Tag Archives: Honourees

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

Winners see business as a tool for change

Three row

Marc Benioff, Felicitas Pantoja, and James Mwangi are the winners of the 2020 Oslo Business for Peace Award

 

More than the bottom line: winners see business as a tool for change

 

09.09.2020, Oslo – Today, the Business for Peace Foundation announced the 2020 Oslo Business for Peace Award winners. The Honourees are: Marc Benioff, Co-Founder, Chair and CEO of Salesforce; James Mwangi, Managing Director and CEO of Equity Group Holdings and Felicitas “Joji” Bautista Pantoja, Co-Founder and CEO of Coffee for Peace.

 

The Oslo Business for Peace Award is given annually to business leaders, as individuals, for their outstanding businessworthy accomplishments; leaders who apply their business energy ethically and responsibly, creating stronger economic and societal value. 

 

An independent Award Committee of Nobel Laureates in Peace and Economics has selected the three outstanding leaders to receive the Award this year. This is following a global nomination process through Business for Peace’s partners: International Chamber of Commerce, Principles for Responsible Investment, United Nations Development Program and United Nations Global Compact. Past winners include Paul Polman, Ouided Bouchamaoui, Richard Branson and Durreen Shahnaz. The 2020 winners (Honourees) will be celebrated at the Business for Peace Summit in May 2021. 

 

Each of the 2020 Honourees transformed their businesses, industries and communities through positive change, inspiring other leaders to follow suit. Benioff established the ‘1-1-1 model,’ whereby a company contributes one percent of profits, equity, and employee hours back to the communities it serves. Mwangi enabled 96% of the unbanked population in Kenya opportunities for broader economic participation. Pantoja provided sustainable livelihoods for indigenous and migrant groups in rural areas, enabling over 880 farmers to escape poverty and build their coffee production capacity. 

 

“In a world of various complexities such as globalisation, polarisation and environmental struggles, this year’s Honourees have led by using business as a tool for change. 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. “Through their business activities they have made substantial contributions towards reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 8: helping to achieve sustained, sustainable and inclusive growth and decent work for all.”

 

“With ten years left until we need to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and at a time when the world is looking for a clear direction, the Business for Peace Honourees show real leadership and the invaluable efforts from the business community,” says Raymond Johansen, Governing Mayor of Oslo. “I am proud that Oslo, for the twelfth year, is hosting the business community’s own award for ethical and sustainable business. It is an example of how to create value for both stakeholders and shareholders.”

 

About the Honourees 

Marc Benioff, Chair and CEO and Co-Founder of Salesforce (United States)

marc_photographMarc Benioff is Chair, CEO, and Co-Founder of Salesforce and a pioneer of cloud computing. Salesforce is the #1 provider of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software globally. Benioff established the ‘1-1-1 model’ of corporate philanthropy, whereby a company contributes one percent of technology, equity, and employee hours back to the communities it serves. Today, Salesforce is a Fortune 500 company with 54,000 employees and 150,000 customers worldwide.  He is an outspoken advocate for business leaders supporting causes such as LGBT rights, education inclusion, wealth reallocation and alleviating homelessness. Benioff is leading a revolution in the tech sector to create a more equal, fair and sustainable way of doing business.

“It is a great honour 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,” says Benioff. “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.”

 

 

James Mwangi, Managing Director and Group CEO of Equity Group Holdings (Kenya)

Dr James Mwangi smalelrDr James Mwangi is one of Africa’s most renowned entrepreneurs. He is credited with democratising 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. Dr 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.

“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.” 

 

 

Felicitas “Joji” Bautista Pantoja, Co-Founder of Coffee for Peace (Philippines)

Joji headshotFelicitas Pantoja has dedicated her career to building peace in conflict zones and improving the lives of marginalized 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. Today, Coffee for Peace provides sustainable livelihoods for Indigenous and migrant groups in rural areas, enabling over 880 farmers to escape poverty and build their coffee production capacity. The company’s focus is on sustainable agriculture, peace and reconciliation between religious groups, environmental protection and entrepreneurship. 

This recognition brings hope. It affirms the dreams and aspirations of our small farming partners, micro-enterprise partners, impact investors, and employees that there are respectable people in the business world who believe in and serve as ‘cheerleaders’ for us who struggle for economic justice. This recognition affirms that inclusive development can be a reality through social enterprise,” says Pantoja.

 

Tackling COVID-19 in a war zone

 

 

 

 

What does Covid-19 look like in a country with no stable government? Until April, Covid-19 was something Yemenis citizens only read about in the news. Other major challenges were already part of their daily life. War and hunger have been their reality since September 2014.

