Tag Archives: Honourees

Year in review: 2020

Building back together

Business for Peace has always enjoyed gathering people and inspiring discussions. We have facilitated discussions at our annual Summit and locally at startup community MESH. We recognised businessworthy leaders with the Oslo Business for Peace Award. Since 2009, global business, global leadership, global gatherings were our core. When March came, we were quick to do two things: ensure the safety and wellbeing of our employees, and cancel physical events.


Our vision is that all business leaders strive to improve society by creating value for all stakeholders in an ethical and responsible way. The mission, therefore, is to recognise, inspire, and accelerate businessworthy leadership. And this is how we did that this year:













We also gathered our Honourees digitally for the first time ever. Their determination to make sure businesses did good despite Covid-19 was palpable. In fact, their drive and teamwork resulted in a call to action to build back better in the Global South. Twenty-six of our Honourees from around the world signed the call to action, and we are so grateful to them for their commitment to accelerate the call to action.




Design by Leyla Avsar





Through our partnerships and our Award Committee, we still were able to recognise business leaders changing the face of business. This year’s Honourees are three diverse, driven, peacebuilding leaders.


“They are role models to society and their peers, have earned stakeholders’ trust, and stand out as advocates,” says Per Saxegaard, Founder of the Business for Peace Foundation.


We hope to see them next year at our Summit, along with you as well. In keeping with adapting to the new circumstances, we are committed to holding our 2021 Summit, knowing that it will look very different and much of it will be digital-first.With that, we want to make sure you save the dates! 26–27 May 2021, we will once again gather, albeit digitally. We will once again discuss business, celebrate our Honourees, and inspire present and future leaders.Until then, may you have a healthy holiday season.



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Shop ethical: your Business for Peace holiday gift guide

Inspecting coffee beans




As our holidays worldwide look different this year, we want to do something different, too. That’s why we are sharing our first-ever ethical gift-giving guide. We support all socially conscious businesses globally. Our mission is, after all, to recognise, inspire, and accelerate businessworthy leadership. By shopping consciously, you help to accelerate positive social, environmental, and ethical change. We know, it’s “just shopping”, but your purchases can help provide income to disadvantaged women, people in rural, remote, and conflict-affected areas, and others to whom every bit of income matters. 


Our Honourees are constant sources of inspiration, and that’s why they are leading our list of ethical gift ideas. We hope this guide empowers you to give generously, and give consciously. 


gift guide


Gifts that ship globally


Coffee for Peace 

Founded by our 2020 Honouree Felicitas Bautista Pantoja, Coffee for Peace is a social enterprise that  uses coffee production as a tool to address economic and conflict challenges in the Philippines. The company provides sustainable livelihoods for Indigenous and migrant groups in rural areas, helping local farmers escape poverty. You can feel even better about your morning coffee habit :)



Dilmah Tea

Dilmah is a premium quality tea brand founded in 1988 by 2015 Honouree Merrill J Fernando. Dilmah has committed themselves to environmental sustainability and equal opportunity employment. By purchasing Dilmah, you support responsible farming and employment practices in the highlands of Sri Lanka. 



Sarah’s Bag

Sarah’s Bag is a Lebanese fashion house and social enterprise that empowers women, employing over 200 prisoners, ex-prisoners and underprivileged women. Their artisan handbags have been spotted on the arms of Beyoncé and Amal Clooney. Founder and 2016 Honouree Sarah Beydoun has done everything she can to keep operations running during this very challenging time for Lebanon, ensuring income for her workers. It’s a purchase that you can feel good about, and look great with. 






Marilyn Carlson Nelson

Our 2014 Honouree Marilyn Carlson Nelson shares her deepest insights on leadership in “How we lead matters: reflections on a life of leadership.” She shares the difficulty of making hard choices and sacrifices to run her family’s business. 



Stef Wertheimer 

An Honouree from 2010, Stef Wertheimer fled Nazi Germany at age 10. In his book, he shares the lessons he learned from a life of strife and struggle in one of the world’s newest industrial powers. The “Habit of labor: lessons from a life of struggle and success” is a truly inspirational tale.  



