Leading a successful global company with social responsibility and gender equality at its core, Alice Laugher is the CEO of Committed to Good (CTG), which provides employment and logistics services to development and relief programmes in fragile and conflict-affected countries. From running Ebola treatment clinics in Liberia, to food distribution in Afghanistan and South Sudan, monitoring and assisting refugees in Libya, and rebuilding government constitution in Somalia, the work of CTG is as diverse as our world’s issues. British-born Laugher is a vocal advocate for the Sustainable Development Agenda, with a particular focus on gender equality. She is passionate about CTG being a force for good and creating economic opportunities for women in war-torn regions through CTG’s initiative Female First, which pledges that 30% of project-related roles are represented by women by 2030.
Dr. Agbor Ashumanyi Ako:
Working toward a world free of preventable maternal and infant mortality, Agbor Ashumanyi Ako is one of the co-founders of GiftedMom, a digital health platform based in Cameroon that gives pregnant women and mothers across Africa access to vital health information and care. Started by Alain Nteff and Doctor Tankou Conrad in 2012, the award-winning app has significantly improved both pregnancy check-up attendance and vaccination turnouts, with an ultimate goal to see a world free of preventable maternal and infant deaths.
Leading the charge for ethical and responsible business, Hamdi Ulukaya is the founder and CEO of Chobani, the company behind the number one Greek yoghurt in America. Today, Chobani has over 2,000 employees in the United States, 30 percent of which are legally resettled immigrants and refugees. Ulukaya has created a corporate culture in which everyone is welcome and has an opportunity to thrive with innovative profit-sharing and parental leave programmes. Ulukaya has also taken a leadership role in the global business community to encourage action from the private sector to tackle the global refugee crisis.
Turkish-born Ulukaya comments: “I’m very humbled by this honor, and I’m proud to accept it on behalf of the women and men of team Chobani. This new way of business–where companies focus on people and not just profits, try to make the world a little bit better–should be at the heart of every modern company. As CEOs we don’t need to have more, we need to do more. When we see an injustice, we need to speak out. When we have tools and resources to solve problems, we have to use them.”
Lori Blaker champions inclusion and gender equality as core values at TTi Global, a staffing, recruiting, and consulting firm operating on five continents with over 2000 employees. Blaker is recognized for her business performance not only in the United States but in developing economies such as India and Afghanistan. In 2016, Blaker opened a retail Automotive Service Center and Training Center in Kabul, creating much-needed job opportunities in a challenging environment. Notably, the facility employs both men and women. Blaker developed a special training program for local women to learn management skills in an industry they would traditionally be barred from, which is just one example of her commitment to making positive change through business.
Edgar Montenegro founded Corpocampo in 2003 with the aim of using food production to build sustainable communities. The Colombian Pacific Coast region has long been affected by the country’s internal conflict, leading to widespread poverty, violence, and illegal coca crop production. Montenegro wanted to improve peoples’ lives by providing a legal and reliable source of income. His company specialises in the production and distribution of acai berries and palm hearts, with all products deriving from sustainable farming practices. Operating in several locations in Colombia, Montenegro works closely with local Afro-Colombian communities and indigenous people. Corpocampo has provided jobs for over 240 female-headed households, impacting over 1,300 families. Montenegro is recognized for his courageous achievements proving how the private sector can build peace by identifying business opportunities that help marginalised groups become more resilient.
Martin Naughton has grown Glen Dimplex Group from seven employees in 1973 to becoming Ireland’s largest privately-owned manufacturing business and one of the world’s leading manufacturers of domestic appliances. During the turbulent years of the Northern Ireland conflict, Naughton promoted and supported business on both sides of the border, including negotiating cross-border trade. Naughton also played a significant role in establishing a corporate department on renewable and low-carbon solutions for heating, cooling, and ventilation, taking an active role in tackling climate change. Naughton receives the Award for his inspiring efforts to promote the role of the private sector in contributing to peace and environmental sustainability.
