Michigan Global Business Leader Among Three to Win 2018 Oslo Business for Peace Award
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Business for Peace announces the winners of the 2018 Oslo Business for Peace Award: Lori Blaker, President and CEO of TTi Global, Edgar Montenegro, Founder and CEO of Corpocampo, and Martin Naughton, Founder of Glen Dimplex Group. All three winners have made exceptional contributions to peacebuilding through business, including creating economic opportunities in Kabul, Afghanistan.
DETROIT, March 20, 2018 - The Oslo Business for Peace Award is given out annually to exemplary business leaders who apply their business energy ethically and responsibly, creating economic and societal value. An independent committee of Nobel Laureates selected the 2018 winners who will join the prestigious ranks of past award recipients including Sir Richard Branson (Virgin Group), Paul Polman (Unilever), Jennifer Riria (Kenya Women Holding), Dureen Shahnaz (Impact Investment Exchange), and Elon Musk (Tesla).
Lori Blaker (United States) champions inclusion and gender equality as core values at TTi Global, staffing, recruiting, and consulting firm operating on five continents with over 2000 employees. Blaker is recognized for her business performance not only in the United States but in developing economies such as India and Afghanistan. In 2016, Blaker opened a retail Automotive Service Center and Training Center in Kabul, creating much-needed job opportunities in a challenging environment. Notably, the facility employs both men and women. Blaker developed a specialized training program for local women to learn management skills in an industry they would traditionally be barred from, which is just one example of her commitment to making positive change through business.
Edgar Montenegro (Colombia) founded Corpocampo in 2003 with the aim of using food production to build sustainable communities. The Colombian Pacific Coast region has long been affected by the country’s internal conflict, leading to widespread poverty, violence, and illegal coca crop production. Montenegro wanted to improve peoples’ lives by providing a legal and reliable source of income. His company specializes in the production and distribution of acai berries and palm hearts, with all products deriving from sustainable farming practices. Operating in several locations in Colombia, Montenegro works closely with local Afro-Colombian communities and indigenous people. Corpocampo has provided jobs for over 240 female-headed households, impacting over 1,300 families. Montenegro is recognized for his courageous achievements in proving how the private sector can build peace by identifying business opportunities that help marginalized groups become more resilient.
Martin Naughton, KBE (Ireland) has grown Glen Dimplex Group from seven employees in 1973, to become Ireland’s largest privately-owned manufacturing business, and one of the world’s leading manufacturers of domestic appliances. During the turbulent years of the Northern Ireland conflict, Naughton promoted and supported industry on both sides of the border, including negotiating a cross-border trade. Naughton also played a significant role in establishing a corporate department on renewable and low-carbon solutions for heating, cooling, and ventilation, taking an active role in tackling climate change. Naughton receives the award for his inspiring efforts to promote the role of the private sector in contributing to peace and environmental sustainability.
The selection process
Winners are selected annually by an independent committee of Nobel Prize laureates in Peace and Economics after a global nomination process through the International Chamber of Commerce, United Nations Global Compact, United Nations Development Programme, and Principles for Responsible Investment. The Award Committee consists of Shirin Ebadi (Iran), Leymah Gbowee (Liberia), Finn Kydland (Norway), Ouided Bouchamaoui (Tunisia), and Eric Maskin (USA). The committee evaluated the nominees on the criteria of being a role model to society and their peers, having earned trust by stakeholders, and standing out as an advocate.
Upcoming award ceremony
The three winners will receive the Award in a ceremony at Oslo City Hall on May 16, as part of the annual Business for Peace Summit. The theme for this year’s Summit is Building Trust: Accelerating Climate Leadership. Chef and business leader Jamie Oliver as well as Christiana Figueres, one of the principal architects of the Paris Agreement and former Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, have been announced as speakers for the Summit.
Lori Blaker: “Businesses can be crucial in identifying issues and challenges in their communities both socially and economically. It’s important, especially in today’s political climate, that we use this knowledge to drive change and growth in our world. To me, this recognition is a validation of the effort and conviction that TTi Global has indeed been on the right path.”
Edgar Montenegro: "I am proud of the work we have been doing for several years in Corpocampo. It is very gratifying to be recognized for the work we do in places where the situation of poverty and insecurity is very different to the one in the capital. Although it is often difficult to do business in the middle of the jungle due to the lack of infrastructure and the presence of armed groups and drug traffickers, we know that what we do in Corpocampo ensures the well-being of 1,300 families and we have a very big commitment to them.”
Martin Naughton: “I am honored and humbled to have been recognized by Business for Peace for this award. Throughout my life in business as founder of Glen Dimplex Group, I have been fortunate to have been able to play my part in effecting positive societal change. As we approach the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, I am reminded that we must continue to work to maintain peace on both sides of the Irish border. Similarly, we must redouble our efforts to tackle climate change and promote environmental sustainability.”