The 9th Global Social Business Summit ended in Germany on Friday seeking genuine efforts to address key global challenges and build a future that would spread happiness around the world through desired transformation.
Experts from the private sector, civil society, governments and academia — around 800 participants from 55 countries — shared their ideas on how a new civilisation could be built together to give everybody a better life and better future.
They focused on plastic pollution and circular economy, mobility, solidarity, sports and social business, food and its value during the two-day summit.
Nobel laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus and his creative adviser Hans Reitz organised the annual event and the leading conference on social business with the support of Volkswagen and Autostadt.
During a session on Friday, Yunus said a circular economy was needed to build a new civilisation.
Expressing the hope of finding solutions to any crisis, he laid emphasis on taking the best advantage of opportunities that every crisis brought.
He advised the Volkswagen Group to convert itself into a social business or at least into a ‘B Corp’ to have a better image.
The German car giant came under criticism when it admitted to cheating emission tests in the United States three years back.
Certified ‘B Corporations’ were businesses who worked by balancing purpose and profits. They were legally required to consider the impact of their day-to-day policies and practices of their workers, customers, suppliers, community and the environment.
The European ‘B Corp’ movement, officially launched in 2015 with 60 companies, had now grown to 500+ B Corps and was leading the way in Europe.
Adviser to Professor Yunus Nurjahan Begum said women and children were suffering the most in this world. ‘To me, a new civilisation means a world where nobody will suffer but will lead a happy life.’
She said she wanted to see a world which was free of poverty and without any boundary.
Hans Reitz said plastic did not belong to the nature and they needed a fundamental system change to address the problem. ‘What we need is a circular economy.’
The speakers, in two days, also shared ideas about the future of mobility, saying everyone was moving towards a new era of mobility which would create an ecosystem of connected ways of transportation — for persons and for goods.
They hoped that the future of mobility would be more sustainable, would create less traffic in large cities and would be less ownership-orientated by individuals.
Parliamentary state secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Maria Flachsbarth of Germany, executive director of Yunus Centre Lamiya Morshed, member of the board of management of Volkswagen AG’s human resources and organisation Gunnar Kilian, former NASA Astronaut Ron Garan, cheif executive officer of Autostadt Roland Clement, CEO of Grameen Creative Lab, head of GSBS Hans Reitz, co-founder and co-executive director of Sing for Hope Monica Yunus, cofounder and co-executive director of Sing for Hope Camille Zamora and impact investor and social entrepreneur Ruben Vardanyan spoke at various sessions of the GSBS 2018.
Prior to the main summit, the Social Business Academia Conference was held on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Autostadt, the headquarters of Volkswagen.
Professor Yunus, while opening the Social Business Academia Conference on Tuesday, said the academics were the navigators. ‘They’re the pilots who’re navigating everyone in the direction we should go in as a global society. If we continue on the current path, we’ll head towards disaster with wealth concentration and environmental degradation,’ he said.
He said the academics had to find a way to get to a new destination which was sustainable for all and social business was one way to do that.
The Social Business Academia Conference was jointly organised by Yunus Centre and the Grameen Creative Lab with the help of the Scientific and Organising Committee of SBAC.
SBAC was a platform for networking of the growing network of Yunus Social Business Centres at universities around the world to share their experiences and future plans.
There were currently 64 YSBCs in 28 countries.
At the SBAC, 37 papers were selected from among 52 submitted papers.
Nineteen of them were presented at the SBAC covering issues like Sustainable Development Goals, health, education and training, technology, marketing, financing social business, wealth concentration and other issues.
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