Dubbed the Nobel Prize of business by international media, the Oslo Business for Peace Award is awarded annually to exemplary business leaders who foster peace and stability for the greater good of society through their everyday business efforts.
Commenting on the announcement, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce John Danilovich said: “ICC is proud to be a partner of the Business for Peace Foundation and play a part in the nomination process. While some believe that business is just about profits, these three honourees are clear examples of how the private sector is actively engaged in generating positive change for a better, brighter tomorrow.”
The winners were selected by an independent committee of Nobel Prize honourees in Peace and in Economics, after a global nomination process assisted by ICC, the United Nations Global Compact, the United Nations Development Programme and Principles for Responsible Investment. The committee comprises Ouided Bouchamaoui, a Tunisian businesswoman; Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian lawyer; Leymah Gbowee, a Liberian peace activist; Finn Kydland, a Norwegian economist; and Eric Maskin, an American economist. Each of the nominees was chosen based on his or her actions as a role model and advocate to society and peers.
The 2018 award winners are:
Lori Blaker (United States)
As President and CEO of TTi Global—a staffing, recruiting and consulting firm operating on five continents with more than 2,000 employees—Ms Blaker champions inclusion and gender equality as core company values. Reflecting on her win, Ms Blaker said: “Businesses can be crucial in identifying issues and challenges in their communities—both socially and economically. It’s important, especially in today’s political climate, that we use this knowledge to drive change and growth in our world. To me, this recognition is a validation of the effort and conviction that TTi Global has, indeed, been on the right path.”
Ms Blaker is recognised for her business performance not only in the United States but in developing economies, such as Afghanistan. In 2016, she opened a retail automotive service centre, as well as a training centre in Kabul. In such a challenging environment, these initiatives created much-needed job opportunities, for both men and women. Ms Blaker also developed a specialised training programme expressly for local women to learn management skills. These are just a few examples of her commitments to spur positive change through her business.
Edgar Montenegro (Colombia)
The Colombian Pacific Coast has long been affected by the country’s internal conflict. In a region rampant with poverty, violence and illegal coca crop production, Mr Montenegro wanted to improve standards of living by providing a legal and reliable source of income. In 2003, he founded Corpocampo, with the aim of using food production to build sustainable communities. Commenting on his award, Mr Montenegro said: “It is very gratifying to be recognised for the work we do in places where the situation of poverty and insecurity is very different to the one in the capital. Although it is often difficult to do business in the middle of the jungle due to the lack of infrastructure and the presence of armed groups and drug traffickers, we know that what we do in Corpocampo ensures the well-being of 1,300 families—we have a very big commitment to them.”
Mr Montenegro’s 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, he 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. Mr Montenegro is honoured for his courageous achievements, which demonstrate private sector peace-building capabilities, through realising business opportunities that help marginalised groups become more resilient.
Martin Naughton, KBE (Ireland)
Mr Naughton has grown Glen Dimplex Group from seven employees in 1973 to Ireland’s largest privately-owned manufacturing business. Today, Glen Dimplex is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of domestic appliances.
During the Northern Ireland conflict, Mr Naughton promoted business on both sides of the dividing line and negotiated cross-border trade. In response to climate change, he also helped establish a corporate department on renewable and low-carbon solutions for heating, cooling and ventilation.
Mr Naughton receives the Business for Peace Award for his inspiring efforts to further the role of the private sector in contributing to peace and environmental sustainability. He said: “I am honoured and humbled to have been recognised by Business for Peace for this award. Throughout my life in business, as founder of Glen Dimplex Group, I have been fortunate to have been able to play my part in effecting positive societal change. As we approach the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, I am reminded that we must continue to work to maintain peace on both sides of the Irish border. Similarly, we must redouble our efforts to tackle climate change and promote environmental sustainability.”
Previous laureates of the Business for Peace Award include Sarah Beydoun (Sarah’s Bag); Richard Branson (Virgin Group); Marilyn Carlson Nelson (Carlson Companies); Elon Musk (Tesla and SolarCity); and Paul Polman (Unilever).