Durreen Shahnaz receives the award for her work in spearheading the
transformation of the way financial and capital markets work, focusing on
purpose and maximising impact. Her work in Impact Investment Exchange
(IIX), the world’s first stock exchange dedicated to social enterprises – which
she founded in 2009, has positively impacted 10 million lives to date.
Read full biography here.
Dr Harley Seyedin:
Dr Harley Seyedin is an Iranian immigrant to USA, who has spent
his life building a multi-national electricity and low carbon infrastructure
development business with great success in China and Southeast Asia.
He has lived more than 20 years in China and for the past nine years he
has held the position as president of the American Chamber of Commerce
in South China.
Read full biography here.
Murad Al-Katib, son of Turkish immigrants to Canada, receives the
Award for his entrepreneurship in leading the way in sustainable
agriculture and contributing to feeding millions of refugee families
in the Syrian crisis. His company AGT Food and Ingredients is one of
the world’s largest lentil companies, handling about a quarter of the
Read full biography here.
Elon Musk receives the Award for his leadership of the way forward
in the automotive industry, and for his showcasing of how businesses
can help confront and solve the world’s most demanding and complex
problems. The battery technology of Tesla has recently been successfully
combined with solar energy in his company SolarCity, USA’s second
largest provider of solar systems.
Read full biography here.
Ms Beydoun is the founder and creative director of Sarah’s Bag.
This internationally successful company has a business model that
includes social rehabilitation for underprivileged women who learn
valuable skills and earn an income as well as a sense of dignity and
empowerment. By following her heart – both for fashion and women
at risk – Ms Beydoun has created a robust business despite the
difficult circumstances in the region.
Mr Lærdal is the Executive Chairman of Laerdal Medical, the
global leader in resuscitation training and therapy products.
Laerdal Global Health is a non-profit affiliate of Laerdal Medical,
and provides affordable products to help save lives from birth in
poor countries. The goal of the group is to save 500,000 lives per
year by 2020. Mr. Lærdal is an example of how linking business to
a wider, social purpose can create exceptional results – for both
business and society.
Dr Jennifer Nkuene Riria:
Dr Riria is Group CEO of Kenya Women Holding (KWH) and has
led Kenya Women Microfinance Bank (KWFT) for over two decades.
KWFT grants loans to marginalized women and their families,
serving over 1.5 million women and disbursing over US$ 2.3 billion
over a period of 20 years. Through her important work, Dr Riria
brings economic empowerment to marginalised women, contributing
to build peace even during times of conflict.
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.
Lo is a Hong Kong-based businesswoman and
Group Managing Director of Regal Hotels International.
Lo created Century Innovative Technology Limited, an
edu-tainment company featuring interactive games and
multimedia. CIT produces the animated series “Bodhi
and his friends”, designed to inspire moral development in
children. Lo’s goal is to provide equal access to quality education
so that children are empowered through knowledge.
A Palestinian, Khouri and his family escaped the war of 1948.
After the signing of the Oslo Accords, he and a group of diaspora
business leaders took on the challenge of rebuilding Palestine’s
economy. After raising some funds, he returned and established
Padico Holding and the Paltel telecommunications company.
And in 1995, he launched the Palestinian National Beverage Company,
which produces and sells Coca-Cola products in the West Bank
and Gaza Strip. Khouri now funds the Zahi Khouri Fellowship
Program, providing Palestinian-American students the experience
of professional development in Palestine in the fields of education,
youth/female empowerment, and economic development.
Merrill Joseph Fernando:
After ending his formal education with the then-equivalent of
high school, Fernando moved to Colombo to train as a tea taster.
He recognized the labor involved in traditional tea growing tea,
combined with profits going into the wrong pockets, meant that
the Ceylon tea industry and its two million dependents would not
have a future unless things changed. Fernando started Dilmah,
his own single origin, sustainable tea brand. Now sold in nearly
100 countries, 10 percent of the pre‐tax profit is used to fund the
work of his MJF Charitable Foundation, which emphasizes
empowerment of the differently abled people.
