A Davao City-based lady entrepreneur engaged in the production of coffee has recently been recognized as one of the three honorees in the distinguished 2020 Oslo Business for Peace Award for her “business worthy efforts in bringing peace and prosperity to conflict-affected communities in the Philippines.”

pantoja - Davao lady entrepreneur wins Oslo Business for Peace Award
(DFA FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN)

Felicitas “Joji” Bautista Pantoja, President and CEO of the Coffee for Peace Incorporated, is the first Filipino to receive the award that aims to support, inspire, and recognize global business leaders who are positively changing the face of business. 

In justifying Pantoja as one of this year’s awardees, the Norway-based peace foundation said Pantoja and her team in the Coffee for Peace for having 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,” the Business for Peace Foundation in Oslo said in its citation. 

In their announcement made last month, the Business for Peace Foundation emphasized that this year’s Oslo Business for Peace awardees are not only successful entrepreneurs, but more importantly, leaders, and trailblazers who see their businesses as a tool for change. 

Coffee for Peace Inc., a company established in 2008, has employed around 880 coffee farmers with various migrant and indigenous backgrounds. Through Pantoja’s leadership, Coffee for Peace, Inc. has not only provided sustainable livelihood to indigent communities but also ushered in dialogue and reconciliation among previously conflicting migrant and indigenous groups in Davao and other parts of Mindanao.

The Oslo–based foundation said the award is given annually to business leaders, as individuals, for their outstanding business-worthy accomplishments; leaders who apply their business energy ethically and responsibly, creating stronger economic and societal value. 

Tasked to select the three outstanding leaders and recipients of the award this year is an independent Award Committee of Nobel Laureates in Peace and Economics. This is following a global nomination process through Business for Peace’s partners: International Chamber of Commerce, Principles for Responsible Investment, United Nations Development Program and United Nations Global Compact.

The other honorees for this year’s Business for Peace Award are Marc Benioff, Co-Founder, Chair, and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Salesforce (USA) and Dr. James Mwangi, CEO and Managing Director of Equity Bank (Kenya).

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