FIRST Award for Responsible Capitalism 2004

10th December 2004

At a special ceremony at Marlborough House attended by over 250 prominent business leaders, parliamentarians, and Ambassadors, the Lord Chief Justice presented the FIRST Award for Responsible Capitalism 2004 to Mr Morris Tabaksblat KBE, Chairman of Reed Elsevier, a world leading publisher of information services for professional users and former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Unilever,

Mr Tabaksblat becomes the fifth head of an international corporation to receive the award. The previous winners have been Lord Browne of Madingley, Group Chief Executive of BP (2000), Marilyn Carlson Nelson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Carlson Companies (2001), Sir Robert Wilson KCMG, Executive Chairman of Rio Tinto (2002) and now Chairman of the BG Group and Dr Daniel Vasella, Chairman and CEO of Novartis AG (2003).

When they make the Award, the judges are looking for a business leader who has demonstrated social responsibility as an integral part of commercial success. Among the qualities which have commended recipients to the judges have been their concern for the environment and for the local communities in which their companies are active.

On the fifth Anniversary of the FIRST Award for Responsible Capitalism, a special award for the SME sector was made to Arthur Allen MBE and Irene Allen MBE, founders of Listawood which has revolutionised the computer mouse mat industry. Of special significance to the Judging Panel was Listawood’s flexible working culture which encourages work/life balance.

The Judging panel is chaired by the leading economist Lord Dahrendorf KBE and includes Chief Emeka Anyaoku GVCO TC CFR, Lord Browne of Madingley,Marilyn Carlson Nelson, Rt Hon Lord Howe of Aberavon CH QC, Lord Plant of Highfield, Hon Raymond Seitz, Sir Robert Wilson KCMG, Dr Daniel Vasella and Sir Patrick Cormack FSA MP, President of FIRST. Lord Marshall of Knightsbridge joined the Judging Panel last month.

In making the Award to Mr Tabaksblat, Lord Dahrendorf said “Mr Tabaksblat has contributed to our knowledge of Responsible Capitalism, notably as Chairman of the Commission on Corporate Governance in the Netherlands, but also as Chairman of the European Round Table for Industrialists, and in other capacities. Above all however he has practised what he preaches”.

The Lord Chief Justice said “My warm congratulations go to the winners of the FIRST awards this year. Their achievements are admirable and important. They are exemplars of responsible capitalism and responsible capitalism is of benefit to us all. It supports the culture of recognising human rights and the rule of law. If countries that hold themselves out as upholders and proponents of human rights and the rule of law are represented by companies who don’t accord with those principles, the global economy is brought into disrepute and those fundamental principles of society are undermined. On the other hand, if like our award winners they promote those principles, then our society is enhanced. Companies must fulfil their obligations within the law, go beyond their obligations, and so set a positive example.”

About the Award
FIRST initiated the FIRST Award for Responsible Capitalism in 2000 to honour business leaders who have excelled in both commercial success and social responsibility. Sir Patrick Cormack, President of FIRST said ‘We at FIRST believe that mere commercial success can be assessed in terms of standard criteria, but that social responsibility involves a greater sense of the needs of the wider community as well as shareholders, a special interest in the well-being of groups in need, care for the areas in which the business operates, environmental initiatives, and support for the arts and culture’.

About FIRST Magazine
The recipient of a PPA Award for publishing excellence, FIRST Magazine was established in 1984 to enhance communication between leaders in industry, finance and government at the strategic level. Past contributors to the publication have included Prime Minister Rt Hon Tony Blair MP and his two predecessors, President Hu Jintao of China, President Jacques Chirac of France, President Roh Moo-hyun of Korea, World Bank President James Wolfensohn, OECD Secretary-General Donald Jonston, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, OPEC Secretary-General Purnomo Yusgiantoro, WTO Director General Supachai Panitchpakdi and leading business figures including Carly Fiorina of Hewlett Packard, Bill Gates of Microsoft, John Chambers of Cisco Systems and Lord Browne of Madingley and Sir Robert Wilson, both previous winners of the Award.

For more information please contact:

Rupert Goodman, Chairman of FIRST
Tel: 0207 389 9640