Three business leaders exemplifying ‘businessworthy’ values and shaping society for the better have been named 2019 Oslo Business for Peace Award winners. This year’s laureates are Agbor Ashumanyi Ako, the Co-founder of GiftedMom; Alice Laugher, the CEO of Committed to Good (CTG); and Hamdi Ulukaya, the Founder and CEO of Chobani.
Heading companies that have a broader view than just the bottom line, these individuals see business as a driver for change, taking action to improve the world around them. In recognising their achievements, the Oslo Business for Peace Award, commonly known as the “Nobel Prize of business”, honours exemplary leaders who promote peace and stability for the greater good of society through their everyday business activities.
Commenting on the awards, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce John W.H. Denton AO said:
“ICC is privileged to recognise the three 2019 laureates for leading by example to foster greater equality, opportunity and longevity in pioneering ways. As we reinvigorate our organization’s founding ethos to enable business worldwide to promote peace, prosperity and opportunity for the next 100 years, we applaud these leaders for their demonstrated commitment to bringing about positive change in their respective communities.”
The three award winners were selected by a dedicated committee comprising Nobel Laureates in peace and economics following a global, bottom-up nomination process led by ICC and other Business for Peace partners, including Principles for Responsible Investment, the United Nations Development Program and the United Nations Global Compact.
Speaking on the actions of the three leaders, Business for Peace Founder Per L. Saxegaard said:
“The 2019 Honourees have managed to create enterprises with significant social impact. In a world of imbalance, they have taken the initiative to establish and grow businesses that offer opportunities to women, minorities, diverse and disadvantaged groups.”
“These three celebrated individuals have worked tirelessly to counteract inequalities, encouraging inclusion and democratising access to health, aid, and work. Through their businesses, they promote human rights, contribute to sustaining peace and help build environments in which human potential can flourish.”
The 2019 Oslo Business for Peace Award Winners are:
Dr Agbor Ashumanyi Ako (Cameroon)
Agbor Ashumanyi Ako is one of the Co-founders of GiftedMom, a digital health platform based in Cameroon that gives pregnant women and mothers across Africa access to vital health information and care. As a digital-first platform, GiftedMom is able to expand faster than traditional health care systems and the start-up aims to reach 10 million women in the next 10 years.
Started by Alain Nteff and Doctor Tankou Conrad in 2012, the platform now has over 170,000 users. The award-winning app has significantly improved both pregnancy check-up attendance and vaccination turnouts, with an ultimate goal to see a world free of preventable maternal and infant deaths.
Dr Agbor said: “This recognition is a symbol to show that there is progress in the right direction for the company, GiftedMom. It comes as a reminder of the mission ahead. Being nominated by experts from the United Nations Development Programme Business Call to Action community and selected by former Nobel Peace Prize laureates is an indication of how the work GiftedMom is doing provides a global solution to help solve today’s challenges.”
Alice Laugher (United Arab Emirates)
Alice Laugher is the CEO of Committed to Good (CTG), which provides employment and logistics services to development and relief programmes in fragile and conflict-affected countries. From running Ebola treatment clinics in Liberia to food distribution in Afghanistan and South Sudan, monitoring and assisting refugees in Libya, and rebuilding government constitution in Somalia, the work of CTG is as diverse as our world’s issues.
British-born, Ms Laugher is a vocal advocate for the Sustainable Development Agenda, with a particular focus on gender equality. She is passionate about CTG being a force for good and creating economic opportunities for women in war-torn regions.
Commenting on her award, Ms Laugher said: “At CTG, we’ve made empowering women through humanitarian employment in conflict-affected regions our focus. This award, this incredible recognition for our commitment, strengthens our determinations that we are moving in the right direction. I hope it will inspire business leaders, both women and men, to believe that their commitments to change and peace — no matter how small or large in scale — are the only way forward.”
Hamdi Ulukaya (United States)
Hamdi Ulukaya is the Founder and CEO of Chobani, the company behind the number one Greek yoghurt in America. Today, Chobani has over 2,000 employees in the United States, 30% of which are legally resettled immigrants and refugees. Mr Ulukaya has created a corporate culture in which everyone is welcome and has an opportunity to thrive; with innovative profit-sharing and parental leave programmes. He has also taken a leadership role in the global business community to encourage action from the private sector to tackle the global refugee crisis.
Upon receiving his award, Mr Ulukaya said: “I’m very humbled by this honour, and I’m proud to accept it on behalf of the women and men of team Chobani. This new way of business – where companies focus on people and not just profits to try and make the world a little bit better –should be at the heart of every modern company. As CEOs, we don’t need to have more, we need to do more. When we see an injustice, we need to speak out. When we have tools and resources to solve problems, we have to use them.”
Currently in its 10th year, the Award boasts an impressive roster of laureates, including Sarah Beydoun, the Founder and Creative Director of Sarah’s Bag; Sir Richard Branson, the Founder of Virgin Group; and Paul Polman, ICC Chair and former CEO of Unilever.