Author Archives: Comms

In memory of Erik Belfrage

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Erik Belfrage.

Erik Belfrage

Erik was an esteemed and highly respected board member of Business for Peace Foundation. He sadly passed away in Stockholm on the 18th of April after suffering complications from COVID-19. He was 74 years old.

 

Erik had a long career as a Swedish diplomat and business leader. He served for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1970-87 in Geneva, Washington, D.C., Bucharest, Beirut, and Paris. In 1987, he became Vice President at Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken and as an adviser to Investor AB.

 

He also served as an advisor to Peter Wallenberg and the Wallenberg family between 1987 and 2012 before setting up a consultancy firm, Consilio International. “I think working is a good thing for you,” he said, commenting on why he did not think of retiring at the time most people would.

 

The Foundation is deeply grateful for the work and services Erik has given to the Foundation over many years. We mourn the loss of a great person and dear friend.

 

 

All businesses that can step up, need to step up immediately

 

 

Dear friends in the business community, 

The COVID-19 pandemic has already caused mass tragedy and disruption in many parts of the world. With the world’s economy in disarray, we are all wondering what the future has in store for the global business community. As the challenges seem insurmountable for many, it is becoming increasingly clear that our collective response to this crisis will likely be a defining moment of our generation.

 

The impacts of this crisis tear at the very fabric of our societies. Countries without the means for massive stimulus packages, effective distancing initiatives and adequate health care capacity may crumble under civil unrest. According to the International Labour Organization, current lockdown measures affect the livelihoods of 2.7 billion people, over 80% of the global workforce. For most countries, measures to address the pandemic will lead to a sharp decline in economic activities, with potentially the largest GDP declines in a century. 

This is a call to the global business community to step up and accept significant sacrifice in order to see us through this crisis, and help pave the way for a rapid recovery once the pandemic is brought under control. I know this is an extremely challenging time for many businesses, with many of you facing imminent bankruptcy. However, all businesses – and governments – that still have the means to step up need to step up immediately and do everything in their power to help avoid societal breakdown.

 

Inject liquidity into the market. Anyone that is able to contribute to this process needs to, even if it means significant sacrifices to your own wealth. If we don’t stop the economic devastation, many businesses may not have any profitable markets to operate in for years to come. Many governments understand this and are doing what they can, but businesses must make sacrifices for this purpose as well. As much as possible, make sure your staff have income and can continue to work safely. Investors and large corporations should continue to produce goods and pay staff to keep the economy going. On the bright side, much innovation can come out of instability, as we adapt to new modes of consumption and delivery.

Make smart use of the money you have. This is not the time for profiteering, it is the time to help our collective economic survival. In a recent survey of asset managers, nearly every second investor said it was a good idea to use corporate money to buy back shares. This is not only tone deaf in this moment, it is a mockery of the hundreds of millions that have lost their livelihoods. Every able company and investor must do what they can to secure jobs, inject liquidity into local communities, and ensure supply chain security. If there ever was a time to prioritise businessworthy leadership, it is now.

Ensure the security of critical goods and services. Supply chains of essential goods and services must be protected and maintained. Whatever your businesses’ role is in the chain, do your part to ensure consistency of delivery. We are already seeing encouraging examples of companies shifting their production to medical equipment, while essential workers put themselves at risk every day to keep us healthy. Think about what you can do now to ensure there is a supply chain to restart once this crisis is over.

 

If we rise to the occasion, we can get through this together. If we don’t, we risk dismantling entire markets and infrastructures. There are countless examples around the world of business leaders choosing the ethical route and being businessworthy by making personal sacrifices and doing everything they can for the greater good right now. I encourage all of you with the means to contribute to do so. If the Business for Peace team can support you in any way, let us know. We can get through this together, but only if we collaborate for the greater good.

 

Keep distancing and stay safe,

Marius Døcker

COVID-19 update: a letter from Marius

Dear Friends,

 

Like you, our team is adapting to a new mode of daily life in this global crisis. I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and well. 

