Since its inception, every One Young World Summit has had social business at its heart. This year's Global Business Plenary Session proved no difference as Sir Bob Geldof took to the stage for his keynote speech deploring the existence of 38 million modern-day slaves across the world. Sir Bob Geldof, is known for his dedication and activism, in Africa and throughout the world, and said that states cannot cohere without taxes, without labour and without people to work, so it is imperative to treat them well.
Sir Bob Geldof introduced the first Delegate Speaker onto the stage with a glowing review of his business, SudaMed. Founder and CEO of SudaMed, Dr. Mazin Khalil (Sudan), has created a cloud-based patient record system in Sudan and also ensured that he has a Standard Pay Policy across his offices in Dubai and Sudan, ensuring that those who are doing the same job get paid the same. The model has proved spectacularly successful and hugely profitable, proving that profits can go hand in hand with positive social impacts.
The Delegate Speakers were all impressive this year and have all been involved in social businesses in their home nations. They are all passionate about Corporate Social Responsibility and believe that profits and morality are not mutually exclusive.
CEO of Telefonica UK, Ronan Dunne, was up next introducing Najj Kifli (Brunei). Najj discussed her work in Brunei, where she does her best to champion the rights of the 8,000+ modern-day slaves. She challenged the audience to rethink their consumer behavior saying that 'our homes and businesses carry the imprint of forced labour and we cannot say that we are unaware'. Ronan Dunne told the delegation that we need to hit companies where it hurts - their P&L - and only then will they learn, while both Najj and Mazin emotionally urged the audience to go home and challenge their companies to ensure that their supply chains are clean of forced labour.
William Heinecke, CEO and Chairman of Minor Group, then introduced Chayanich Thamparipattra (Thailand) a labour rights activists who consults for the ILO. She spoke about her desire for 'corporations need to step up. We can vote with our wallets and demand transparency of their supply chains'. The penultimate speaker was Puja Verma (India), introduced by Lord Michael Hastings, the Head of Citizenship at KPMG International, who discussed her project in India, empowering 85 rickshaw drivers through teaching them about exploitation and allowing them to buy their own rickshaws.
Samer Khan (Oman) finished Friday's only Plenary Session after being introduced by Paul Lindley, Founder and Chairman of Ella’s Kitchen. Samer works on behalf of the migrant workers in the Gulf as well as creating small-scale production lines around the world - saying that they are 'expanding globally to empower labourers from being forced workers to being a workforce of their own'.
All the Delegate Speakers spoke passionately and fluently under the watch of famous and inspiring leaders in the form of Counsellors. Who are all at the forefront of businesses but have also ensured that CSR is a large part of what they do and aim to positively impact people, as well as run profitable and successful businesses.
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