The Former Minister of Information and former Chief Editor of Yemen Times, Dr. Nadia al-Sakkaf has hope for the private sector to rebuild the country and bring a future to the many young Yemenis entrepreneurs. The 2013 Business for Peace Honouree gave us insight as to the current situation, the growth of the business sector, and what anyone — everyone — can do in order to positively change the future of Yemen.

 

 

 

Nadia al-Sakkaf calling in via Zoom

Nadia al-Sakkaf calling in via Zoom

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the COVID-19 situation in Yemen?

We knew inevitably that the virus would come, but there is no state authority, so who is going to prepare us? It is left to civil society and the private sector. More than 24 million people — 80% of the population — is in need of humanitarian assistance. There is a lack of infrastructure, sanitation, and access to clean water, making the population vulnerable. There are other diseases which are being spread as well. Until April, Covid-19 was unreal. What was real to them was war and hunger.

We started to teach about social distancing and hand washing. Some of the reactions we received were so sad. “You’re telling me to wash my hands with soap and water. I don’t have access to soap or clean water.” For many young men on the frontline, they would rather die from a bullet than to the suffocation felt from Covid-19. The reality is that the choice is still death. There is a disconnect and a denial of the extent of this.

 

 

Can you tell us about the projects you’re working on in response to the pandemic?

I’m a part of several small projects. One is the Women’s Solidarity Network, which partners with Food for Humanity. This organisation is on the ground helping communities get access to clean water.
Then there is also the global advocacy element. We’re trying to amplify women Yemenis voices through op-eds in mainstream media to try and bring a different perspective. I am disappointed in mainstream media. International newspapers are not accepting these pieces because they don’t write about war or famine.

 

At Business for Peace, we focus on the role of businesses in building up societies. What role do you see for the private sector in helping Yemen through this crisis?

Yemeni business people are the ones providing protective and testing equipment. Their sense of social responsibility is big. Tech-based entrepreneurs held a hackathon in April. There were three ideas that passed onto the next stage: a medical consultation app, low-cost, fast-paced mask production, and recycling plastic for PPE with 3D printing. These great ideas need more support; there’s so much potential.
Yemen is a large country, but it is very fragmented. The de facto authority is the private sector. They’re the ones that will bring the country back, and it is important to acknowledge them as an important stakeholder. They are being ignored but ignoring the private sector in national policy does not make sense. They are involved in the local levels, involved in sanitation, clean water, and renewable energy. The private sector is holding the community together and giving people hope.
The economy will motivate people. Yemenis are getting paid to be involved in the frontline. If they have a proper job, if they have a system around them that is somewhat prosperous, they will think twice before they join any armed conflict. The solution is economic, not political.

 

 

Much of your career has been about women’s empowerment. What sort of unique role do women play in navigating this crisis?

Globally, women make up 75% of healthcare workers. Equal pay, promotions, and even just recognition would help. Women are working hard on the frontlines and have been able to mediate more than the official means. Yemeni women deserve recognition for what they do. They are powerful. They are superheroes, despite disadvantages and lack of resources and even the cultural discrimination against them. It’s not right.
Women-led organisations are doing much better than male-led organisations. They are more effective and cut through the nonsense and get things done. They are the ones who are the peace builders.
I cannot express enough how important it is to consider women as a main stakeholder when it comes to discussions. For sustainable and fair peace, women need to be at the table and involved in partnerships.

 

 

Finally, many people are talking about the chance to build a new normal. What would you prioritise?

Talk to the real actors on the ground and recognise them, in Yemen and countries in similar conditions. Facilitate the engagement of Yemeni entrepreneurs. We need to think about the economy post-Covid. It doesn’t have to be expensive. You could easily start a project for $1000 and help a community of 200. Just the planting of the seed will quickly spread to others. They will be jealous and will want to replicate the success. We need to motivate and network the right people.

 

Want to help?
Support the initiatives! A like, retweet, comment, or signing a pledge helps gain global attention. You can support organisations like Food for Humanity or sign the petition for a ceasefire. The Hackathon ideas need expertise, funding, and expanded networks.

Free speech allows room for discussion and perspective. Make sure women’s voices are heard globally in the Yemeni peace process.

Support from abroad “brings life back to us,” as Nadia said.

 

 
This interview is a part of a series highlighting #businessworthy efforts in response to covid-19 and has been edited for length and format. Watch the full interview here: https://www.facebook.com/businessworthy/videos/2825640327548691/

 

 

Zoom interview with a split screen of interviewer Business for Peace and interviewee Dr. Nadia al-Sakkaf

Alison of Business for Peace talks with Dr. Nadia al-Sakkaf

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