A few weeks ago I was invited to participate in a panel discussion entitled, “From Farm to Plate:
Financing Change, Changing Finance” at the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship in Oxford, England. This forum is “the premier, international platform for accelerating entrepreneurial approaches and innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing social issues.”
The panel discussion I participated in also included Willy Foote (from Root Capital), Gary Milstead (Head of Procurement, Commodities – Zone EUR for Nestle), and Dana Boggess (Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation). The discussion focused on bringing much needed financing to small-scale farmers and their cooperatives. The session was well attended – standing room only - and by many accounts, was very well received.
In addition, to the 19 panel discussions over two days, there were Plenary Sessions that included a number of notable speakers and performers such as: Jeff Skoll (founder of the Skoll Foundation and eBay’s first employee and first President), Gordon Brown (former UK Prime Minister), Nick Danziger (Photographer, Author, and Filmmaker), Eve Ensler (Playwright), and Annie Lennox among others.
The Forum was held right in Oxford – home of the University of Oxford and its 38 colleges. Many of the sessions were held on campus.
I attended a variety of discussions that dealt with topics like global population growth, child trafficking, slavery “footprints,” moving beyond charity ( a session that included Skoll Fellow Ned Breslin from Water for People – an NGO that is implementing a GMCR-supported clean water project in Nicaragua). In addition, I met with John Elkington, the founder of SustainAbility (who first coined the term “triple bottom line), Rupert Scofield (co-founder of FINCA), and Richard Graham from Comic Relief, among others.
While nearly every session and every conversation was focused on specific challenges that are global in scope, I left Oxford more optimistic and motivated than ever to continue the great work our company is doing in Supply Chain Community Outreach, knowing that there are many others who are also working to bring about positive change for the poorest of poor in our world.
You can view the panel discussion I participated in as well as all the discussions that occured at the Skoll World Forum on their website.