Conference jointly organised by the Institute for European Studies and the Solvay Business School of Economics and Management of the Université libre de Bruxelles under the patronage of his Excellency Ambassador Dr. Roberto Balzaretti, Head of the Swiss Mission to the European Union and Professor Didier Viviers, Rector of the Université Libre de Bruxelles
THE SOCIETAL ROLE OF A MULTINATIONAL TODAY
by M. Paul BULCKE, Chief Executive Officer Nestlé S.A.
Thursday February 5th 2015 from 18:30 to 19:45
A Swiss welcome drink will be served as from 18:00 onwards
The European Union and Switzerland are home to some of the globe's largest Multinational Companies (MNC). As of 2014, about 160 “Fortune 500”* companies were based in Europe. These include 15 in Switzerland. These global corporate citizens are key drivers of the continent's economy, important sources of innovation and key players shaping the European commons. As both the European Single Market and the Swiss Economy seek to brace their economic models facing an accelerating globalization and heightened international competition, MNC's choices will play a key role in shaping either's socio-economic outlook.
As leading actors help to shape both the continent's shared prospects and the complex bilateral relationship between the EU and Switzerland, MNC's have an important responsibility as they seek to contribute in a constructive way to Europe's development. The Knowledge Economy, Corporate Social Responsibility, Smarter Regulation, Preferential and Global Trade Agreements, and Sustainable Development are all key policy agendas endorsed by the EU and Switzerland but which cannot be conceived of without the necessary contribution of the private sector; in particular MNCs. Understanding the possibility of unexpected innovations in the future of the Euro-Swiss partnership must also take into account the analysis and strategies put forward by leading MNCs.
Nestlé, occupies a unique position in this regard as the largest food company in the world measured by revenues which has proven to be both a major research and development hub and a commanding voice in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility.
Therefore, welcoming Nestlé's CEO Mr Buckle is a unique opportunity to consider the contribution of one of the most important corporate citizens of the Euro-Swiss relationship. Basing on his unique position, he will question the role of business in society (Role of the private sector: role of profit, role of innovation, investment, efficiency; Responsibilities; Opportunities; Role of the food industry in society for last 150 years and looking ahead), while referring more specifically to his company’s approach and history.
* Fortune 500 is an annual list compiled and published by Fortune magazine. It ranks companies by their gross revenue after adjustments to exclude the impact of excise taxes companies incur.