In 2006, Professor Muhammad Yunus of the Yunus Center for Social Business was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his implementation of a futuristic concept which is social business. Ten years after, how did this concept evolved ?
"If you can imagine it, it's possible, keep your imagination alive" @Yunus_Centre #nobel at @Grenoble_EM #WFRE16 https://t.co/ZEldNdkdbB
The first responsability of a company is of an economic nature but this does not mean that companies do not have to conciliate this economic responsability with the environmental and social matters we face today. “Yes, we can” says Philippe Vasseur, the founder of the World Forum. It is his sincere belief that we can promote a responsible economy in order to save the capitalistic system. The World Forum's leader knows that governments cannot answer alone to all our issues and that entrepreneurs have a role to play. That is the view of this forum who's futuristic vision allows the hope of a change. But, this change is already in movement and, it finds as one of his supersonic engine professor Muhammad Yunus, the social business pioneer .
Jean Bernou (president of McCain Continental Europe) introduces “social bussiness for dummies”. This concept which seeks to change this money driven society we live in. It is founded on one idea: every social and environmental problem we face can be solved through business. This is how Muhammad Yunus seeks to change our society. Social business is not what he first set out for. He created the Grameen Bank after witnessing poor villagers relying on loan sharks to survive. So, taking matters into his own hands, he himself lent the money they needed. That investement would return equal and be reused for the same purpose. He had no intention to make or lose money, he wanted to solve a problem in a business way which would last. This was not charity. Businesses are designed to last and thrive; so will a social business. “Money isn't the only incentive”, Professor Yunus explained. All human beings are entrepreneurs, with this belief at mind, aiming for 0 poverty, 0 unemployment and 0 carbon emissions isn't far-fetched when combined with social businesses.
We must not blame rich people for the imperfection of the system. This lesson is vital for us to be able to move forward and push the block that is social business. A block on which all interests are satisfied.
"Good ethics is good business" is company slogan" says bernou / McCain #WFRE16 https://t.co/j6h5HW59OD
The social business spread all over the world
The spread of social business is already a reality for companies such as Danone, McCain and Schneider Electric. They follow Muhammad Yunus' lead and put his expertise to work. The the task isn't a simple one. Both Schneider Electric and McCain have worked towards establishing various social businesses across the world. Social businesses have risen in countries such as Colombia, Greece, India and even France. With their know-how in the fields of agriculture and energy management, they serve social causes through independent businesses who act towards resolving social issues. McCain's work allowed lots of things: for farmers to return to their lands in Colombia, for unemployed people in the North of France to acquire professional skills and jobs, for the unemployed youth of Greece to find a job, for alimentary waste to be repurposed... And their work is never finished. Their new ambition : to help young girls to go to school in Morroco.
For Schneider Electric and Olivier Blum (Vice president executif and general director of human ressources Schneider), creating a lasting social business can be resumed to 5 numbers: three attempts, two failures, one success. And what a success: 150 000 collaborators formed in India and 50 million of useful products sold across Asia. Building a social business is not easy but it is worth the struggle.
That is the vision that is shared by these three men: “a civilisation based on human values and the will to share and create a better and lasting world” (Muhammad Yunus).
World Forum RSE à Grenoble: McCain & Schneider Electric autour de Muhammad Yunus pour investir dans le Social Business. Concret. #WFRE16
The question of “green/social washing” remains. Muhammad Yunus provides a wise answer to this: as long as it allows for light to shine on social business, “please use me as much as you can, make me noticeable”. For Jean Bernou and Olivier Blum, they don't care for critics but for results. They care for the impact on our society and our environment. They act while some stay idol. When facing a social problem, all can work towards resolving it. They just have to take actions into their own hands. That is the message adressed to the youth: “Young students are the future, don't let them polute you [...] for we need to provide a true sense to our society” (Jean Bernou).
Harry Jennings - ESPOL Lille