Looking beyond short term profits


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Looking beyond short term profits

GROESBEEK, Netherlands, 8 November 2006 (BWNS) -- Participants from 28 countries gathered in this small Dutch town in September to consider how businesses can look beyond short term profits towards moral and spiritual practices that can create meaningful wealth for all.

The 16th annual conference of the European Baha'i Business Forum (EBBF), held 21-24 September 2006, focused on "The Purpose of Business, from Vision to Action."

The program addressed a wide range of topics on that theme. Presentations included "Competing in the New Capitalism," "Redefining Success: Applying Spiritual Values in the Workplace," and the "Ramifications of Global Interdependence."

"The conference was attended by people of different cultures and beliefs with a common interest, and often a passion for the universal values of the Baha'i Faith," said Daniel Truran, Secretary General of EBBF.
Mr. Truran said the presentations made at the conference reflected the efforts of EBBF members to translate those "values" into "tools" that can be used to improve business practices around the world.

He cited, for example, the work of Larry Miller, who gave a presentation on "Competing in the New Capitalism," which is based on his 2006 book of the same title.

Mr. Miller was one of 25 other presenters who offered their views on how businesses can move beyond broad visions to specific actions -- especially as they relate to the ethics of business in the modern context -- that can be implemented Monday morning in the workplace.

Other speakers included Jan Willem Kirpestein, co-founder of the Encounter of World Views foundation; Beppe Robiati, CEO of SCAC Italy; Augusto Lopez-Claros, Chief Economist of the World Economic Forum; and Parag Gupta, of the Schwab Foundation

The conference was characterized by a determined spirit of seeking new and innovative strategies to create wealth for all.

Mr. Gupta, for example, made a presentation highlighting different ways in which the business world can help to effect social change, titled, "Innovative Strategies from Social Entrepreneurs."

He defined social entrepreneurship as business with a heart, explaning that social enterprise employs innovative business methods that aim at maximizing social value rather than financial value.

"There are around 3 billion people out there that have not been reached by capital markets," said Mr. Gupta. "Social entrepreneurs are proving capable of penetrating these groups."

"They are doing this by ...