Author Archives: Comms

Meet the Winners: Juan Andrés Cano


Cano_Juan Andrés Cano describes himself as a “professional entrepreneur,” one who began by selling candy at school. Today Cano isn’t selling a product, but is working directly with businesses and entrepreneurs to enable them to follow ethical principles and to create sustainable peacebuilding solutions.

A law degree from the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia, and a Diploma in Culture of Peace from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain, gave Cano the foundation he needed to start Semilla Consultores Ltda, an ethics consultancy based in Bogotá that works with clients to develop ethical and sustainability criteria for business management.

The search for sustainable economic models is “the ethics of our time,” Cano says, and Semilla — Spanish for seed — believes that businesses need to prepare “for a market that increasingly requires ethical, transparent, respectful of all people and the environment and, therefore, sustainable practices.”

In addition to Semilla, Cano is Chief Executive Officer of Value4Chain, an organization which helps companies identify areas of improvement in managing ethics, compliance, corporate governance, and generating social and environmental value. Value4Chain utilizes the Index SLA, the Index of Sustainability and Environment Legislation, a tool to record, evaluate, and compare the management of CSR (corporate social responsibility) and sustainability of enterprises and supply chains, based on compliance with international norms and standards.

PeaceStartup, a joint initiative of Value4Chain and Business & Human Rights (Spain), is a recent Cano venture. With PeaceStartup, he and his partners in Colombia and Spain can better work together creating sustainable peacebuilding solutions for businesses and entrepreneurs.

As Cano says, the path of entrepreneurship can be a solitary one and it “is easy to get lost in a jungle of unlimited opportunities. My main personal challenges: to find, understand and support a team and focus on a single problem, one solution. No need to take on the world in one bite.”

Meet the Winners: Paul Polman


PolmanPaul Polman boyhood’s plans didn’t quite work out as he hoped. Growing up in The Netherlands, he wanted to be a doctor. But Dutch medical-school openings were determined by a lottery system and he wasn’t picked. “I still wonder what my life would have been like as a doctor,” he told Management Today in a 2011 interview.

Instead Polman studied for the priesthood in a Carmelite seminary before earning an undergraduate degree in The Netherlands and then coming to the United States for graduate work. He received an MBA in Finance and International Marketing from the University of Cincinnati. Cincinnati, Ohio, happens to be the home of the Proctor & Gamble Company, a multinational consumer goods company. Polman would work for P&G for twenty-seven years before moving to Nestlé in 2006.

in 2009, he was named CEO of Unilever, the multinational Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company. He is also chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, a board member of the United Nations Global Compact, and co-founder of the Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition.

Polman set out to make some changes at Unilever. Shaking up the business world by abandoning Unilever’s earnings forecasts and championing the customer over the investor hasn’t been easy. But, as Polman said, “If we are in synch with consumer needs and the environment in which we operate, and take responsibility for society as well as for our employees, then the shareholder will also be rewarded.”

And Polman has gone further. Under his leadership, Unilever has enacted the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, with the intention of improving health and well-being, reducing environmental impact, and enhancing livelihoods world-wide. The company’s goals for 2020 include helping a billion people improve health and hygiene; cutting the greenhouse gas, water usage, and associated waste impact of its products; and sustainably sourcing 100 percent of its agricultural raw materials.

Within the three large goals are nine separate areas of concentration, with their own individual targets. The company’s website includes a page, where viewers can explore an interactive performance summary. In January, Unilever announced that it has achieved a key sustainability goal of sending zero non-hazardous waste to landfill from its global factory network.

But what will happen, the Management Today interviewer asked, if the sustainable living plan turns out to be unsustainable?

‘I’m uncomfortable about it myself, “ Polman replied. “You have to be if you are going to achieve audacious goals. But what is the alternative? … There will always be cynics who ask: ‘If you miss one target, will you still be the CEO?’ But these people are spectators. We say: ‘We can’t do this on our own, so be part of it.’ In that spirit, I think we can do well and move the world to a better place.”

2015 is a critical year for human development and climate change, as Polman pointed out in a January essay for Huffington In September, world leaders will meet in New York to determine the Sustainable Development Goals that will replace the Millennium Development Goals. Hopes are high that at the December COP 21 Climate Change Conference in Paris, the very real prospect of a global agreement on curbing carbon emissions and the promise of a more stable and sustainable future will be achieved.

