At last, IPP Executive Chairman Dr Reginald Mengi has been awarded an international Business for Peace Award, with global business experts stressing the importance of corporate social responsibility as a key driver for success in business operations.
Dr Mengi received the award recently at a colourful ceremony held in Oslo, Norway, and attended by high-profile figures, including business executives and diplomats from different parts of the world.
He was one of six prominent members of the business community who won the award, the highest recognition available that can be bestowed upon a person engaged in business.
Most speakers at the ceremony underlined the need for global businesses to adopt and internalize in their operations the idea of corporate social responsibility, meaning doing business and taking care of the surrounding society, describing it as a viable strategy for successful business in today’s globalizing world.
In his remarks, Halistein Bjercke, vice-mayor for Cultural Affairs and Business Development of the city of Oslo, noted that “successful business requires two important things - observing ethics and support to communities.”
Roberto Servitje Sendra, a founding member and chairman of Grupo Bimbo, and a 2000 Business for Peace honouree, said prestigious awards “are usually attached with corporate social responsibility (CSR)….businesses must contribute to the development of society in which they operate.”
He mentioned several qualities of successful business leaders as including integrity, intelligence, honesty, inspiring subordinates and having business sense, but noted that “business cannot succeed if it ignores CSR.”
Erick Belfrage, chairman of the Corporate Responsibility and Anti-Corruption Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), said profitability as a crucial element in business must now be connected with CSR if businesspeople want to excel to the highest level.
Founding partner of Norden Realkapital group and Norden Investment Banking, Per L. Saxegaard, said, “Everybody in today’s business should take responsibility beyond the bottom lines of money….this award considered individuals who assisted to make society a better place to live in.”
Speaking after receiving the award, Dr. Mengi urged businesspeople around the world to cultivate the culture of giving back to the society part of the profits they generated from the same society.
Drawing reference from his routine business practices, he said, “If you share with people the profits you generate, your business will automatically grow and profitability will increase…society members will feel obliged to buy your products or services because you are taking care of them. This is what I have been doing throughout my business life.”
“On top of that, we have to note that at the end of our lives we should not be remembered for how much money we accumulated, but by what we did with the riches bestowed on us by the Lord God,” noted Mengi.
He stressed the importance of putting God first in business operations, something which he said many people tended to ignore.
Some Tanzanian university students currently studying in Norway, who attended the award-giving ceremony, expressed their happiness for the global recognition given to the Tanzanian business figure.
Godrick Lyimo, a student at Oslo University, said, “Mengi has contributed a lot to health, education and youth development in Tanzania. We have to support him and emulate his example.”
Doris Ndossi, a doctoral student at the Norwegian Veterinary College, said, “The award given to Mengi signifies respect…respect for himself and respect for our country. His contribution to society is now recognized worldwide.”
Daniel Machemba, executive director of the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA), which serves as an ICC coordinator of the award in Tanzania, saluted Mengi for the award and for making Tanzania proud and visible globally.
“I call upon other businesspersons to emulate him by sharing their success with the poor,” he said. He similarly noted that Mengi was among 90 strong nominees for the prestigious award which is organized by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the Oslo-based Business for Peace Foundation.
Other winners of the 2012 Award were Ibrahim Abouleish (Egypt), Anil Agarwal (India), Eduardo Eunekian (Argentina),Vladas Lasas (Lithuania), David W. Maclennan (US), and Latifur Rahman (Bangladesh).