Jem Bendell recognised as Young Global Leader

Lifeworth Founder, Professor Jem Bendell, has been announced as one of the 2012 Young Global Leaders by the World Economic Forum. Professor Bendell is a strategist and educator on social and organisational change, specialising in helping business, UN, and NGOs collaborate for sustainable development. Famous for its Davos Summit of world leaders, the World Economic Forum explains that each year it honours “outstanding young leaders from around the world for their professional accomplishments, commitment to society and potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world.” Previous honourees include Larry Page, the Co-Founder of Google and Ian Thorpe, Founder of Fountain for Youth. Bendell has been recognised by the World Economic Forum for helping conceive multi-stakeholder alliances, from the Marine Stewardship Council to the Finance Innovation Lab, and his thought leadership on sustainable enterprise, through numerous books and United Nations reports.

Jem Bendell by Paulo Pellegrino

Jem Bendell by Paulo Pellegrin

“I’m delighted to hear Professor Jem Bendell has been appointed a Young Global Leader” said the head of the UN Global Compact, the largest corporate responsibility initiative in the world. Georg Kell explained “Bendell’s pioneering work on multistakeholder alliances in the late 1990s helped us at the United Nations understand how to engage business in new ways, which led to the launch of the Global Compact. We now count nearly 7,000 active participants. But that is not yet a critical mass. The great majority of companies worldwide remain aloof or sceptical. It is our aim that Rio+20 will bring a big boost to the spread of universal sustainability principles as advanced by the UN Global Compact so that the movement can reach a critical mass and transform markets for sustainable development.”

In his interview accepting the accolade, Professor Bendell discussed the opportunities and challenges for leadership today:

“One opportunity for the new generation of leaders is an awakening. Everywhere I turn, I’m hearing people asking “how long can it go on?” Financial and ecological crises are leading people to sense the need for a transformation of economic systems. In the past years working on sustainable development I’ve seen positive initiatives, products or services, but they remain marginal. Social innovations can no longer be the side show to systemic decay. Its time to team up for massive change, and take positive innovations from the margin to the mainstream. For that we need leaders who are adept at learning from the edge, because those ideas that seem strange to you today may hold the solutions for tomorrow.

“In a sense, the challenge of this generation of leaders is the same as any, to transcend the mental barriers we are brought up with, between us and them, us and nature, my generation and yours, my specialism and yours, my faith and yours. These barriers are inventions, yet we maintain them due to our egos, and fears, and our need to belong to one particular group. In an interdependent world we now need globally responsible leaders: not just leaders serving their own, but conscious of the world, and how they affect it. I’m not talking about leaders from the West, but leaders from the rest of the world, caring about all of the world.”

“One of the unique aspects of the Young Global Leader Community is that it is the first generation of leaders who are truly global citizens: they have all lived, studied and worked in different countries throughout their careers,” said David Aikman, Head of The Forum of Young Global Leaders. “They see themselves as being fundamentally interconnected and have the cross-cultural leadership skills to be successful in a globalized world. Thanks to the incredible diversity of the group, they are able to collaborate across complex systems and build informal coalitions to facilitate action on the biggest challenges facing the world today.”

In 2012 Professor Bendell is training leaders around the world, on the theme of “Healing capitalism through critical collaboration.” Destinations include: Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Beijing, Brisbane, Dubai, Hong Kong, London, Istanbul, Madrid, Paris, Singapore, Stockholm, Sydney, and Zurich.

More on Jem Bendell:

A strategist and educator on social and organisational change, specialising in responsible business development, alliances for sustainable development, and transformative philanthropy. Professor Bendell has helped create innovative initiatives, such as the Marine Stewardship Council, to endorse sustainable fisheries, and The Finance Innovation Lab, to promote sustainable finance. He leads a consulting network, whose clients include UN, NGOs, large firms and family foundations, in over 25 countries. With a PhD in international policy, over 100 publications (including four books and five UN reports) and Visiting Professorships in management (GBS and IE), Professor Bendell is an award-winning international authority on business-society relations. He works with people who seek to contribute to, and benefit from, the transformation of markets to promote global well-being. His latest book on collaboration is “Evolving Partnerships”, and his latest TEDx talk is on sustainable currencies.

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