On May 15, EQT participated in the Oslo Business for Peace Summit and Awards 2014. The Summit included a Roundtable session for around 100 exclusively invited top executives, board members and leaders addressing The New Imperative; Creating Shared Value, which EQT sponsored and engaged in.
The Roundtable focused on what could be done at company level to bring about greater understanding, awareness and adoption of long-term value creation strategies. There was a strong belief that the future of business lies in reconnecting the success of companies with the success of the societies in which they are investing. All agreed this is not about classic corporate social responsibility, philanthropy or even sustainability – it is rather about implementing win-win solutions between business and society in order to create "multiple bottom lines" or "shared value".
EQT was represented by Thomas von Koch, Christian Sinding, Jannik Kruse Petersen, Lennart Blecher, Anders Misund, and Therése Lennehag. In addition, representatives from the portfolio companies, the EQT Industrial Network as well as selected EQT investors attended and contributed to the dialogue.
Frank Fiskers, CEO Scandic, was one of the speakers on the Shared Value in Practice agenda point sharing the work of Scandic and their journey, which very much began with a focus on environmental issues, to a shared value approach. Frank concluded that for Scandic, shared value is now an integral part of the business model and corporate culture simply because it makes good business sense.
The Roundtable elaborated on how shared value differentiates from “business as usual” and discussed whether it has changed anything fundamentally. In a panel reflecting on the shareholder perspective, Thomas von Koch emphasized that EQT has always had a responsible and stakeholder minded approach to investment and ownership. However, private equity must understand and respect society’s challenges and proactively engage with stakeholders, explaining how we contribute to solving some of these challenges.
The discussions were intense and in the end, participants were all in agreement that development cannot be left in the hands of governments alone. To solve the challenges society faces, companies also need to step up to the challenge and engage. Or, as the moderator of the day put it, “if you are not at the table, you are on the menu”.
The Business for Peace Foundation (the “Foundation”) is a non-profit foundation based in Oslo, Norway, focusing on increasing the awareness of ethical business practices. The Foundation was initiated in 2007 to encourage and inspire business leaders to be business worthy and engage with society as partners, in developing shared value and increasing trust between business and society. The Foundation has promoted the concept of Being Businessworthy as a way to understand how business leaders can develop trust with communities, contribute to wellbeing, and create conditions for sustainable development and peace.
Each year, the Foundation names up to seven Honorees who receive the Oslo Business for Peace Award, in recognition of their individual and outstanding business worthy contribution to the building of trust, stability and peace. The Honorees are selected by an independent committee with winners of either the Nobel Peace Prize or Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. In 2014, one of the Honorees was Sir Richard Branson.
To learn more about the Foundation, please visit www.businessforpeace.no