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  5. Volkswagen and Autostadt host 9th Global Social Business Summit

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Volkswagen and Autostadt host 9th Global Social Business Summit

  • Global Social Business Summit: International forum for Social Business
  • Four-day exchange of experts from 6 through 9 November under the patronage of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus
  • Around 800 participants from 60 countries
  • Member of the Board of Management Gunnar Kilian: “Signal for a global shift in thinking towards socially and ethically responsible business models”
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus © The Grameen Creative Lab

Mobility solutions that are both democratic and sustainable, measures to strengthen solidarity amidst growing worldwide insecurity, ways of understanding sports as a socially connective force – these and other aspects are the key issues of this year’s Global Social Business Summit (GSBS), which will be taking place in the Autostadt Wolfsburg this week. Since its inception in 2009, Volkswagen Group supports the conference for the third time. “I am sure that the Global Social Business Summit will not only inspire the Volkswagen Group in an important phase of its transformation, but also signal far beyond Wolfsburg for a global shift in thinking towards socially and ethically responsible business models.", says HR board member Gunnar Kilian. The Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg alone already obtains components and pre-assembly services from almost 40 social institutions in the region, such as deaconries, counseling and social welfare organisations.

In the immediate vicinity of the headquarters of the Volkswagen Group, around 800 representatives from the sciences, from politics and business will discuss perspectives for focusing business practices on social goals from 6 through 9 November. After previous meetings in Austria, Malaysia, Mexico and France, this year the Grameen creative Lab, co-founded by Nobel Peace Prize winner Prof. Muhammad Yunus and social visionary Hans Reitz, will be welcoming the global participants in Wolfsburg.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus introduced microcredits for poorer populations in Bangladesh in the 1980s to fight poverty. He is regarded as the thought leader of social business ventures, which combine economic activities with the obligation to orient the entrepreneurial innovation force to the solution of urgent social problems. Muhammad Yunus: “It is time that we use our creativity, wealth and resources and put the needs of all people at the centre of our personal and also economic thinking and acting. The concept, introduced by me, named as “Social Business”, is a new business model to bring sustainability and sanity in the existing economic theory.”

It is time that we use our creativity, wealth and resources and put the needs of all people at the centre of our personal and also economic thinking and acting.

Prof. Muhammad Yunus Nobel Peace Prize laureate
Global Social Business Summit 2017 © The Grameen Creative Lab

According to the Nobel laureate, Social Business is not only an essential tool for resolving the crises that humankind faces, it is also an expression of human creativity. “Over the last nine years the Global Social Business Summit has inspired us to take a journey together to achieve everything we imagine.”

The GSBS is accompanied by the Academia Conference on 6 and 7 November, addressing the latest scientific findings dealing with Social Business. On these two dates as well, the "Young Challengers and Young Pioneers Meeting" will be held, allowing young entrepreneurs from around the world to not only acquaint themselves with the fundamentals of Social Business, but to discuss and further develop existing Social Business practices.

On the initiative of Volkswagen, Adidas and Zalando, a parallel “Hackathon for Supply Chain Transparency” will be held, including NGOs and start-ups. 100 experts from various disciplines will meet on 7 November at the Volkswagen Digital Lab in Berlin to develop innovative, sustainable digital solutions. The results will be presented at the Global Social Business Summit. Other Group initiatives such as xStarters, a program promoting digital skills among young people, are part of a nationwide competition that invites schoolchildren to use the xStarters App to collaboratively develop an idea that will improve the living conditions in their communities. Another noteworthy project of Volkswagen Group is the MAN Impact Accelerator, which supports social start-ups in the transportation sector with an accelerator program, and City Skater, a special production facility that creates work opportunities for 20 employees with disabilities and altered performances.

Support for the GSBS is part of the comprehensive and multi-facetted activities through which the Volkswagen Group empowers its social and cultural objectives. This includes partnerships with social initiatives, cultural institutions and creative projects throughout the globe. The Group is convinced that a broad creative discourse and the experience of cultural diversity are crucial to a value-driven and progressive community.

Options for registration as well as further information about the Global Social Business Summit (GSBS) can be found at www.gsbs-2018.com.