The annual Business for Peace Summit brings together leaders from around the globe across business, society and politics, to advance their vision: business leaders must be “businessworthy,” i.e. they must work in an ethical and responsible way to create value for both business and society.  This May, IIX’s founder, Prof Durreen Shahnaz, was invited to receive the prestigious 2017 Oslo Business for Peace Award.

The award recognizes Prof Shahnaz and IIX’s achievements in effectively creating a social capital market in Asia – connecting finance with development, unlocking millions of dollars for high-impact enterprises, and effectively impacting over ten million lives. The other winners for the 2017 Oslo Business for Peace Award were Elon Musk, Murad Al-Katib and Dr. Harley Seyedin.

Through IIX, I aim to connect the Wall Streets of the world with the backstreets of our communities. We have not only achieved that, but also created a new inclusive system that brings about peace by protecting this planet and the people on it through inclusive business. This is happening through the impact investing movement. I need each of you to help grow this movement and bring it to every corner of the world.” – Prof. Durreen Shahnaz, Founder of IIX @ 2017 Business for Peace Keynote Address

This award recognizes Prof Shahnaz’s achievements in effectively creating a social capital market in Asia – connecting investment to development, unlocking millions of dollars for high-impact enterprises, and thus, impacting over eight million lives. Past award recipients include Sir Richard Branson of Virgin (2014), Ratan Tata of Tata Group (2010), Mo Ibrahim of Mo Ibrahim Foundation (2009), and Paul Polman of Unilever (2015).

The Summit began with a dinner for Business for Peace Honourees and special guests at the residence of Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette Marit of Norway. It culminated into a breath-taking award ceremony held in Oslo City Hall, where the Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies have been held since 1990.

Prof. Durreen Shahnaz with the Crown Prince, Haakon of Norway

Prof. Durreen Shahnaz with the Prime Minister of Norway

At the Award Dinner, Director of UNDP’s Nordic Office, Camilla Bruckner raised a surprise toast to Durreen S. & gifted a handicraft from the Philippines:

“Today we  honor her role in building inclusive markets and to serve as a symbol of hope, empowerment and opportunity for all.

Back in 2000, Durreen S. was in the midst of growing her first company oneNest, an e-commerce marketplace, connecting local artisans with the global market. She received a box of handmade photo frames from the Philippines with a note, which read…

“Please help us sell our products because our island Negros Occidental has been devastated by famine. We are trying to help the women here by giving them small loans so that they can make the frames and sell them to buy food.”

That note inspired her to do everything in her power to get their products to the market. Prof. Shahnaz and her company helped to successfully pull three villages and over 3,000 people out of famine.

Fast forward to 2017 and those same women who produced the photo frames will now benefit from Prof. Shahnaz’s organization, Impact Investment Exchange (or IIX). IIX is launching a $9 million Women’s Livelihood Bond which is set to empower 400,000 women in South East Asia. A portion of the proceeds of this bond will provide capital to the same organization whose products she sold nearly two decades ago. This is an incredible example of how Prof. Shahnaz has truly used business and finance to empower women to be solutions to peace and sustainability instead of victims of war and inequality.
Today, we are delighted to present Prof. Durreen Shahnaz with this handicraft from Negros Occidental to honor her role in building inclusive markets and to serve as a symbol of hope, empowerment and opportunity for all.”

Professor Durreen Shahnaz with Finn Kydland, Nobel prize winner for Economics, and one of the judges on the esteemed panel to nominate the Oslo Business for Peace Award winners

Congratulations to the Oslo Business Honourees, Solar City’s Elon Musk (award accepted by representative), Dr Harley Seyedin, IIX ‘s Durreen Shahnaz & AGT Food’s Murad Al-Katib

Throughout the Summit, distinguished guests – including the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg; Wharton professor and World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, Adam Grant; President and CEO of Yara, Svein Tore Holsether, and Commissioner of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission – gathered to discuss how experienced and emerging leaders can work together to co-evolve a sustainable and peaceful future. The conversations emphasized the power of leveraging technology, leadership and financial capital to future-proof our economies, societies
and business models.

The Summit brought the impact investing movement to the front of the global agenda by highlighting the pivotal role it can play in achieving the goal of business for peace, and thus, marking a milestone for the impact investing world.

Join the impact investing movement and contribute to IIX’s vision: impacting 100 million lives by 2020.