Tag Archives: businessworthy

“This is the Olympics for businesses” – Interview with Vladas Lasas

 

 

 

 

The Olympics haven’t been cancelled for this year after all. According to 2012 Honouree Vladas Lasas, this current moment is the Olympics for businesses. Everyone needs to find their inner athlete and put their energy towards recovery and building a new way of life. 

Lasas has been an entrepreneur his entire career. He is Co-Founder of the Carbon War Room, Founder and CEO of UPS Lithuania, and an inventor. He is a leader for many. Always an advocate for quick and responsive action, we spoke to Lasas about the actions that he has taken in response to the crisis. 

 

 

Lasas

Honouree Dean Cycon talks with Vladas Lasas at a Business for Peace Summit. Photo: Olav Heggø

 

 

 

You’ve taken swift action to start new initiatives in response to the global pandemic crisis. Can you tell us what you’re working on? 

“In mid-March, we started Hack the Crisis, which is now a global initiative. It is supported by the European Union and is attracting people globally. In the beginning, only small countries like Estonia and Lithuania were part of the initiative and we were surprised at how productive it was. We had 1000+ attendees joining; everybody managed to work on Zoom and Slack teams. Everything was almost as if it happened in person, even though it was on teleconferencing. It is incredible. We need to stay up-to-speed if we want to make an impact on the world and help people.”

 

 

 

How has the crisis affected your core business? How have you as a leader responded?

I am trying to help our CEOs with what can be done. In a time of crisis, there is a lot of opportunity to grow new leaders, to help them, to encourage and mentor them. I think it is better for everybody and for the future if you use the situation as an opportunity to grow leadership in your young colleagues.

 

 

 

You’ve previously told us that sometimes one has to be a rebel to make change. Is that what you’re doing now?

Yes absolutely. People are reluctant and, as always, a little bit afraid of change. One thing that institutions and officials do not recongise or understand is that democracies and their resources are optimised for an ordinary way of living. We are right now in a completely unprecedented situation. It is understandable that governments do not have resources to deal with this on their own. We have exponential growth of our enemy, and therefore we need stronger exponential growth in order to break the barriers. 

 

 

 

What sorts of collaborations and partnerships are needed in order to respond quickly? 

Institutions should not have any objections to accept help from professionals, academics, and the private sector, and let them do things that institutions in the government cannot. Sometimes in business the best people are outside of your company. 

In democratic societies you can easily mobilise people. If you communicate in the right way and are open. That is really the test as to how democratic a country is, if you can accept help from people and let the professor work next to the minister and have a level understanding that the academic knows better in this situation.  The Lithuanian National Health Authorities at first were really slow at communicating. The data was handled mostly manually. No system was prepared for this. In a few days, we managed to get the best IT guy next to the Head of Authority, and within a few days we got these pain points fixed. It’s only one example but I remember 30 years ago, early in Lithuania’s independence, we had some code to take over from the Soviets at that time. I worked with no official authority but I was working with the Parliament to help communicate and translate for journalists about what was going on. That was also without any approval or order or law for that. Red tape that is usually useful in ordinary times, needs to be cut. 

 

 

What would you say to fellow business leaders about how to act during these times?

Use this situation to make your organisation stronger, to grow new leaders. Look for new opportunities. These are really huge right now. It is hidden as a crisis, but actually we can handle the crisis and build up more new and good things for the future. 

Thank you so much for your insight and time, Vladas! We are feeling more confident in winning at the Olympics now. 


This interview is a part of a series highlighting #businessworthy efforts in response to Covid-19. For more on Vladas Lasas and his rebel leadership, see: https://vimeo.com/404685461

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

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.


 

Read the full Aftenposten article on Business for Peace here

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