Congratulations to Jem Bendell!

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”. 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.

“I’m delighted to hear Professor Jem Bendell has been appointed a Young Global Leader,” said the head of the UN Global Compact, Georg Kell. He explained, “Bendell’s pioneering work on multi-stakeholder 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.”

Jem Bendell by Paulo Pellegrino

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. It’s 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 globalised 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.

Read the full article at Lifeworth.com.


Jem Bendell is the Director of Lifeworth Consulting and co-originator of the Finance Innovation Lab. He is author of Healing Capitalism (Greenleaf Publishing, forthcoming) as well as the Greenleaf titles The Corporate Responsibility Movement, Evolving Partnerships and Terms for Endearment.

Buy any of these last three books direct from Greenleaf Publishing and get a discount (30% on hardback and paperback; 10% on eBooks). Use voucher code JEM682 at checkout.

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