“I am optimistic,” he wrote. “Momentum is building. Progress is being made. By changing the way we do business, by seeing the transformation to a low-carbon economy as an opportunity to be seized, not a risk to be managed, by looking beyond our own impacts to systemic areas where we can make a transformational difference, and by working with others to achieve shared goals, business can play a much bigger role in helping to create a better future.

“But there’s no time to lose. The time to act is now.”

Meet the Winners: Poman Lo


Poman_Poman Lo has been mastering adult achievements since she was a young girl. A native Hong Kong, she was named Hong Kong Outstanding Student at 14. A year later, she won the Angier B. Duke Scholarship, a merit scholarship to Duke University. By 19, she had graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology.

In 2000, she joined her family’s business, Regal Hotels International, becoming vice chairperson and managing director of the group’s twenty-five world-class hotels in Hong Kong and mainland China in December, 2013.

Lo has followed the Buddhist ideas of simplicity, environment protection, and harmony in setting forth sustainable development for the Regal group. In 2010, a plan to control carbon emission in the Regal iClub Hotel in Wan Chai was established and the hotel became the first in Hong Kong to be granted carbon neutral status. In addition, most of the Regal hotel restaurants serve a “low carbon ” that emphasizes the use of local food ingredients, reduced use of food additives, and low energy cooking method.

Lo was also looking for other challenges and in 2012, she founded Century Innovative Technology Limited (CIT), is a children’s multimedia company.

A devoted dog lover, Lo used her favorite pets as inspiration for “Bodhi and Friends,” a 3-D animated series featuring the characters of Bodhi and his group of buddies. Developed by CIT, “Bodhi and Friends” now includes more than 100 episodes that have been seen across China and Hong Kong. The company is also producing Bodhi-related educational books, games apps, interactive online games, as well as interactive learning platforms.

Building on the success of Bodhi, Lo launched the Bodhi Love Foundation, to “support significant charity initiatives, especially relating to the holistic health and educational needs of underprivileged children.” The website,, features interactive games and videos that promote positive values and children’s intellectual development.

When she is not busy with her hotel management duties or planning new adventures for Bodhi, Po has worked with UNICEF, the Aiyou Huaxia Charity Foundation, and Centum Charitas Foundation. She has also worked with Oxfam HK, Doctor Pet, the Hong Kong Guide Dog Association, and the Mental Health Foundation.

Renowned Marketing Expert Philip Kotler To Speak At Oslo Business For Peace Award Ceremony


kotlerBWThe Business for Peace Foundation is honoured to have Philip Kotler, acclaimed international authority on marketing and marketing principles, as a speaker at the Oslo Business for Peace Award Ceremony, to be held May 6, in Oslo City Hall, from 17.00–18.30 (5 to 6:30 p.m.). The ceremony is open to the public with registration.

Kotler is the S.C. Johnson & Son Distinguished Professor of International Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and the author of Marketing Management, the definitive marketing textbook, now in its 14th edition. His newest book, Confronting Capitalism: Real Solutions for a Troubled Economic System, examines fourteen major shortcomings facing capitalism today. Each problem’s sources and causes are reviewed, and solutions are offered, including ways to link private and public initiatives to help create shared prosperity and positive change.

Kotler has long favored broadening the field of marketing to include non-profit organizations and government agencies. In 1971, Kotler and Gerald Zaltman defined the field of social marketing, where marketing theory is applied to influence behavioral change that would benefit consumers, their peers, and society as a whole.

In 2010, Kotler founded the World Marketing Summit, an independent global organization focusing on working with global leaders in marketing and business, as well as research and academics, politics and society, and women and gender, with the goals of alleviating poverty and meeting international development objectives.

In addition to Confronting Capitalism, Kotler is the author of over fifty books and 100+ journal articles. The winner of numerous marketing awards and honorary degrees, he was inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame in 2014.

2015 Oslo Business for Peace Honourees Announced


The Business for Peace Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 Oslo Business for Peace Award, given annually to exceptional global business leaders who exemplify the Foundation’s concept of being businessworthy by ethically creating economic value that also creates value for society.  Honourees are selected by an independent committee of Nobel Prize winners in Peace and in Economics after a global nomination process through its partners International Chamber of Commerce, UN Global Compact and UNDP.

