Press release: Principles for Responsible Investment new Nomination Partner

Wednesday, 22 November 2017 14:28

The Foundation is proud to welcome PRI, Principles for Responsible Investment, as our new nomination partner. PRI completes our group of nomination partners, representing investors and the financial sector. PRI is the world’s leading proponent of responsible investment.

PRI believes that an economically efficient, sustainable global financial system is a necessity for long-term value creation. The principles whom signatories commit to, contributes to creating a system that rewards long-term, responsible investment and benefits the environment and society as a whole.

The initiative was launched in 2006, by a group of the world’s largest institutional investors. The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Swedish Folksam and the Norwegian Government Pension Fund are among its founding members. Today, the principles have more than 1.800 signatories from over 50 countries, representing approximately US$70 trillion in assets. It is currently expanding its reach into regions like Asia, South America and Africa. Read more about PRI on their websites.

Celebrate International Day of Peace: Nominate a candidate for the Oslo Business for Peace Award

Thursday, 21 September 2017 11:35

Oslo – 
Together with our partners in the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Global Compact (UNGC), we are now seeking candidates for the 2018 Oslo Business for Peace Award.

The Award is the highest distinction given to a businessperson for outstanding businessworthy accomplishments – ethically and responsibly creating value both for company and society.

To sustain successfully in business, leaders are increasingly promoting a businessworthy culture. The stories of our Honourees – business leaders who choose to lead their businesses in a businessworthy manner – deserve to be shared and celebrated. – Per L. Saxegaard, Founder and Chair, Business for Peace Foundation

Honourees are selected by an independent committee consisting of Nobel Laureates in peace and economics, after a global bottom-up nomination process through the Foundation’s global partners; the ICC, UNDP and UNGC. The international partners’ local affiliates can nominate candidates who 1) act as role models for society and their peers; 2) stand out as advocates for responsible and ethical business conduct, and; 3) have earned trust by their stakeholders.

Previous winners include Elon Musk (Tesla and SolarCity), Paul Polman (Unilever), Marilyn Carlson Nelson (Carlson Companies) Richard Branson (Virgin Group) and Sarah Beydoun (Sarah’s Bag), and the Award has been dubbed “The Nobel Prize in business” by international media.

As the first Canadian to be an Honouree for the Oslo Business for Peace Award, it is particularly meaningful to be recognized. Awards like the “Oslo Business for Peace Award” truly show that business can be about more than dollars – that it can impact and change society and people’s lives in a positive way. – Murad Al-Katib, 2017 Honouree

How to nominate?

Those affiliated with local, regional and national organisations and networks of International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are welcome to nominate their candidate for the 2018 Oslo Business for Peace Award. The deadline to receive nominations online is November 21st and the winners of the Oslo Business for Peace Award will be presented in Oslo City Hall on May 16th 2018.


Suggest your candidate via our nomination partners’ websites:

International Chamber of Commerce

United Nations Global Compact

United Nations Development Programme

Missed 2017 Oslo Business for Peace Award Ceremony? Watch it here!

Thursday, 01 June 2017 14:47

The 2017 Oslo Business for Peace Award Ceremony took place at Oslo City Hall on May 16th. This year we welcomed Durreen Shahnaz, Harley Seyedin, Murad Al-Katib and Elon Musk to the Business for Peace Honourees family.

Raymond Johansen, Governing Mayor of Oslo, opened the Award Ceremony followed by welcome speech by Per  L. Saxegaard, Founder and Board Chair of Business for Peace Foundation. A keynote speech “2017 State of the Union between Business and Society” was given by Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland who is a former Prime Minister of Norway and Chair of the Brundtland Commission (´Our Common Future´). As a part of the Award Ceremony the dialogue with Aurore Belfrage (Entrepreneur, startup advisor and part of EQT Ventures) and Vaibhav Lodha (Co-Founder of ftcash) was facilitated by the moderator, Henrik Syse (Philosopher and researcher at PRIO).

The arrangement was accompanied by the music performances curated by Artistic Director, Maren Selvaag. Artists that performed at the Award Ceremony included Aliya Cycon (oud, vocals), Maren Selvaag (piano), Hans Kjorstad (Violin), Rasmus Kjorstad (Harding Fiddle), Jonas Barsten (drums, electronics), Kristian B. Jacobsen (bass), Bygdøy School Choir Stella Vitae.

We would like to thank everyone who made this event happen and share a full footage of the Award Ceremony with you here.