Juan Andrés Cano:
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, and corporate governance, as well as
generating social and environmental value, human rights, and peace.
Cano is also founder of PeaceStartup, an initiative of Value4Chain 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.
Selima Ahmad is the Vice Chairperson of the Nitol-Niloy Group.
With her deep understanding of the plight of women in a male
dominated, poverty afflicted society, she focuses on developing
entrepreneurial talent, and organizing financial and marketing
resources in order to enable women to overcome hurdles
and expand their business beyond the micro threshold.
Ouided Bouchamaoui is the President of The Tunisian Confederation
of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA). Bouchamaoui works to
help Tunisia pull through its challenges by pushing for national
reconciliation, by protecting both enterprises and employment policy,
and assisting the urgent need to restore security. In Bouchamaoui’s
opinion, conditions fundamental for promoting social peace and prosperity.
Sir Richard Branson:
Sir Richard Brandon is the founder and owner of Virgin Group.
Branson uses his reputation to influence important issues also
outside business. He is a signatory of the non-profit Global Zero
campaign for the elimination of nuclear weapons, has taken a strong
stand against climate change skepticism, and took the initiative to
create The Elders, a gathering of independent global leaders working
together for peace and human rights.
Kesha Kumari Damini is the leader of more than 60,000 micro
entrepreneurs. Though Ms Damini came from the most
disadvantaged of Dalit communities in Nepal, her leadership
and success have inspired many to become entrepreneurs,
explore self-employment opportunities and overcome discrimination.
Adnan Kassar is Chairman of Fransabank, and has been a
driver of growth and development in Lebanon, in the absence
of political stability and security, for many decades. Through
motivating the private sector, his work has contributed to the
prosperity of the country and its attractiveness to foreign investors,
thus maintaining and securing the livelihood of the Lebanese people.
Marilyn Carlson Nelson:
Marilyn Carlson Nelson is the Chairman and former CEO
of Carlson. Ms Nelson’s pace-setting approach to responsible
business focuses on engaging in dialogue with stakeholders
about local causes and global issues. Across a range of challenges
her approach contributes to peace through the creation of shared
value. Notably, she is a strong advocate for the abolition of sexual
exploitation of children.
Margaret Mussoi L. Groff:
Margaret Mussoi L. Groff is the Chief Financial Officer of ITAIPU
Binacional, the world’s largest hydropower station in terms of power
generation. She has been engaged in motivating female employees to
seek professional development which resulted in an increase of female
managers from 10 to 21 percent in nine years, in ITAIPU Binacional.
Groff has also established ITAIPU’s policy and guidelines for gender
equality based on the UN Global Compact Women’s Empowerment
Principles Leadership Group, contributing to more gender-equal societies.
Connie Hasemann, founder and CEO of Telehandelshuset AS, is
a strong advocate for social change through sustainable business.
With a mission to help disabled people show they are a valuable labour
resource on equal standing with others, Hasemann established what is
now one of the leading social enterprises in Denmark. Her drive and
dedication break down barriers, and are appreciated across national
borders. Connie Hasemann has developed a business model that
demonstrates a new concept of comprehensive rehabilitation of
disabled people, where the outcome is employment. This business
model is both scalable and adaptable across sectors and national borders.
Arif Massod Naqvi:
Arif Massod Naqvi, founder and Group Chief Executive of The Abraaj
Group, is a leading investor operating in Asia, the Middle East, North
Africa, Central Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. In 2012,
Naqvi was invited by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to
join the United Nations Global Compact Board. His work in promoting
responsible business practices by looking at the stakeholders, rather
than an exclusively shareholder approach, is pioneering in the private equity
industry. The Abraaj Group devotes time to mentoring social, cultural,
and economic entrepreneurs. And, under the leadership of Naqvi, the Abraaj
Group has partnered with world-class organizations on entrepreneurship and
job creation, healthcare, education and community engagement.