The 2015 Business for Peace Honourees are:

Cano_Juan Andrés Cano, Colombia: Cano is CEO of Semilla, an ethics consultancy, and Value4Chain, a technological platform dedicated to sustainability management for businesses. Value4Chain helps to identify gaps and opportunities in managing ethics, compliance, corporate governance, as well as generating social and environmental value, human rights, and peace. Cano is also founder of PeaceStartup, an initiative of Value4Chain (Colombia) and Business & Human Rights (Spain). PeaceStartup focuses on creating sustainable solutions to the challenges of peacebuilding for businesses and entrepreneurs, using information and communication technologies (ICT).
Fernando_Merrill Joseph Fernando, Sri Lanka: Fernando is the founder of Dilmah, Sri Lanka’s leading tea brand. After ending his formal education with the then-equivalent of advanced school level, Fernando moved to Colombo to train as a tea taster. He soon recognized that the amount of labor involved in growing tea in the traditional artisanal manner, combined with the profits going into the wrong pockets, meant that the Ceylon tea industry and its two million dependents would not have a future unless the structure of the tea trade changed. Fernando made a commitment to establishing his own tea brand and fought against Western interests for 38 years until his Dilmah brand was born in 1988. Twenty-five years after the launch of Dilmah, its single-origin, unblended teas are now sold nearly 100 countries. In 1962, Fernando began to share the earnings from his business with his staff and workers. As the business has grown, a minimum 10 percent of the pre‐tax profit is used to fund the work of his MJF Charitable Foundation, which emphasizes empowerment of differently able and under-privileged people in their communities with dignity and in a sustainable manner.
Khouri_Zahi Khouri, Palestine: Khouri and his family escaped the war of 1948, moving to Lebanon with only what they could carry. During his many years outside of Palestine, Khouri held his homeland close to his heart. After the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords, he and a group of diaspora business leaders undertook the challenge to build the economy of the promised Palestinian state. Along with his colleagues, Khouri raised millions of dollars, then returned to Palestine to establish Padico Holding and the Paltel telecommunications company. In 1995, with Palestinian partners, Khouri launched the Palestinian National Beverage Company, which produces and sells Coca-Cola products in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The company also employs hundreds of Palestinians. Khouri established and funded the Zahi Khouri Fellowship Program, providing Palestinian American students and graduates the experience of professional development in Palestine in the fields of education, youth/female empowerment, and economic development.
Poman_Poman Lo, Hong Kong, China: Lo is a Hong Kong-based businesswoman and Group Managing Director of Regal Hotels International. In addition to her success as a young business executive, Lo created Century Innovative Technology Limited, an edutainment company featuring interactive games and multimedia. CIT has published a collection of animated stories about Bodhi and his friends, designed to inspire moral development in children. The series has been published on a daily basis, reaching a total of 1.5 million readers every week. Since its television premiere, “Bodhi and Friends” has aired on over 120 major channels and portals in China, with an estimated 350 million viewers. Following the success of the TV show, Lo launched Combining education, entertainment, and technology, the website integrates educational games, intelligence assessment, and multimedia content. Her goal is to provide equal access to quality education so that children are empowered through knowledge.
PolmanPaul Polman, Netherlands: CEO of Unilever, Polman is a leading voice in sustainability. He is Chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, a member of the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum and serves on the board of the United Nations Global Compact. Under Polman’s leadership, Unilever has set out an ambitious vision to double its corporate size while reducing its overall environmental footprint and increasing its positive social impact. Some 48 percent of Unilever’s agricultural raw materials were sustainably sourced by the end of 2013. Unilever hopes to show progress towards their interim goal of 50 percent in 2015 and 100 percent in 2020.

“Each of the 2015 honourees are remarkable examples of individuals [who] are applying their business energy ethically and responsibly in the interest of also creating a positive impact for society. The Foundation is pleased to recognize their efforts,” says Per L. Saxegaard, Business for Peace Foundation Executive Chairman.

The 2015 Oslo Business for Peace Award winners will be recognized in a ceremony on May 6, 2015, at Oslo City Hall at 17:00 CET. The public is invited. Registration is required and can be made by visiting here. The event will also be webcast and available for viewing at:; details forthcoming.

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