Business leaders mobilize for sustainability

 Thursday, 18 May 2017 13:55

40 executives from the Norwegian business sector, recently in China, have given promise to work to meet the UN’s sustainability goals in recent days.

From left to right: Murad Al-Katib, Durreen Shahnaz, Erna Solberg and Harley Seyedin

Last year, the Oslo-based foundation, Business for Peace went on to ensure that business leaders across the world promised to lead their companies so that sustainability goals could be met.

During the roundtable conference at Business for Peace on May 16th, Prime Minister Erna Solberg emphasized that business is the “muscle” in the cooperation to achieve the UN’s sustainability goals.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg leads the UN’s Advocates group to promote sustainability goals. The targets will be redeemed by 2030.

Famous names

The Virgin boss Richard Branson and the top manager of Unilever Paul Polman declared their promise in 2016 and in the past year several hundred new leaders, both international and Norwegian, have followed up. Among them are Statoil Eldar Sætre, Egil Hogna in Sapa and Svein Tore Holsether in Yara.

The business leaders who have signed up to now represent companies that have a total turnover of over NOK 5700 billion, with more than 2 201 000 employees.

China Support

Following Erna Solberg’s visit to China, along with a large business delegation, last week, alongside with Head of Innovation Norway, Anita Krohn-Traaseth, took an initiative to gather support for the sustainability promise from the around 300 leaders who participated on the trip. So far, 40 leaders have given the promise. 

Gro speak

In her speech at the opening of the Business for Peace Round Table Conference, Erna Solberg highlighted the Brundtland Commission’s report “Our Common Future”, which celebrates 30 years in 2017. The theme of this year’s conference is the Brundtland report. Gro Harlem Brundtland helds the speech “State of the Union between Business and Society” at Oslo Business for Peace Award Ceremony in Oslo City Hall. This year’s prize winners are Elon Musk, Durreen Shahnaz, Harley Seyedin and Murad Al-Katib. The award winners are selected by an independent committee of Nobel winners in  both peace and economics.

How are Norwegian companies affected internationally by increasing geopolitical tensions ?

Friday, 28 April 2017 17:24

Thursday April 27th, Business for Peace Foundation hosted a panel debate together with the Nobel Peace Center as a run-up to the 2017 Business for Peace Summit.

An increasing number of Norwegian business leaders are, together with the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global, emphasising the importance of setting requirements for companies in which they choose to deal with or invest in, said moderator Elisabeth Skarsbø Moen when introducing the topic.

The panel, consisting of Kiran AzizAnniken HuitfeldtJohan H. Andresen and Matts Johansen offered interesting perspectives on the effects of setting such requirements, in a world experiencing growing unrest.

n his capacity as chairman of the Council on Ethics for the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global, Andresen emphasised that the fund’s impact is significant and increasingly so. This process is reinforced by international companies becoming more and more interested in following the council’s ethical guidelines in order not to be excluded from the fund’s portfolio.

Huitfeldt, Chair of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence at the Norwegian Parliament, could confirm that the awareness of the ethical guidelines is increasing also among state leaders and government authorities across the globe.

When being asked whether companies can exert significant influence in an area like human rights, Kiran Aziz, Lecturer at the Norwegian Business School’s Department of Law and Governance, shared the following reflections:

–  Human rights are a responsibility of the state and so other state authorities should be the ones following up. However, not all states succeed in their work on this, thus the presence, by for instance foreign companies, becomes an alternative way to exercise this influence, said Aziz.

State leaders no longer ask for aid, they ask for partnerships and business cooperation, something which will be an important part of the Norwegian development model moving forward.
-Anniken Huitfeldt, Chair of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence

One of the greater challenges experienced by Norwegian companies during the last years, was the stalemate in Norway’s official relations with China in 2010, a situation which ended late last year.

CEO of Aker Biomarine, Matts Johansen, confirmed that the situation challenged the trade relations and also the ability for Norwegian companies to exercise influence.

–  One of the most important contributions we can do is to be present, with our values and culture, said Johansen. During this period, there has been a full stop to these processes.

Moving back to the topic of governmental involvement, the panel was asked whether they believe it is typically a Norwegian thing to push ethical standards when doing trade.

–  This is not a ‘Norwegian thing to do’, there is a large group of Western countries pulling in the same direction, thus the pressure on those countries with poor conditions comes from multiple actors, said Andresen.

Aziz added that the OECD guidelines is an international instrument to exert such influence, signed by 34 of the OECD member countries and 12 countries outside the organisation.