Dean Cycon is the founder and owner of Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee
Company, has worked for more than 25 years on development issues
in indigenous communities, including coffee-producing villages around
the world. He created Dean’s Beans to prove that businesses can promote
positive economic, social and environmental change in developing countries,
and be profitable at the same time. The company designs and funds people-
centered development projects in coffee-producing areas in partnership with
growers, and returns a percentage of the profits to the growers as a “social equity
premium”. Mr Cycon is also a co-founder of Coffee Kids, and Cooperative Coffees,
the world’s first fair trade roaster’s cooperative.
Nadia Al-Sakkaf is the Chief Editor of Yemen Times. This is the country’s
first and most widely read independent English-language newspaper, a
leading voice in Yemen on issues of media, gender, development and
politics. During the May 2011 leadership crisis in Yemen, Al-Sakkaf and
her organization were vital in reporting the news and putting the political
situation in context for international readers. Under Al-Sakkaf’s leadership,
the Yemen Times has also created several publications — including
publications to advocate for women’s participation in politics, such
as Breaking the Stereotype, a book on Yemeni women’s experience as
political candidates in elections.
The late Dr Ibrahim Abouleish was 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. Dr. Abouleish then commenced a three-fold
project allowing him to contribute to community-building, humanity,
and healing the earth.
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.
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 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:
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 three successive years.
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 labour 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.
Mr Tata is chairman of the Tata group, India’s largest conglomerate. He has
more than once declared that his group is not driven to grow “over
everybody’s dead bodies”. His personal view is that the group’s sense of social
responsibility does not collide with the creation of shareholder value. Tata
gives away on average eight to fourteen per cent of its net profits every year
through dedicated philanthropic programmes.
Mr Wertheimer is the founder and honorary chair of Iscar Metalworking
Company, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of carbide cutting tools.
He employs an integrated workforce of Arabs, Jews and Christians. In his
company, employees work side by side towards a common goal, shedding the
stereotypes so prevalent in the Middle East. Wertheimer believes in the
importance of quality technical education as a basis for a better society.
To this end, he has initiated the Arab-Jewish Executive Development
programme, bringing together Jews and Arabs in intensive courses
Sir Francis Yeoh:
Sir Yeoh is managing director of the YTL Corporation Berhad, Malaysia’s leading
integrated infrastructure conglomerate. He believes that a sustainable business
means one which can thrive in the long term and that true sustainability has
four equal components: social, economic, environmental and cultural.
Roberto Servitje Sendra:
Mr. Sendra is chair of Grupo Bimbo, a multinational baking enterprise. Early
in its development, he stated that the group’s goal was to be “altamente
productiva y plenamente humana” – highly productive and truly humane.
Grupo Bimbo has a significant social responsibility programme, which is
tightly related to health, the environment, society (poverty and food
distribution) and the wellbeing of its workers. In terms of health, the group
has been making serious efforts to promote exercise as a way of life. On the
environmental front, it has set a leading example through its efforts to
recycle and to reduce water consumption while supporting a major
reforestation campaign in Mexico.
Mr Srivathshan is managing director of Nigerian operations at Olam, a leading
global supply chain management company for agricultural products and food
ingredients. He has created the rice extension farming and out-grower
programme in collaboration with farmers’ organisations and NGOs. This
programme has allowed Olam Nigeria to increase overall returns to rice
farmers through enhanced productivity, improved quality and guaranteed
buy-back of crops.
Ms Cummins designs products to improve the quality of life in developing
countries. She designed and created a multi-bucket water system to transport
water effectively across southern Africa. Her sustainable fridge uses solar heat
to provide refrigeration cheaply and easily. Cummins selflessly gave her
design away because she wanted as many people as possible to build their own
sustainable refrigerators. Her product is now serving the everyday
refrigeration needs of countless families across southern Africa.
