Social business is about future of humanity
The third Global Social Business Summit began in Vienna yesterday to discuss the progress of global movement of the new business concept to find ways to tackle the most pressing needs of the world.
Chancellor of Austria Werner Faymann inaugurated the summit at the Congress Centre of the Austrian capital.
Dr Michael Haupl, mayor of Vienna, greeted more than 500 delegates from 56 countries.
With the motto of “Pioneering for Results,” the 2011 summit has brought together individuals from corporate, political, civil society and academic world.
The four-day summit began on Wednesday.
The event offers a unique opportunity to network and gain an in-depth understanding of social business as a means of addressing social problems facing the world communities.
“The actual economic crisis forces us to rethink of our traditional way of doing business,” Prof Dr Muhammad Yunus, who invented the business concept, said at a press conference in Vienna. “It's about nothing less than the future of humanity,” said the 71-year-old Nobel laureate from Bangladesh.
“Social business is my hope for a new beginning, focusing on the Millennium Development Goals [MDGs] of the United Nations,” he said, adding that the youth must be involved in the process of attaining the MDGs.
The Grameen Bank founder in his opening speech talked about his conviction that the infinite human capacity will prevail in the struggle against global problems.
At a time when the world is in the midst of an unprecedented financial crisis, he said, “When the crisis is at the deepest, the opportunity is the greatest.
“We must place faith in the unlimited capacity for creativity inherent in human beings to recreate the world in such a way that is fairer to all, and sustainable,” said Yunus, according to a statement of Yunus Centre in Dhaka.
Werner Faymann urged all to use the social business concept to eradicate social discrimination.
Other noted speakers at the inaugural ceremony included Boris Marta, director on the board of Erste Foundation, Thomas Stelzer, assistant secretary general for Policy Coordination and Inter Agency Affairs and Hans Reitz, founder and creative director of the Grameen Creative Lab.
Dr Fatima Al-Balooshi, social development minister of Bahrain, was also present at the inaugural.
Thomas Stelzer read a message from the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. The UN chief in his message said the private sector, including social business, has a strong role to play to achieve the MDGs.
The UN will support the YY (Yunus and Youth) Social Business Millennium Tour through Africa this year, it added.
Stelzer said in the face of the current crisis which is the result of global imbalance, social business is one of the most important tools to achieve social equality.
Top-level representatives from international companies such as Danone, Sandoz, BASF and Intel as well as government representatives from Austria, Brazil, India and Bahrain, the European Union Commission and the UN will gather to exchange experiences and develop concrete goals for the future.
The discussions will focus on tackling new challenges through globalisation and creation of political frameworks for social businesses worldwide.