Marc Benioff 

“Trailblazer” is the book that is currently circulating its way around our office. Marc Benioff, a 2020 Honouree, is an advocate for LGBTQ rights, education inclusion, and alleviating homelessness. It’s an inspiring book that helped spark passion for action in an otherwise tough year. A good read for all aspiring CEOs. 



Anders Dahlvig
Reflecting on his 26 years at IKEA, former CEO and 2009 Honouree Anders Dahlvig describes how to combine traditional business goals and the goal of contributing to a better society. He does this while bearing in mind global supply chains and sustaining profitability and corporate responsibility. His book “The IKEA Edge: building global growth and social good at the world’s most iconic home store” is on our bookshelf. Maybe you know someone who should also have it on theirs? 



Sir Richard Branson

Author of several books, this one from 2014 Honouree Sir Richard Branson is a favourite from his line-up. “Screw business as usual” shows how easy it is for both businesses and individuals to embark on a whole new way of doing things, solving major problems and turning work into something we both love and are proud of.



Foreword by Ouided Bouchamaoui

Inspired by 200 senior international executives, Vanessa Barros goes beyond individual views of ‘professionalism’ to provide a framework to resolve intercultural conflicts. Her book “Don’t mess with my professionalism: how to resolve conflict across cultures” has a foreword written by 2014 Honouree Ouided Bouchamaoui, and will help any leader to build an inclusive culture.






Give a different kind of gift – make a donation in your name or on behalf of someone else to really spread the holiday spirit. 


#SheisMore young artists

The perfect donations are those which help young people get the education and support that they need. We particularly like IIX Global’s option to sponsor young artists. Our 2017 Honouree Durreen Shahnaz is the Founder. Every USD100 donated will help offer youth artists with the opportunities for artistic development and education through their #sheismore campaign.




The SEKEM school

The late Dr Ibrahim Abouleish was the founder of the comprehensive development initiative SEKEM. The SEKEM school pledges to provide education to as many children as possible, giving them a stronger foundation for their future.



 Echo Network Africa

Through her important work, Dr Jennifer Riria brings economic empowerment to marginalised women, contributing to build peace even during times of conflict. The 2014 Honouree founded Kenya Women Holding, now Echo Network Africa. You can make a donation to support mentorship for young women, maternal and child health programme, or for women entrepreneurs and leaders. 



Gifts that ship regionally


For shipping in USA only: 

Dean’s Beans

For our readers in the U.S., Dean’s Beans is at the top of our list of good coffee products that are as fairly and sustainably sourced as it gets. 2013 Honouree Dean Cycon founded Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee Company in 1993 after working as an environmental and indigenous rights lawyer. He set out to prove that business could create meaningful change through ethical business practices. We think it’s safe to say he proved his point. 



For shipping in Colombia only: 


Corpocampo is dedicated to the sustainable production and distribution of Açaí Berry and palm heart. Founded by 2018 Honouree Edgar Montenegro, Corpocampo has provided jobs for over 240 female-headed and indigenous households, and is helping to bring local communities out of poverty. Corpocampo doesn’t ship abroad, so this one is for the lucky few in Colombia. 



James Mwangi

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A 2020 Honouree leading one of the most inclusive banks in the world with inclusion at its core.



James Mwangi talking to crowd of people


Dr. James Mwangi is one of Africa’s most renowned entrepreneurs. He is credited with democratizing financial access by giving the unbanked population opportunities for broader economic participation. He has led Equity to become an integrated financial services group operating in 6 African countries with a client base of over 14 million. Mwangi’s ability to merge economic theory to the practical realities of village life enabled him to revolutionise the banking industry in Africa. Today, Equity is one of the most inclusive banks in the world with clients across the socio-economic spectrum including youth and women.