In a changing geopolitical environment, additional challenges follow, such as an antiglobalisation rhetoric and antidemocratic tendencies. The panellists were also asked whether this, in any way, puts greater demands on those trying to influence for improved standards?

–  In these situations, we are absolutely dependent on the political and societal sphere pulling in the same direction. As with the example of China, the business relations came to a standstill as well, and the re-ignition was always at the mercy of Chinese authorities, said Johansen.

A returning topic of the discussion was the sustainability agenda and its position and potential in Norway. All four agreed that a change in mind-set is taking place.

–  There is a strong trend among new generations to look for jobs that do not only generate income, but through which they can make a difference. We receive a high number of applications from this group, creating a large advantage for the company as it provides a work force with values which match that of the company. This, in turn, adds further to the company’s value creation, said Johansen.

Welcome to a breakfast seminar at PRIO


Time: May 4 08:30-10.00

Place: Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), Hausmanns gate 3 0186 Oslo

This breakfast meeting is jointly hosted by:
Moderator: Gregory M. Reichberg (PRIO)
  • John Elkington (Volans, UK)
  • Selima Ahmad (BWCCI, Bangladesh)
With comments from:
  • Torunn Tryggestad (PRIO)
  • Benedicte Bull (SUM, UiO)

For registration and more information, please visit PRIOs website.

What is the future of collaboration between society and business?

 Friday, 15 April 2016 09:11

Thursday April 14th, The Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo was host to the debate “Peace as a business idea”, the first event of the 2016 Oslo Business for Peace Summit.

– Although the theme of today might seem contradictory, it most certainly is not. It is representative of a global move towards a new way of conducting business, said moderator Christian Borch as a part of his opening statement.

The panel consisting of Nina Jensen (WWF), Jonas Gahr Støre (AP), Tore Lærdal (Lærdal Global Health) and Hanne Sofie Lindahl (Changemaker) was quick to add their perspectives on what this implies for the collaboration between business and society.

– As a family owned company with a long perspective, the mutual trust we have built with communities in which we operate over 50 years, has enabled us to build partnerships and make an impact, said Tore Lærdal.
He emphasised how fleeting ownership structures of publicly traded companies often interfered with business leaders having a more long-term and sustainable perspective of their business.

Business now can identify a profitable way of solving some of the urgent and developing issues that we as a society face, such as climate change.

– Nina Jensen, Secretary General WWF Norway and member of the Business for Peace Board

A returning topic of the discussion was how to facilitate a constructive collaboration between business and the societies and communities they are a part of.

– I am more optimistic now than ever before, said Nina Jensen. Business now can identify a profitable way of solving some of the urgent and developing issues that we as a society face, such as climate change. However, it’s naïve to believe that business will solve this themselves, in a vacuum, but rather in a collaboration with society through clear expectations and demands from political institutions.

But – business solutions to evolving problems cannot be politically decided, they need to grow forth through a myriad of failed attempts and budding initiatives.

– What country is in a better position to show the way towards a leading position in combining economic growth with the responsible stewardship of natural resources such as the ocean, asked Jonas Gahr Støre rhetorically. Following up – it will demand great effort from us, but we are in a special global position, with special responsibility.

How do we move forward to build impact? Can we identify a new kind of collaboration?

– Yes, said Gahr Støre, it is a necessity, but as politicians we must be aware not to micro-manage business in the direction that we see fit.

– Yes, said Jensen, citing the need for public action through grass roots movements. Through wide spread accessibility of new technologies, all of us have tremendous power to engage with our surroundings and communities – and with power comes great responsibility, she said.

Tore Lærdal, speaking as a 2016 Business for Peace Honouree, got final remarks, and used the opportunity to emphasise the need to strengthen the social contract between society and business.

We must strengthen our global effort, through multinational institutions such as United Nations, if we are to achieve our mutual goals in the years to come

– Tore Lærdal, co-owner and Chairman of the Board of Lærdal Medical and Business for Peace Honouree 2016

Nominations for 2015 – now open!

 Friday, 19 September 2014 14:57

The nomination process for 2015 has started. Nominations are done through the local Chamber of Commerce, UNDP or UNGC offices.

For the highest distinction that can be given to a business person for outstanding businessworthy accomplishments. We are searching the world for successful individuals within the business community, who are role models to others, advocating the importance of creating shared value in societies where they are active, and having earned the trust of all stakeholders.

For more information get in touch or contact one of our nominating partners: Your local Chamber of Commerce, UNDP or UNGC offices.

Nominating closing on January 15th 2015

The Award Ceremony will take place in Oslo in May 2015