CEO of Davao-based company bags Oslo Business for Peace Award

CEO of Davao-based company bags Oslo Business for Peace Award

ILIGAN CITY——-The chief executive officer of Davao City-based social enterprise Coffee for Peace (CfP) is among three recipients of this year’s Oslo Business for Peace Award.

The award, which started in 2009, honors individuals “for their outstanding businessworthy accomplishments” and for “apply(ing) their business energy ethically and responsibly, creating stronger economic and societal value.”

An independent award committee composed of Nobel laureates in peace and economics chose the awardees.

Felicitas “Joji” Bautista Pantoja co-founded CfP in 2008, buying coffee grown in marginalized communities at fair trade prices, either for export or for its cafe.

To ensure good quality, CfP trains farmers on the appropriate techniques for growing coffee, and harvesting and handling the beans.

But beyond coffee growing and trade, CfP also built relations with the communities around addressing economic, environmental, social and conflict issues they faced.

“Ms. Pantoja receives the Award for her businessworthy efforts in bringing peace and prosperity to conflict-affected communities in the Philippines,” the Award committee said in a statement announcing this year’s recipients.

“She and her team have built an inspiring social enterprise that empowers marginalized groups from different backgrounds, bringing these groups together while contributing to the sustainable development of the land. Ms. Pantoja demonstrates the significant impact that business can have when used as a vehicle for peace,” it added.

“Today, Coffee for Peace provides sustainable livelihoods for indigenous and migrant groups in rural areas, enabling over 880 farmers to escape poverty and build their coffee production capacity,” the Award body noted.

Among the past recipients of the Award are Ratan Tata, chair of Tata Group which is India’s largest conglomerate, Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin Group, and Elon Musk of Tesla.

The recent award adds to the string of domestic and international recognitions conferred on CfP for its social entrepreneurship.

Pantoja said the Oslo Award “affirms that inclusive development can be a reality through social enterprise.”

“The 2020 Honorees are business leaders who prove – both to society and to the global business community – that there are other ways to think about value creation than financial profits. Their successes show how businesses can and should be concerned with social matters and create value not only for shareholders but for society as a whole,” the Award committee stressed.