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“I dedicate this Award to our staff and to the millions of our customers who have continuously inspired us by trusting and believing in our common purpose and dream, that together we can solve our problems by seeking innovative solutions anchored on shared value and prosperity,” said Mwangi. “I share this award with our micro, small and medium entrepreneurs who wake up every day to create wealth and opportunities for our society. This Award is a great inspiration to all Africans to believe in their dreams and to pursue them with dedication and conviction that together, we can change our continent within our lifetime.”


James Mwangi receives the Award for his businessworthy values in championing financial inclusion for all. The Committee sees him as a shining example of how business leaders can accelerate change and help solve the world’s problems.



James Mwangi talking to a large crowd of schoolchildren

Marc Benioff

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A 2020 Honouree leading a successful global company while advocating for equality and stakeholder capitalism. 


Marc Benioff giving a speech



Marc Benioff is Chair, CEO and Founder of Salesforce and a pioneer of cloud computing. He is a member of the World Economic Forum (“WEF”) Board of Trustees, Benioff serves as the inaugural Chair of WEF’s Forum Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in San Francisco.

Salesforce founded the 1-1-1 or “Pledge 1%” model of corporate philanthropy, which dedicates 1% of Salesforce’s equity, employee time or product back into the communities it serves. This pledge has so far generated more than $280 million, millions of employee volunteer hours, and technology to nonprofits and schools worldwide.


World Economic Forum Sikarin Fon Thanachaiary

Photo: World Economic Forum Sikarin Fon Thanachaiary

 “It is a great honor to be recognised by the Business for Peace Foundation, which recognises that businesses have profound responsibilities to all our stakeholders, including our communities and our planet,” said Marc Benioff, Chair & CEO, Salesforce. “As more companies embrace stakeholder capitalism and commit to meeting the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, we see that business is the greatest platform for change.”


Mr Benioff receives the Award for being an outspoken advocate of businessworthy values and leading Salesforce with social responsibility and equality at its core. Mr Benioff is passionate about redefining capitalism to work for all, and ensuring businesses have a positive impact on the societies in which they operate.




Felicitas ‘Joji’ Bautista Pantoja

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A 2020 Honouree providing sustainable livelihoods for indigenous and migrant peoples and building peace in conflict zones. 

Mrs. Pantoja in field with farmers

Mrs. Pantoja working with local farmers



“This recognition affirms that inclusive development can be a reality through social enterprise.” – Felicitas Pantoja. 


Mrs. Pantoja has dedicated her career to building peace in conflict zones and improving the lives of marginalised groups through economic stability. Based in the Philippines, Coffee for Peace uses coffee production as a tool to address the economic, environmental and peace issues prevalent in conflict-affected communities. Established in 2008, her peace-building missions started around the ritual of gathering over a cup of coffee. “I noticed that they served us coffee,” says Pantoja. “When there’s coffee served, they sit down, they talk more and there’s less fighting – and there’s less death. So coffee can now serve as a vehicle for peace.”


Today, Coffee for Peace provides sustainable livelihoods for Indigenous and migrant groups in rural areas, and has enabled over 880 farmers to escape poverty and build their coffee production capacity. Over 80% of the farmers in the community are women. The company’s focus is on sustainable agriculture, peace and reconciliation between religious groups, environmental protection and entrepreneurship. Coffee for Peace works closely with Business Call to Action, a program of the UNDP.

Mrs Pantoja has said of receiving the Award that “this recognition affirms that inclusive development can be a reality though social enterprise.”


Inspecting coffee beans

Coffee for Peace has trained over 880 farmers



Mrs Pantoja receives the Award for her businessworthy efforts in bringing peace and prosperity to conflict-affected communities in the Philippines. She and her team have built an inspiring social enterprise that empowers marginalised groups from different backgrounds, bringing these groups together while contributing to the sustainable development of the land. Mrs Pantoja demonstrates the significant impact that business can have when used as a vehicle for peace.


“Businesses are the most powerful and influential players. Businesses ought to be mindful of the responsibility to bring economic-ecological justice and harmony among human societies.”  – Felicitas ‘Joji’ Bautista Pantoja



Smiling with Coffee for Peace

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