo. “I am proud that Oslo, for the twelfth year, is hosting the business community’s own award for ethical and sustainable business. It is an example of how to create value for both stakeholders and shareholders.”

 

About the Honourees 

Marc Benioff, Chair and CEO and Co-Founder of Salesforce (United States)

marc_photographMarc Benioff is Chair, CEO, and Co-Founder of Salesforce and a pioneer of cloud computing. Salesforce is the #1 provider of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software globally. Benioff established the ‘1-1-1 model’ of corporate philanthropy, whereby a company contributes one percent of technology, equity, and employee hours back to the communities it serves. Today, Salesforce is a Fortune 500 company with 54,000 employees and 150,000 customers worldwide.  He is an outspoken advocate for business leaders supporting causes such as LGBT rights, education inclusion, wealth reallocation and alleviating homelessness. Benioff is leading a revolution in the tech sector to create a more equal, fair and sustainable way of doing business.

“It is a great honour to be recognised by the Business for Peace Foundation, which recognises that businesses have profound responsibilities to all our stakeholders, including our communities and our planet,” says Benioff. “As more companies embrace stakeholder capitalism and commit to meeting the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, we see that business is the greatest platform for change.”

 

 

James Mwangi, Managing Director and Group CEO of Equity Group Holdings (Kenya)

Dr James Mwangi smalelrDr James Mwangi is one of Africa’s most renowned entrepreneurs. He is credited with democratising financial access by giving the unbanked population opportunities for broader economic participation. He has led Equity to become an integrated financial services group operating in 6 African countries with a client base of over 14 million. Dr Mwangi’s ability to merge economic theory to the practical realities of village life enabled him to revolutionise the banking industry in Africa. Today, Equity is one of the most inclusive banks in the world with clients across the socio-economic spectrum including youth and women.

“I dedicate this Award to our staff and to the millions of our customers who have continuously inspired us by trusting and believing in our common purpose and dream, that together we can solve our problems by seeking innovative solutions anchored on shared value and prosperity,” said Mwangi. “I share this award with our micro, small and medium entrepreneurs who wake up every day to create wealth and opportunities for our society. This Award is a great inspiration to all Africans to believe in their dreams and to pursue them with dedication and conviction that together, we can change our continent within our lifetime.” 

 

 

Felicitas “Joji” Bautista Pantoja, Co-Founder of Coffee for Peace (Philippines)

Joji headshotFelicitas Pantoja has dedicated her career to building peace in conflict zones and improving the lives of marginalized groups through economic stability. Based in the Philippines, Coffee for Peace uses coffee production as a tool to address the economic, environmental and peace issues prevalent in conflict-affected communities. Today, Coffee for Peace provides sustainable livelihoods for Indigenous and migrant groups in rural areas, enabling over 880 farmers to escape poverty and build their coffee production capacity. The company’s focus is on sustainable agriculture, peace and reconciliation between religious groups, environmental protection and entrepreneurship. 

This recognition brings hope. It affirms the dreams and aspirations of our small farming partners, micro-enterprise partners, impact investors, and employees that there are respectable people in the business world who believe in and serve as ‘cheerleaders’ for us who struggle for economic justice. This recognition affirms that inclusive development can be a reality through social enterprise,” says Pantoja.

 

Nobel Prize winners gather to select the 2018 Business for Peace Award Honourees

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The idea is to have the foremost individual representatives of the global society recognising the foremost representatives within business.

Per L. Saxegaard, Founder

I’d like to see the Oslo Business for Peace Award continue to highlight businesses and business people who are doing more than making a lot of money, showing how a successful business can operate in a way that is ethical and that also contributes something really significant to society.

Professor Eric Maskin

Nobel laureates in Peace and Economics gathered in London last week to select the 2018 Oslo Business for Peace Award Honourees. Ms. Ouided Bouchamaoui, Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Professor Finn Kydland, Ms. Leymah Gbowee, and Professor Eric Maskin – the independent Award Committee – are all outstanding role models within their respective fields, with a passion for improving society driving their endeavours. The Committee met at the Norwegian Embassy to select Honourees who share the same commitment to tackling global challenges through positive business leadership.

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Professor Maskin is the newest member of the Committee. He takes over for Michael Spence and brings his highly relevant expertise to the group. The Harvard professor specialises in mechanism design theory, a type of game theory used to build societal institutions that align individual incentives with overall societal goals.

The Foundation is proud to have an independent Committee of Nobel laureates evaluate the candidates and select the winners of the Award each year.  Their involvement adds momentum to the businessworthy movement, aiming to redefine the concepts of success and value-creation in business.

The Founder of the Business for Peace Foundation, Per L. Saxegaard, explains the vision behind the Committee in the following way: “The idea is to have the foremost individual representatives of the global society recognising the foremost representatives within business.”

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When discussing the 2018 Award Nominees, Professor Maskin highlighted the potential that lies in promoting business leaders who choose to act businessworthy: “I’d like to see the Oslo Business for Peace Award continue to highlight businesses and business people who are doing more than making a lot of money, showing how a successful business can operate in a way that is ethical and that also contributes something really significant to society.”

Telling the stories of leaders who combine profit and purpose proves that it is possible to align these joint aims, and that we must do so if we are to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The names of the 2018 Honourees will be announced on 20 March in Oslo. The announcement will be live-streamed for international audiences as well.

Press release: Principles for Responsible Investment new Nomination Partner

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Picture 2 PRI logoThe Foundation is proud to welcome PRI, Principles for Responsible Investment, as our new nomination partner. PRI completes our group of nomination partners, representing investors and the financial sector. PRI is the world’s leading proponent of responsible investment.

 

PRI believes that an economically efficient, sustainable global financial system is a necessity for long-term value creation. The principles whom signatories commit to, contributes to creating a system that rewards long-term, responsible investment and benefits the environment and society as a whole.

 

 

The initiative was launched in 2006, by a group of the world’s largest institutional investors. The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Swedish Folksam and the Norwegian Government Pension Fund are among its founding members. Today, the principles have more than 1.800 signatories from over 50 countries, representing approximately US$70 trillion in assets. It is currently expanding its reach into regions like Asia, South America and Africa. Read more about PRI on their websites.

For more information, please contact External Relations Director Ingrid Baukhol: ingrid@businessforpeace.org

The 2017 Summit Report is here!

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Today the Foundation published the 2017 Summit report, presenting a summary of the discussions that took place  at the 2017 Business for Peace Summit.

The Summit theme was “Brundtland +30: Breakthrough Ideas for Future-Proofing the Global Economy”, highlighting leadership, technology and finance as three essential tools. If you want to know more about what participants such as Gro Harlem Brundtland, Yngve Slyngstad and Marilyn Carlson Nelson consider as breakthrough ideas, read the full report here.

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Read the full Aftenposten article on Business for Peace here

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