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A Special Series for the 2014 Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship

Each year at the Skoll World Forum, nearly 1,000 of the world’s most influential social entrepreneurs, key thought leaders and strategic partners gather at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School to exchange ideas, solutions and information. We asked a number of speakers to discuss the critical issues, challenges and opportunities underpinning their sessions in advance of the Forum to ground a richer debate both online and in Oxford.

Learn more about the 2014 Skoll World Forum, sign up to our newsletter to be notified of the live stream, view the 2014 delegate roster and discover what themes and ideas we'll be covering this year at the event. Also, read about the seven recipients of this year's Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.


Sustainable Development Needs The Private Sector

Andy Wales

Senior Vice President Sustainable Development, SABMiller plc


Top 10 Compelling Quotes in Advance of the 2014 Skoll World Forum

Top 10 Compelling Quotes in Advance of the 2014 Skoll World Forum

April 2, 2014 | 5611 views

The Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship takes place April 9-11 in Oxford, England. Learn more about the sessions, speakers and delegates this year.

  1. “As a young girl, I didn’t dream that I would get a university degree. Due to my family background, I used to go to school with an empty stomach and a uniform that was not presentable. I faced many challenges, but I did not give up. As I climbed the educational ladder, I persevered through my problems and became the first girl in my family to gain a degree. In my community in Ghana, most girls drop out of school, and so a lot of them now look up to me as a role model.” – Rafiatu Lawal on Education is a Savior
  2. “We use the tools of popular culture to reach mass audiences with values of mutual respect, non-violence, and cooperation.  As far as we know, no other organization is doing work of this sort on a comparable scale. Rather than produce one program at a time, as most film-makers do, we make multi-episode series.  Indeed, we are convinced that repetition – as long as it is engaging and evolving – is a key element in bringing about positive change. Since 2008, we have produced or co-produced 296 half-hour episodes of dramatic TV in 15 different countries.  In addition, we have made 68 episodes of reality TV, one feature-length, dramatic film, and several thousand hours of radio programs.” – John Marks on Well-Crafted Entertainment Can Change the World
  3. “A teachers’ role must evolve to include being a continuous learner – someone who is curious, persistent and reflective. These are the three dispositions of highly effective teachers. When teachers evolve into continuous learners and adopt these dispositions, they are willing to ask questions about instruction and take risks to reach every student; they persevere in solving complex issues and believe all students can learn; and they are open to feedback and seek opportunities to grow professionally.” – Ellen Moir on To Fuel Student Curiosity, Teachers’ Roles Must Evolve
  4. “We don’t always have control of our destiny, but in the case of climate change we know exactly what it will take to protect our planet and economy from disaster. Companies, investors and policymakers must scale up clean energy investments and scale down fossil fuel investments. After years of foot-dragging, businesses are recognizing the scientific certainty and economic effects of climate change — from higher food costs to broken supply chains to costlier weather-related disasters. They see the powerful dollars-and-cents argument for mitigating carbon pollution today rather than waiting until it is too late and too expensive. Companies such as General Motors, Apple and Starbucks are now calling for strong climate and clean-energy policies in Congress.” – Mindy Lubber on Even Oil Companies Don’t Want a ‘Roasted World’
  5. “We advocate for a human-centered approach to data in the social sector. Data without context has little value. We ask the question: data for whom?  We’re a technology company and strongly believe in the power of information as a force for good. But we’re also a nonprofit with a social mission to empower individuals in complex and often difficult circumstances. Which is why we also argue that it’s dangerous to base decision-making and practical work concerning human growth and development purely on data-driven insights.” – Jim Fruchterman on Data and the Human Touch
  6. “We are learning that our health is highly dependent on the social and environmental conditions in which we live and work. Air pollution, chemical exposure, poor quality food and poverty are all more predictive of health outcomes than our genetic makeup. Yet our healthcare system has largely ignored these factors when delivering healthcare. In the US, 70% of all healthcare expenditures are devoted to treating chronic disease, while only 4% are devoted to preventing it. This approach has led to the institutionalization of a sick care system that now accounts for 18% of the total economy. Outside of the military, healthcare is the largest part of the GDP.” – Gary Cohen on The Purpose of Healthcare
  7. “Over the past three decades, China has successfully led the greatest poverty alleviation program in the history of the world. During that time, an estimated 500 million Chinese were lifted out of extreme poverty. This remarkable success was achieved, in part, through the recognition of land rights. Our current work with officials in the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Land Resources to develop a land registration system to ensure that all farmers, both men and women, have their land rights registered in the country’s first national land documentation system will have outsized impact. Such a system would provide tens of millions of farmers with their first documentation of their land rights and improve land tenure security dramatically while reducing social conflicts.” – Tim Hanstad on How China Lifted 500 Million People Out of Extreme Poverty
  8. “We have witnessed disputes in Ecuador between indigenous communities and the oil companies who degraded their forests, as well as massive protests in Chile and Brazil against dam projects in the Aysen and Xingú, respectively.  These conflicts highlight the very real tradeoffs that energy generation implies.  The energy sector is a clear example of the complexity of sustainable development, which seeks balance among different tensions: short term and long term, environment and economy, community interests and national interests, protest and compromise.  In the midst of conflict and complexity, how can a society establish an effective platform for making energy decisions that will affect this and coming generations?” – Sean McKaughan on Why Energy is Inextricably Linked to Environment
  9. “Around 14M people are in conditions of forced labor for economic (as opposed to sexual) exploitation; 9M of them entered forced labor after they migrated either domestically or internationally. Through concerted effort and focus over four years in partnership with Verité, Apple has facilitated the reimbursement of over $16 million to workers who paid excessive fees to work in Apple suppliers in Asia. Walmart has committed to piloting Verité’s framework for ethical recruiting among their US agriculture suppliers. In doing so, both companies are eliminating the terrible risks faced by workers, supporting better human resources management among their suppliers, and eliminating a host of illegal and unethical middlemen – the recruiters – from their operations.” – Daniel Viederman on Modern Day Slavery in the Global Economy, and How To Solve It
  10. “Everyone talks about cross-sector partnerships, but what does it really take to effectively solve global problems and have a viable business? To partner successfully, you must be intentional in aligning incentives end-to-end and anticipating every step in the process, then adapting as needed. This allows you to design engagements not just with private-sector partners but also the public sector, which is a critical ally in ensuring that global health solutions reach scale. The public sector has a very different set of incentives and standards, and a different audience. It’s important to work through these considerations early on but prepare for flexibility to ensure success.” – Steve Davis on How Social Entrepreneurs Can Turn Small Ideas Into Big Impact

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