Wolfsburg (Germany), Nov 9 (UNB) - The 9th Global Social Business Summit (GSBS) ended here on Friday seeking genuine efforts to address key global challenges and build a future that will 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 together a new civilization can be built giving everybody a better life and better future.
They focused on plastic and circular economy, mobility, solidarity, sports and social business and food and its value during the two-day Summit with a hope to see big smiles around.
The prominent speakers explored ideas of how mobility and social business can create a better future for disadvantaged groups and improve people's life in a sustainable way of transportation.
Circular economy got special focus at the Summit as the concept recognises the importance of the economy needing to work effectively at all scales - for large and small businesses, for organisations and individuals, globally and locally.
The speakers stressed that transitioning to a circular economy represents a systemic shift that builds long-term resilience, generates business and economic opportunities, and provides environmental and societal benefits.
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Prof 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, Prof Yunus said it will be a circular economy instead of wasteful economy as they were discussing on building a new civilization.
Expressing the hope over finding solution to any crisis, he said, "Every crisis has an opportunity."
Prof Yunus laid emphasis on taking best advantage of opportunity that every crisis brings.
He advised Volkswagen Group to convert itself into a social business or at least 'B Corp' to have better image forgetting the past. "Forget about the past."
The German car giant came under criticism when it admitted cheating emission tests in the United States three years back.
Certified "B Corporations" are a kind of business balancing purpose and profit. They are legally required to consider the impact of their day-to-day policies and practices on their workers, customers, suppliers, community and the environment.
The European "B Corp" movement, officially launched in 2015 with 60 companies, has now grown to 500+ B Corps and is leading the way in Europe.
Adviser to Prof Yunus Nurjahan Begum said women and children are suffering in this world though they do not deserve this miserable life. "To me, a new civilization means a world where nobody will suffer but will lead a happy life."
She said she wants to see a world which is free from poverty. "And of course, a world without any boundary."
Hans Reitz said plastic does not belong to the nature and they need a fundamental system change to address the problem. “What we need is a circular economy.”
The speakers in two days also shared dreams about the future of mobility, saying all are coming closer to a new era of mobility which will create an ecosystem of connected ways of transportation – for persons and for goods.
They hoped that the future of mobility will be more sustainable, will create less traffic in large cities and will be less ownership-orientated by individuals.
Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Dr Maria Flachsbarth of Germany, Executive Director of Yunus Centre Lamiya Morshed, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, Human Resources and Organization Gunnar Kilian, former NASA Astronaut Ron Garan, CEO 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, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of Sing for Hope Camille Zamora, President and Founder of Jean Bernou Consulting Jean Bernou, Peter Schwarzenbauer, Impact Investor and Social Entrepreneur Ruben Vardanyan and Board of Management Volkswagen AG, Integrity and Legal Affairs Hiltrud Werner among others, spoke at various sessions of the GSBS 2018.
Prior to the main Summit, the Social Business Academia Conference (SBAC) was held on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Autostadt, the headquarters of Volkswagen.
Prof Yunus, while opening the Social Business Academia Conference on Tuesday, said the academics are the navigators. "They’re the pilots who’re navigating everyone in the direction we should go 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 academics have to find a way to get to a new destination which is sustainable for all of them and social business is 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 is 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 are 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 SDGs, health, education and training, technology, marketing, financing social business, wealth concentration and other issues.