Davos Philanthropic Roundtable: NEWS

24.01.2014

Sir Richard Branson, Bill Gates and Muhammad Yunus discussed how to take philanthropy to the next level in Davos at the 7th Philanthropic RoundtableYesterday the Victor Pinchuk Foundation held its 7th Philanthropic Roundtable on the occasion of the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Yesterday the Victor Pinchuk Foundation held its 7th Philanthropic Roundtable on the occasion of the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos.  Opening the event businessman and philanthropist Victor Pinchuk, in the light of the latest developments in Ukraine, asked the audience to begin with a moment of silence to pray for the Ukrainian people, for peace, reason, compromise and reconciliation.

Sir Richard Branson , Founder of Virgin Group,  Bill Gates,  Co-Chair and Trustee of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Professor Muhammad Yunus,  Founder of Grameen Bank, Chairman of the Yunus Center, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (2006) took part in the panel discussion, rethinking the role of big business in philanthropy.  Rt Hon Tony Blair , Patron of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, moderated the discussion.

Starting the discussion  Bill Gates admitted that b usiness may contribute to philanthropy in many respects. One of its priority goals is to activate people to use their skills, experience and knowledge for innovative purposes. “I came to mentality business - use science, bring innovators in and explain problem to them, give them a fair bit of capital and know that some of those will fail, bring measurement.”

In his turn  Sir Richard Branson  insisted that business has to cooperate with government to solve global issues. To overcome the consequences of such large-scale problems as climate change for example, they have to come out with business solution. He continued that  “responsibility comes with the wealth. It is extremely important that we use that wealth to sort out the problems in the world. I think that if every company, every entrepreneur would think like that, almost all problems are solvable that way.” 

According to  Muhammad Yunus  there is a need to bring human identity back to the business, defining it as something that “will not do harm to people, will not do harm to planet, will not exploit people, will not have corruption, no deception, and so on”. Sharing his own experience, Yunus sees his activity as somewhere in the middle between business and philanthropy - social business, business with an idea to address all problems in a business way.

Through the example of a project to reforest Haity as a business proposition  Muhammad Yunus explains how it works:  “S ocial business has the objective of the socialism and the materialism of capitalism. We do it in exactly business way. Not in a sense to make money but to bring the forest in a sustainable way so it covers its own cost, creates livelihood, creates income for people and becomes beautiful country. There is livelihood issue, employment issue, and environment issue – all mingled into one. So this where the social business idea comes in… And also young people love it. They can create the world they want, not the world that somebody says this how businesses are run, you have to keep your mind focused on making money, you cannot look at anything else, the stock market will ask you what kind of performance is… We have to have a stock market of a different type – the one that tells you about people, about planet and the profit that you had. That’s the whole idea of the social business.”

The Roundtable brought together more than 400 leaders from the fields of philanthropy, business, politics, NGO and media .

Video record of the 7 th  Davos Philanthropic Roundtable 

Images  of the 7 th  Davos Philanthropic Roundtable 

The Philanthropic Roundtable is organized each year as a private event by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation at the occasion of the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos to bring together the world’s most renowned philanthropists and leaders from politics, the business community and the non-profit sector. Roundtable discussions address state-of-the-art approaches in philanthropy.

Since 2007, Roundtable panelists  have included, among others, Tony Blair,  Sir Richard Branson, Bill  Clinton, Bill and Melinda Gates, Jet Li, Shimon Peres, Muhammad Yunus, H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Paulo Coelho, Sean Parker, Eric Schmidt, Laurence Summers, Alec Ross, Peter Thiel, Jimmy Wales and others.

Organizer: The Victor Pinchuk Foundation

Telco Partner: Kyivstar

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