 

I know that you are receiving many newsletters these days. I wanted to update you on Business for Peace’s plans and ask for you to join us in leading a united businessworthy response to the challenges we are all facing.

 

We will not be convening the Business for Peace Summit this 13-14 May in Oslo as originally planned. We hope to be able to gather with you in-person again soon, but none of us know exactly when this pandemic will be over.  As soon as our new plans start to take shape, we will be in touch. We are also delaying the announcement of the 2020 Oslo Business for Peace Award recipients. Our Award Committee has selected exceptional leaders to receive the award this year and we look forward to telling you about them in due time and celebrating them at our next Summit. 

 

Now more than ever, businessworthy leadership is required. The impact of this pandemic is unprecedented, affecting our health, lives, businesses and economies. The global business community must stand behind the efforts of governments and the World Health Organisation to manage the pandemic and re-build our societies and economies afterwards. I know this is an extremely challenging time for many businesses but it is also a time when we must stand by our values and support our employees, neighbours and the most vulnerable. Let us show determination, collaboration, solidarity and generosity. 

 

Over the coming weeks and months, our team will connect with you online as we all get through this together. 

 

Wishing you all the best.

 

Marius Døcker

Oslo Business for Peace Award statuette

Travel must be a part of the solution

Humans are explorers. Travel allows us to see the world in a different way and experience new things together. 

 

After the Business for Peace #FutureOf Travel event, attendees were left thinking about the convenience of travel compared to its environmental impact and how this may influence our decisions as consumers. Our pull to explore our world and learn more doesn’t have to be compromised, but various players in the industry need to do their part, too. How do companies incentivise sharing our personal car, for example, in order to reduce the number of cars on the road? 

 

 

We hosted this event to talk with industry professionals about what they are doing to combat the potential negative effects of travel. Therefore, our panel consisted of experts from a broad range of industries within the travel sector. It included Anders Fagernæs from Norwegian airline, Astrid Bergmål from Virke tourism association, and Ane Furu from Møller Mobility Group. Our moderator was author and founder of 12YEARS, Petter Gulli. 

Future of travel panel and moderator

Our panel: Astrid Bergmål, Anders Fagernæs, Petter Gulli, and Ane Furu. Photo: Trym Schade Warloe

The conversation started with an acknowledgement that effective and open cooperation within the industry needs to happen immediately. There must be a balance between environmental arguments and societal value. Fagernæs explained how “sustainability is a divisive topic. If we have to set goals together, I need to trust the person next to me, so it is important that we understand each other. I think we shouldn’t focus on travel as being bad. We need to look at the solutions.”

 

Our desire to explore the world certainly isn’t something to be ashamed of. As Bergmål put it: “People will always want to meet. We are explorers. Travel must be a part of the solution when it comes to [the Sustainable Development Goals]. We want to know other cultures, understand more, get to know people. It is the glue for many families.”

 

“It is easy to make excuses,” Bergmål says. “The footprint has to go down, and the emission has to be zero. By not travelling, we are taking away focus from the real solution.” Fagernæs argues that we are not flying more domestically, but tens of thousands of jobs in Norway alone require travel in their work. “Think about businesses and their livelihood. It is important to understand the impact and that we have to live with some environmental cost to make it work.” One-day business travel continues to increase. However, the more convenient something is, the less likely consumers are to seek out alternatives.

Panel debate underway

Astrid Bergmål, with Anders Fagernæs and Ane Furu in the background. Photo: Trym Schade Warloe

 

 

 

Yet there continues to be a high number of flights made available. If flights continue to be high-carbon contributors, then the solution needs to be sought elsewhere. Being flexible with shared solutions and relying on startups will bring new services that are tailored to people’s needs. Fagernæs admits that although aviation is only 2% of global emissions “we need to fly smarter, make use of the newest technology.” Would people choose trains more if trains were faster? Bergmål thinks so: “Politicians should work more on getting more train routes, domestic and international. Trains don’t go that often and it takes too long.” Stockholm-Oslo is today a six-hour journey, but plans are in the works for making this a mere four-hour connection. Securing a train route from Oslo to Copenhagen, for example, would make train travel to the rest of Europe even quicker.

