Social Issues and the Role of the Private Sector |

Social Issues and the Role of the Private Sector


Social and environmental challenges are on the agenda everywhere. Climate change, energy, shortage of natural resources, water, poverty, education, health, human rights, labour conditions, the list goes on. How do we turn these challenges into opportunities? Traditionally there are three main actors: 1) government responsibility and intervention, 2) the role of the business sector and 3) societal engagement of the civil society. In history we can see that the division of roles among actors continuously changes: a free market orientation with classical economic views in the 19th century; the upcoming of the welfare state and Keynesian-based economic views in the 20th century; and during the last decades more institutionally-oriented views with focus on factors like trust and public-private co-operation. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is convinced that today’s key issues cannot be solved without the private sector. What does that mean for the role of private companies, the role of civil society organisations, the necessity of public-private co-operation, the impact of all kinds of bottom-up initiatives (including that of social entrepreneurs), and of course the role of governments? In the 21st century, the private sector is becoming part of the solution to today’s challenges; rather than being part of the problem.

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Prof. Jan Peter Balkenende, Partner, Corporate Responsibility at Ernst & Young; Professor of Governance, Institutions and Internationalisation at Erasmus University Rotterdam; former Prime Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Tuesday, 10 September 2013
5:15 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Lobby, Oei Tiong Ham Building,
NUS Bukit Timah Campus,
469C Bukit Timah Road,

Admission is free. Please register at

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