NGO Report :: Nobel Peace Laureate Muhammad Yunus attended the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos from 22-25 January 2013.At WEF, he participated along with Sir Richard Branson and Bill Gates on the Future of Capitalism. The discussion took place on 23 January and was moderated by former British PM Tony Blair.
In his remarks Professor Yunus said that there is a need to bring human identity back to the business, defining business should be something that “will not do harm to people, will not do harm to planet, will not exploit people, will have no corruption and no deception”. Sharing his own experience, Professor Yunus said he is creating a space in conventional between business and philanthropy – which he terms as social business. This is dedicated to solve problems, not to make personal money.
Professor Yunus was invited to the lunch hosted by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, where he was asked to make comments by WEF founder Klaus Schwab. Professor Yunus briefed the PM about the Japanese companies doing social business including clothes retailing giant Uniqlo, explaining the concept to the PM. Professor Yunus proposed for Japan to dedicate huge dormant account funds in Japan, which lie unutilized, towards creating a social business fund. PM Abe was very happy to hear about these ideas and particularly about Uniqlo’s involvement in social business
Professor Yunus participated in a high level meeting attended by UN Secretary General Ban ki Moon, World Bank President Jim Kim, moderated by US Vice President Al Gore on global climate change.
He was invited to have a meeting with Minister of International Trade and Industry of Malaysia Mustapa Mohammed to discuss the details of launching of social business fund in Malaysia. The Fund was announced by Honourable Prime Minister of Malaysia Mohammad Najib during the Social Business Summit in Kuala Lumpur in November 2013.
Professor Yunus also had meeting with noted actor of the “Bourne” films and activist Matt Damon who has launched an organization called Water.org that seeks to bring clean water to remote parts of Africa and India where poorest people lack access. In his speech for Water.org at WEF, Damon said his work is inspired by Professor Yunus, whose work he has been following for many years.
He also had a special review meeting with the Prime Minister of Haiti Laurent Lamothe to review the ongoing social business being carried on the island nation by Yunus Social Business, particularly the progress of the social business to reforest the island, for which his government has already allocated ten thousand hectares of land.
Professor Yunus had separate meetings with the CEOs of German airline Lufthansa, leading Swiss Bank UBS and investment bank Goldman Sachs and worked out plans for their initiatives in Social Business particularly focussing on youth unemployment in South European countries.
He addressed the Young Global Shapers, outstanding young people selected to by the Schwab Foundation who are chosen for leadership qualities already demonstrated in work that changes the world. Professor Yunus attended the board meeting of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs, of which he has been a founding member along with Klaus Schwab, Hilda Schwab and Queen Mathilde of Belgium.
In Wiesbaden, Germany he had a meeting with newly elected Mayor, Sven Gerich to review the social business programs of the city which declared itself as the Social Business City. Professor Yunus visited Brussels where he addressed a meeting of business leaders, academics, and students. A leading business family of Belgium expressed their intention to create a social business fund for Belgium.