 

Furu mentioned that in her own personal convenience scenario, she used to happily drive to work via car from her home in Grunerløkka, near Oslo’s city centre. However, once the local government made this everyday commute of hers into an inconvenience, she promptly looked for alternative solutions and started using public transit as an alternative travel solution.

 

Furu further points out that “More than 80% of the population is living in rural areas. We need to travel for our daily lives.” We therefore need to make sure that there are better ways to provide transport for people living in rural areas. Furu reiterates that it is important to think strategically about how to share assets and to utilise a fleet in an efficient way. This beneifts both business and consumer. “Remove friction from car sharing to make it more convenient. Norwegians don’t want to sit together when they travel, but we can reduce the boundaries for sharing assets.We need regulators to dedicate parking space.”

Ane Furu talking to Petter Gulli

Consumers have a responsibility as well. This responsibility mostly lies in pushing companies and legislators to solve the problem–and trusting them to follow through. “As a person I have my wallet and have my vote. As a consumer I can choose the smartest way to travel,” Fagernæs said.

 

Bergmål wants consumers to make businesses “Can we skype more? Should I take the train instead? I can organise my life to have more meetings in one destination?” Businesses need to think in terms of the everyday. This also lessens the pressure on the individual consumer, “rather than taking away someone’s holiday.”

 

The audience was interested in a breadth of recurring issues, more ideas, and solutions. Electric planes and city transit, for example. One question about batteries for electric vehicles, for example, asked whether the pollution from creating those batteries was justifiable. This is just the beginning of this discussion. The intriguing Q&A session, plus the panel talk in its entirety, can be found here:

 

People will and should continue to travel in the future. However, this travel needs to be smarter and more sustainable. We achieve this by utilising new as well as existing innovative solutions. These solutions ensure the future of our planet.

 

Thanks to everyone for coming out to participate! Photo: Trym Schade Warloe

Thanks to everyone for coming out to participate! Photo: Trym Schade Warloe

 

travel.door

It’s always a full house at MESH. Photo: Trym Schade Warloe

 

 

 

 

 

Cancelled Event: The Future of Oil

Dear friends,⁠

We have made the difficult decision to cancel the “Future of Oil” event scheduled for 24 March in light of precautions due to the COVID-19/Coronavirus. We feel a deep sense of responsibility to our community and therefore believe that cancelling this event now is the responsible thing to do.

 

The plan is to re-convene this same panel at a future date once the COVID-19 situation changes. Follow our Facebook page to be notified when the new date is scheduled. We appreciate that so many of you are interested in this conversation and look forward to hosting this event at a later date.

 

 

Photo: Trym Schade Warloe

Photo: Trym Schade Warloe

Join us on the 24th of March at this free event to hear from business leaders, travel policy experts, and civil society, including speakers:

– Adrian Falck, Advisor at Footprint (Moderator)

– Thina Saltvedt, Chief Analyst, Sustainable Finance at Nordea

– Stein Hernes, Vice President, Corporate Sustainability at Equinor

More speaker announcements coming soon!

It’s the latest #FutureOf talk series presented by Business for Peace and MESH. The event is free to attend, but donations to help cover the cost of the event can be made here.
Please RSVP to let us know you’ll be joining us: link here.

Programme

17:30-18:00 Doors open, come mingle and get settled
18:00-19:00 Talk and discussion

Stick around and continue the conversation

 

Stick around and continue the conversation
For updates on the latest events, sign up for the Business for Peace newsletter here.

The event is free to attend, but please RSVP on Eventbrite to let us know you will be joining us.

Join the event page on Facebook for ongoing updates.


 

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