Watch the thought-provoking speech by the Nobel Prize Laureate, Chairman of the Yunus Centre, and founder of Grameen Bank from his home in Bangladesh.

Renowned Nobel Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus sent a compelling video message to the 2023 Annual Conference of the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) from his home country, Bangladesh. Despite grappling with political and legal challenges that prevented his physical attendance, Mr. Yunus’ words carried immense weight at this prestigious event.

During the conference’s opening ceremony, Richenda Van Leeuwen, ANDE’s Executive Director, announced a surprising remote intervention by Mr. Yunus, an esteemed member of the organization, and emphasized the importance of his message, resonating deeply with the conference’s core theme: driving positive economic, social and environmental impact through responsible entrepreneurship.

In his address, Mr. Yunus offered a thought-provoking perspective on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), characterizing them as “the list of everything the world has done wrong.”

He called for a radical shift in approach, advocating for a framework he developed in his book “A World of Three Zeros:”

1. Zero Poverty: At the heart of Yunus’s vision is the eradication of poverty. He envisions an economic system that prioritizes social impact, positioning us to eliminate poverty as we know it.
2. Zero Unemployment: In his vision of the future, meaningful work and employment opportunities are accessible to all. This necessitates a fundamental reimagining of how businesses operate, ensuring they contribute both to profit and societal well-being.
3. Zero Net Carbon Emissions: Environmental sustainability is another focal point of the Three Zeros framework. Yunus calls on businesses to adopt sustainable practices, reduce their carbon footprint, and actively pursue a carbon-neutral world.

Crucially, Mr. Yunus advocates for a new economic system where altruism is a creative force as potent as self-interest. He contends that traditional capitalism’s profit-driven nature has fueled many of today’s global challenges. Instead, he champions a ” social business model,” where enterprises prioritize positive impact alongside financial sustainability.

Muhammad Yunus’s message underscores the need for a fundamental shift in our economic thinking, aligning with ANDE’s mission of supporting socially conscious entrepreneurs. His vision serves as a compelling call to action, challenging us to reshape our economic systems and prioritize societal and environmental well-being as central tenets of our future.

Yunus, the pioneer founder of the Gammen Bank and its microlending model remains a beacon of inspiration, challenging us to think differently in the ever-evolving landscape of development entrepreneurship.