Mr Rosenzweig is managing director of Physic Ventures, whose purpose is to
invest in companies which create value through delivering innovative
solutions for preventing disease, promoting consumer-driven health and
ensuring a sustainable planet for future generations. His vision achieves a
union of business performance with a higher purpose by creating strong
clusters of experienced enterprises working with companies in developing
countries to create an ultimate benefit which goes far beyond bottom-line considerations.
Anders Dahlvig started working for IKEA in 1984, and assumed his current
position as CEO in 1999. Under Anders Dahlvig’s leadership, IKEA has placed
sustainability at the heart of its product development and supply strategy.
“The IKEA Way of Purchasing Home Furnishing Products” (the IWAY) is a
code of conduct which defines what suppliers can expect from IKEA and what
IKEA requires from its suppliers in terms of legal requirements, working
conditions, the active prevention of child labor, environmental protection and
Dr Mohamed Ibrahim:
Mohamed “Mo” Ibrahim is a Sudanese-born British mobile communications
entrepreneur. He is currently on the board of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, and
is a member of the Africa Regional Advisory Board of London Business School.
In 2006, the foundation launched the Prize for Achievement in African
Leadership. The prize is awarded to African heads of state who deliver
security, health, education and economic development to their constituents,
and who democratically transfer power to their successor. With a $5 million
initial payment, plus $200,000 a year for life, the prize is believed to be
the world’s largest, exceeding the $1.3m Nobel Peace Prize.
Mohammed Jameel is President of Abdul Latif Jameel Co. Ltd. A great
philanthropist as well as a respected businessman, Mr. Jameel has developed
several community programs promoting job opportunities for thousands of
young Saudi men and women each year. Jameel has been the driving force
behind the Grameen Jameel Pan Arab Initiative, which aims to reduce poverty
through micro credit. In addition, he opened the first Bab Riza (Gateway to
Prosperity) Jameel Center in June 2007 in Jeddah for creating
employment opportunities for women and offering financial support for
start-ups and loans for vocational training in both the public and private sector.
Jeffrey R. Immelt:
Jeff Immelt is the Chairman of the board and Chief Executive Officer of the
U.S.-based conglomerate General Electric since 2000. Under Mr Immelt’s
leadership, GE implemented a new initiative, under the name of
“ecomagination” to ramp up development of clean technologies and lighten
the company’s environmental footprint. GE committed itself in 2005 to double
its research-and-development investments in eco-friendlier technologies from
2004 to 2010, more than ten times the 2005 federal US R&D budget for solar
and wind combined. In 2007, GE announced that it was expanding its
ecomagination strategy, committing to reduce its global water use by
20 percent by 2012.
Josephine Okot is the founder and Managing Director of Victoria Seeds, a full
line seed company in Uganda. She founded Victoria Seeds for the purpose of
delivering quality seeds to “small holder” farmers who produce over 90% of
agricultural output in Uganda. Ms. Okot’s goal is to reverse the decline in
agricultural productivity in Uganda and other countries of the region where
Victoria Seeds is exporting to.
Jiang Jianqing has served as Governor of the Shanghai Bank and the Pudong
Subsidiary Bank before becoming the Head of the Investment and
Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) Under the leadership of Mr. Jianqing, the
ICBC became the first Chinese bank in the country’s domestic banking to
introduce and apply the notion of “Green Credit”, strictly constraining credit
inputs for heavily polluting and/or high energy-consuming corporations. For
the ICBC, the environmental protection compliance serves as the ultimate
determinant to reject or accept any projects and business
entities requesting loans.
Dr Zhengrong Shi:
The Chinese-Austrialian solar scientist Dr Zhengrong Shi is the founder,
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Suntech Power, one of the leading
solar energy companies and the largest solar module manufacturer in the
world. When he decided to start his own company in 2001, he was acutely
aware of the growing need for renewable energy and he wanted to be part of
the solution. Now, only eight years later, he is considered to be one of the
world’s leaders in the development and commercialization of renewable
energy technology. Dr Shi guided Suntech into designing and
providing low-cost solar generators to let even the disadvantaged
be able to afford clean energy. His idea and vision is to bring
environment-friendly power to the world.