Press Releases

18 November 2008

FIRST Award for Responsible Capitalism 2008

The Foreign Secretary, Rt. Hon. David Miliband MP, presents the 2008 FIRST Award for Responsible Capitalism to Mo Ibrahim, founder of Celtel Corporation. He also presents the FIRST Responsible Capitalism Lifetime Achievement Award to Sir Sigmund Sternberg and a Special Award to Lord Dahrendorf.

The Foreign Secretary presented these important awards at a special ceremony at Marlborough House, London, attended by over 280 prominent business leaders, Parliamentarians and Ambassadors. On presenting the Awards the Foreign Secretary commented ‘It is an important time to be recognising the importance of responsible behaviour by business. As the global economy faces serious challenges, it has become increasingly clear that success depends on more than short-term profit. If we make the wrong choices, then the long-term consequences - whether environmental, social or ethical - will catch up with us. So I am delighted to be able to pay tribute today to the winners of this important award.’

Dr Ibrahim becomes the tenth head of an international organisation to receive the award. The previous winners have been Lord Browne of Madingley, Group Chief Executive of BP (2000), Marilyn Carlson Nelson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Carlson Companies (2001), Sir Robert Wilson KCMG, Executive Chairman of Rio Tinto (2002) and now Chairman of the BG Group, Dr Daniel Vasella, Chairman and CEO of Novartis AG (2003), Mr Morris Tabaksblat KBE, former Chairman of Reid Elsevier and Mr Jaime Zobel de Ayala, Chairman of Ayala Corporation (joint winners 2004), Mr Alan Wood CBE, Chief Executive of Siemens plc (2005), Mr Rata Tata, Chairman of Tata Group (2006) and Howard Schultz, Chief Executive of Starbucks Corporation (2007).

When making the Award, the Judges are looking for a business leader who has consistently demonstrated social responsibility as an integral part of commercial success, examining in particular the manner in which their businesses interact both with the environment and the social communities in which they operate.

In making the Award to Dr Mo Ibrahim, Lord Woolf, Chairman of The Judging Panel said ‘Mo Ibrahim has demonstrated how it is possible to combine being an extremely successful entrepreneur of a highly innovative company with social responsibility. Through his creation and management of Celtel International and later the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, he has brought inspiration and constructive help to Africa.

Sir Sigmund Sternberg receives the Lifetime Achievement Award for Responsible Capitalism having exemplified the qualities of social responsibility and dedicated service, working tirelessly to establish inter-faith and inter-communal co-operation through both the Sternberg Foundation and the Three Faiths Forum.

A Special Award was made to Lord Dahrendorf for services to the cause of Responsible Capitalism having both exemplified and promoted ethical business practices throughout his distinguished political, academic and business career.

On receiving the award Dr. Mo Ibrahim stated ‘I am honoured and humbled by this wonderful prize you have offered me. The success of our business in Africa was based on the success of our communities – to me that is responsible capitalism.’

On receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award Sir Sigmund Sternberg said ‘I am very conscious of the immense honour you do me with the Lifetime Achievement Award which is based on the belief that responsible capitalism has a moral as well as an economic quality.’

About the Award
The Awards for Responsible Capitalism were initiated by FIRST in 2000 to honour business leaders who have excelled by achieving both commercial success and demonstrating social responsibility. Rupert Goodman, Chairman of FIRST said ’We at FIRST believe that commercial success can be assessed in terms of standard criteria, but that social responsibility involves a greater sense of the needs of the wider community as well as shareholders, a special interest in the well-being of groups in need, care for the areas in which the business operates, environmental initiatives, and support for the arts and culture’.

The Judging Panel is chaired by the Rt Hon Lord Woolf, former Lord Chief Justice and includes Lord Dahrendorf KBE, Chief Emeka Anyaoku GVCO TC CFR, Marilyn Carlson Nelson, Rt Hon Lord Howe of Aberavon CH QC, Lord Plant of Highfield, Hon Philip Lader, Sir Robert Wilson KCMG, Dr Daniel Vasella, Sir Patrick Cormack FSA MP, Lord Marshall of Knightsbridge, Morris Tabaksblat, KBE, Ratan Tata and Howard Schultz.

FIRST is a multidisciplinary International Affairs organisation. Founded in 1984 it aims to enhance communications between leaders in industry, finance and government, worldwide and promote strategic dialogue. This is achieved via three key channels; publishing, events and awards.

In 2000 FIRST instituted the International Award for Responsible Capitalism to honour business leaders who have excelled in both commercial success and social responsibility. The adjudicating panel is chaired by Lord Woolf and includes Lord Dahrendorf KBE, Rt. Hon. Lord Howe of Aberavon CH QC, Hon. Philip Lader, Lord Plant of Highfield, Chief Emeka Anyaoku GCVO, Sir Patrick Cormack FSA MP, Marilyn Carlson Nelson (Chair of the Carlson Group), Sir Robert Wilson KCMG (Chairman of BG), Dr Daniel Vasella (Chief Executive of Novartis), Morris Takaksblat KBE (former Chairman of Reed Elsevier), Ratan Tata (Chairman of Tata Group) and Howard Schultz (Chief Executive of Starbucks Corporation).
For more information please contact:
Rupert Goodman, Chairman of FIRST
Tel: 020 7389 9640
Fax: 020 7389 9644
Mob: 07899 900156

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