We are proud to announce that 25 past Oslo Business for Peace Award winners have come together to release a joint Call to Action statement calling to build back better business in the wake of the current pandemic. Representing over 22 countries, this Call to Action is a united voice for business leaders in diverse sectors and across the globe.
Their open letter urgently calls for:
Immediate debt cancellation and increased investment linked to a green and socially equitable recovery.
Increased global co-ordination, especially avoiding export barriers on personal protective equipment and maintaining fair and efficient markets for both the Global North and the South.
Investment in and support for SMEs, ensuring employment especially for underserved communities.
Global co-ordination on strategies for financial investment and income transfer to strengthen the participation of women in the economy and the job market.
Increased attention to racial harmony, integration and inclusion.
Selima Ahmad, Founder of the Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Bangladesh)
Dr. Agbor Ashu, Co-founder and Medical Director, GiftedMom (Cameroon)
Dr Nadia al-Sakkaf, Former Minister of Information in Yemen (Yemen)
Juan Andrés Cano, Founder of PeaceStartup (Colombia)
Sarah Beydoun, Founder and Creative Director of Sarah’s Bag (Lebanon)
Lori Blaker, Retired CEO of TTi Global (USA)
Ouided Bouchamaoui, President of The Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (Tunisia)
Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group (United Kingdom)
Marilyn Carlson Nelson, Co-Owner and Former Chairman and CEO of Carlson (USA)
Dean Cycon, Founder and CEO of Dean’s Beans (USA)
Merrill Fernando, Founder of Dilmah Tea (Sri Lanka)
Margaret Mussoi L. Groff, Former CFO of ITAIPU (Brazil)
Connie Hasemann, Founder and Former CEO of All Ears AS (Denmark)
Mo Ibrahim, Founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation (Sudan)
Zahi Khouri, Founder of the Palestinian National Beverage Company (Palestine)
Vladas Lasas, Founder and CEO of UPS Lithuania (Lithuania)
Alice Laugher, CEO of CTG (Committed to Good) (UAE)
Tore Lærdal, Chairman and CEO of Laerdal Medical (Norway)
Sir Martin Naughton, Founder of Glen Dimplex (Ireland)
Josephine Okot, Founder and Managing Director of Victoria Seeds (Uganda)
Paul Polman, Co-Founder of Imagine and Honorary Chair of the International Chamber of Commerce (Netherlands)
Dr Jennifer Riria, CEO of Kenya Women Holding (Kenya)
William Rosenzweig, Managing Director of Physic Ventures (USA)
Dr Harley Seyedin, Chair of American Chamber of Commerce South China (China)
Durreen Shahnaz, Founder of Impact Investment Exchange (Singapore)
Venkataramani Srivathsan, Managing Director and CEO, African and Middle East, of Olam (Nigeria)
Do you want to take action to support the initiatives outlined in the Call to Action? Here are some helpful resources from the signatories’ companies.
Honouree Margaret Groff is an advocate for equality. Read Grupo Mulheres do Brasil’s letter on anti-racism here (in Portuguese).
International Chamber of Commerce action list to save SMEs: https://iccwbo.org/
content/uploads/sites/3/2020/ 05/open-letter-to-finance- ministers.pdf
CTG’s guide on how the private sector can support women during the pandemic: https://ctg.org/covid-19-how-
G7 Gender Equality Advisory Councils’ letter on preventing the deterioration of gender equality: https://www.unwomen.
Direct action to support women and SMEs in Yemen: https://medium.com/@businessforpeace/tackling-covid-19-in-a-war-zone-af449c4e7d3
International Chamber of Commerce call for immediate debt relief https://iccwbo.org/
media-wall/news-speeches/ global-business-workers-and- civil-society-unite-in-call- for-emergency-debt-relief-to- save-lives-and-livelihoods/
Impact Investment Exchange’s COVID resilience resources for businesses https://iixglobal.
Impact Investment Exchange Women’s Livelihood Bond series https://iixglobal.com/
Mo Ibrahim on how to counter the pandemic’s effect on Africa https://www.ifc.org/
wps/wcm/connect/news_ext_ content/ifc_external_ corporate_site/news+and+ events/news/insights/i13- covid-19-africa?CID=IFC_TT_ IFC_EN_EXT
Case study from Olam: supporting coffee farmers in Papua New Guinea https://www.olamgroup.
com/news/all-news/blog/re- imagining-relationships-how- olam-coffee-sought-the-help- of-hundreds-of-pastors-to- help-protect-farmers-against- covid-19.html
Supporting farmers and the coffee community: actions from Olam: https://www.olamgroup.
com/news/all-news/news-bites/ supporting-the-coffee- community-through-the-covid- crisis.html
Interview with Selima Ahmad on how businesses can help mitigate the COVID-19 crisis in Bangladesh https://www.cipe.
org/blog/2020/05/26/democracy- that-delivers-205-mitigating- the-covid19-crisis-in- bangladesh-with-selima-ahmad/
PeaceStartup offers a platform on how to work better together, https://www.peacestartup.org/copia-de-covid19. This knowledge exchange platform aims to document partnerships between companies, governments and civil society.
All graphics by Leyla Avsar.