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Business for Peace Awards 2013 - a Joint Effort by the United Nations Development Programme Oslo, the Business for Peace Foundation and the International Chamber of Commence

Posted date: 
Wed, 05/29/2013
Source of the information: 
International Herald Tribune & The Oslo Business for Peace Award

The Oslo Business for Peace Award is the highest form of recognition given to individual business leaders for fostering peace and stability through creating shared value between business and society. Five extraordinary businesspeople were honored in Oslo's City Hall on May 14 at the Business for Peace Summit. Extraordinary not only for their innovative products or services, or for the way their technology has made production or service delivery more efficient or more rapid, but for something much more fundamental. The five individuals honored by the foundation are proposing a philosophy of business different from the oft-stated ideas that the "business of business is business" or that profit is the ultimate arbiter of enterprise's value.

The five Honourees - from the Middle East, the Americas, South Asia and Europe - were announced simultaneously in Oslo, and during the X session of the 8th World Chambers Congress in Doha. Have all five have they demonstrated that businesses have a responsibility to their communities' stakeholders as much as to their shareholders. The 2013 Honourees are Arif Masood Naqvi Pakistan; Connie Hasemann, Denmark; Margaret L Groff, Brasil; Nadia Al-Sakkaf, Yemen; and Lord Abinger, accepting for Dean Cycon, USA.

Following Business for Peace Awards the global edition of International Herald Tribune printed a large piece in the May 27 edition of the International Herald Tribune. The below features parts of the piece published in the Herald Tribune.

Individuals who create social value while making a profit

To make a difference, to create social as well as economic value and to inspire both the general public and the business community through concrete actions and ethical and responsible business practices: these are the elevated criteria of the Oslo Business for Peace Award.
Kofi Annan, former United Nations secretary general and Nobel Peace Prize laureate says: "I think the idea behind the Oslo Award and the potential impact it may have are important and inspiring."
The 2013 award is a joint effort by the Business for Peace Foundation, the International Chamber of Commence and the United Nations Development Programme. The ICC and the UNDP carry out a worldwide search for individuals who do business in ways that live up to the ideals of the award and its criteria.

The UNDP entered into a formal collaboration with the Business for Peace Foundation in 2012. Heba El-Kholy, director of the UNDP's Oslo Governance Center, says that given the private sector's role in driving growth, "this is an emerging and exiting area that OGC needs to engage in proactively and where we can make a difference."

The International Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business organization, has collaborated with the Business for Peace Foundation through several award cycles and sees the work it does together with the Business for Peace Foundation as complementary to the tenets of the organization. It was founded in 1919 by a group of businessmen known as the "merchants of peace" who were convinced that peace through trade was a viable path toward averting the horrors of war and strife.

The Honourees are chosen by an independent jury, composed of winners of the Nobel Prizes for Peace or Economics. Since the first edition in 2009, the award has continued to grow in stature. To date, 25 businesspeople have been honored, including the 2013 Honourees. In 2013, there were 72 nominees from 44 countries.

Doing Business in Fragile Environments

The theme of the Oslo Business for Peace Award Summit this year was "Business in Fragile Environments" and the ceremony included a round-table discussion around that theme and sustainable development generally. Participating in the dicussion were Ibrahim Abouleish, a 2012 Business for Peace honoree and chairman of the Sekem group of companies; Jim Marshall, president of of the United Sates Institute of Peace; Jodan Ryan, assistant secretary general and director of the United Nations Development Programme; and Peter Mihok, chairman of the World Chambers Federation of the International Chamber of Commerce. Moderating was Alison Smale, executive editor of the International Herald Tribune.

The themes ranged broadly as the members of the round table freely exchanged their views. Mihok pointed out that, in his role at the ICC, he noticed the importance of cultural differences and advised that they be taken into account when developing rules or guidelines for businesses. Marshall cautioned, however, that although cultural context did matter, there were universal values that should be pursued everywhere. Abouleish emphasized the importance of inspiration and vision as motivation that can change attitudes and behaviors. Mihok added that it was necessary that decision makers think of the impact of every decision on the generations of their children and grandchildren.
Marshall added that there were also a need for rules and regulations, because not all actors in the economy will be influenced enough by inspiration or by considering the effects of today's actions on future generations.
Ryan said that he was optimistic that new ways of doing business - considering businesses' value to society as well as to its economic value - may be adopted more quickly by younger generations.
An audience member asked the participants how they foresaw the world in 2050, when the UN estimates suggest the world population will count nine billion people. Mihok expected behaviour to be globally more responsible, while Marshall cautioned against disruption due to greater automation, greater development of service economies and the danger of violent conflicts over scarce resources. Abouleish and Ryan expressed their wishes for the future. Abouleish said he hoped GDP will have been abandoned as a measure of well-being. Ryan hoped that Adam Smith's conception of capitalism will be better understood, emphasizing the economic philosopher's warning that moral corruption is based on admiration on the rich and the debasement of the poor.