International Business for Peace Award Has Local Connections
11 April 2017 at 4:13 pm
Billionaire inventor Elon Musk who pledged to fix South Australia’s energy crisis in 100 days, and the founder of the world’s first stock exchange dedicated to social enterprises Durreen Shahnaz are two of the four winners of the 2017 Oslo Business for Peace Award.
The two other winners are Dr Harley Seyedin and Murad Al-Katib.
The Oslo Business for Peace Award is given to business leaders for outstanding business-worthy accomplishments. An independent award committee of Nobel Laureates in peace and economics selected four entrepreneurs for the 2017 award.
“The 2017 honourees represent leaders who mobilise their businesses to help solve societal problems, creating value for both society and for their business. [They] are helping to change the face of capital markets, driving technology to solve the challenges of climate change promoting the merits of social inclusiveness and spearheading sustainable agriculture whilst alleviating hunger in the Syrian refugee crisis,” the judges said.
Both Musk and Shahnaz have connections to Australia.
Musk received the award for his leadership in the automotive industry, and for his “showcasing of business’ ability to help confront and solve the world’s most demanding and complex problems”.
His battery technology company Tesla merged with SolarCity – the USA’s second largest provider of solar systems – which he founded with his cousin Lyndon Rive.
Early in March 2017 Musk offered to fix South Australia’s energy issues within 100 days, claiming that he would do it for free if he failed to meet the deadline.
His offer came after several blackouts due to storms that caused local energy suppliers to struggle to meet demand following damage to infrastructure.
Musk told the Australian Financial Review that the company could install the 100 to 300 megawatt per hour of battery storage that South Australia required to stop power shortages and blackouts within 100 days.
Shahnaz received the award for her work in spearheading the transformation of the way financial and capital markets work, focusing on purpose and maximising impact.
Her work in Impact Investment Exchange Asia (IIX), the world’s first stock exchange dedicated to social enterprises – which she founded in 2009 – is said to have positively impacted 10 million lives to date.
Shahnaz was the first Bangladeshi woman to work on Wall Street and to graduate from the renowned Wharton School of Business.
Her first entrepreneurial venture was in 1999 when she began an e-commerce company that connected rural artisans worldwide to an online global marketplace with oneNest. After growing and selling oneNest, she continued her pursuit of sustainable growth and equitable markets by founding IIX.
“Impact investing has been growing rapidly in recent years and I am honored to be recognised as an innovator at the forefront of this movement,” Shahnaz said.
“I view this award as a celebration of both the progress we have made to date as well as an encouragement to continue to dedicate myself and IIX to this mission and impact 100 million lives by 2020 by changing finance and financing change for social and environmental good.”
Shahnaz has already established a IIX chapter in Australia as well as India, USA, Taiwan and Vietnam. The IIX chapters provide training, tools and inspiration to empower current and future generations to participate in impact investing.
Dr Harley Seyedin is an Iranian immigrant to the US who has spent his life building a multi-national electricity and low carbon infrastructure development business in China and the Philippines. He has lived more than 20 years in China and for the past nine years has held the position of president of the American Chamber of Commerce in South China.
Murad Al-Katib, son of Turkish immigrants to Canada, received the award for his entrepreneurship in leading the way in sustainable agriculture and contributing to feeding millions of refugee families in the Syrian crisis.
The judges said all of this year’s Business for Peace honourees highlighted business-worthy entrepreneurship by contributing to sustainable development in the communities where they unfolded their businesses and they helped build societal trust in business and stood out as important role models.
The annual Oslo Business for Peace Summit brings together 150 to 200 board chairs, CEOs and leaders of international organisations to discuss practical actions needed to make substantial, business relevant progress on fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals.
Details of the awards can be read here.