Shared Value – The Role of Business in Tackling Society’s Problems

The Belgian-Italian Chamber of Commerce is partner of the World Forum for Ethics in Business (WFEB), a public interest foundation with the aim to pursue and establish the indispensable ethical roots of business in a globalized world. The 9th International Leadership Symposium on Ethics in Business took place on 15th November 2013 at the European Parliament and brought together leaders from businesses, politics, academia and civil society representing 45 countries from all over the world, to dialogue about new leadership styles that support inclusive and sustainable development and to strengthen human values and ethics in private and public sector.

Businesses do not act by themselves and do not exist by themselves: behind an organization we have people and the base of shared value is humanness. “Trust is the backbone of business. In the current economic downturn, as businesses face the challenge of restoring people’s faith and confidence, spirituality and human values can play a key role” stated Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, co-founder of the World Forum for Ethics in Business. He continued “now is the time for us to come together and plan how we can build a sustainable future, and bring peace and prosperity to mankind. Human values and ethics need to be the core of any development. We have seen the flaws in communism; now we are seeing the failings of unbridled capitalism. It is time for a new ‘ism’ – humanism.”

CCBI supports the idea of the WFEB that emphasising human values may no longer mean losing on the side of competitiveness and that the world of business and the world of human values are no longer two separate worlds. The M-House and Uni-key projects, implemented by the Chamber of Commerce and supported by the European Union, integrate the concepts of inclusive and social entrepreneurship. More specifically, during the Uni-key project the consortium investigated how social entrepreneurship can represent both a profitable business opportunity and a balanced employment option for young people. The newly launched M-house project is focused on raising awareness about entrepreneurial skills and opportunities to groups, which are typically not self-employed, fostering the concept of inclusive entrepreneurship. Moreover, in both projects, the effort in deriving entrepreneurial skills from everyday situations implies to learn how to balance business and human values.