Sep 21, 2005
Thank you, Rabbi Schneier for your kind words. I would like to congratulate you on your 40 years of perseverance. Being here, I recall something that last year’s Nobel Peace Prize Winner Wangari Maathai said: “We can work together for a better world with men and women of goodwill, those who radiate the intrinsic goodness of humankind.” I feel that I am now in a room with such radiance.
In accepting this award, I want foremostly to recognize the excitement and vision that Nokia people have brought to my work over the years. Together, we have met many tough challenges, and we have worked hard to do things that some thought would be impossible.
Now we carry our strength and passion into the future, with a belief that communication is a basic human need, and that mobile communications is a driving force for economic development and social wellbeing.
We also carry a strong commitment to the environment and our concern for the ongoing realities of poverty and unrest that still prevail in many parts of the world. And we will not forget the many people who still lack the most basic and elemental opportunities to improve their lives.
I would personally like to express our sympathies for those who have been affected by the terrible natural catastrophy that has occurred in your own Gulf Coast States so recently. There are very few of us who have not been affected - we share our grief with you. But we also share our hope. The physical, emotional and economic scars that have been left in hurricane Katrina’s wake can be felt around the world, and will be felt for a very long time, but your country’s rebuilding efforts are challenges that the world takes up with you.
Rabbi Schneier, Prime Minister Howard, Dr. Kissinger, the Honorable Mr. Peterson, your Excellencies, distinguished guests:
It is inspiring to see how our concept of community is opening out to embrace a truly global sense of cooperation, a desire to do something good and worthwhile - regardless of where we are in relation to each other. People are saying, “We are all here together. Let’s work together and help each other out.” Look at how individuals as well as companies have reacted so immediately and so selflessly to the tsunami in Southeast Asia and to hurricane Katrina – we have never before united in such a large-scaled and diverse outpouring of support and goodwill.
When Nokia was founded 140 years ago, the speed of getting a message from one point to another was the time it took to travel that distance. What we now see happening is that messages are travelling instantaneously. This is the world we live in. We hear about things faster, and can help each other faster.
When I spoke at the first session of the World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva in 2003, I envisioned that it would be possible for 4 billion people to have access to mobile communications by 2015. Now I can say that just this week we have reached the milestone of 2 billion mobile subscriptions.
This is not only 2 billion mobile phone users, but millions of people who can improve their businesses and millions of children and teenagers who can access information for developing life skills: 2 billion people who are able to interact more, learn more and achieve more. And the surprising fact is that for one quarter of these users – 500 million people – a mobile phone is the first phone they have ever used.
These people can now have a much more informed perspective to what is happening on this earth, acting as global citizens rather than as isolated individuals. Mobile communications has been a major enabler of this. One of the great things about working in the mobile communications industry is that by running a successful business we are creating positive changes in people’s lives. For me this is about personal commitment. In whatever walk of life we are in, it is our personal commitment to the things we believe in that makes a difference.
When I was 17, I left home for an international boarding school. It was my first trip to a foreign country. As my mother waved goodbye to me, she said, “Boy, remember to do good things for all the people now that you are so privileged to get this education.” For me, working in an industry that fundamentally improves people’s opportunities in life is how I live up to that request of my late mother.
These days, to a greater extent than ever, our activities and decisions are being defined by the trust we gain from consumers - people who are aware of their actions and who take a stand for what they believe in. And as a company, especially a large company, we cannot even begin to expect trust without understanding that more and more decisions are being thought of as ethical decisions; more and more consumers are choosing products based on ethical considerations. People want new products and services, but they want them from companies and brands they trust. We take this trust seriously.
Doing business is no longer just about products and services – we want to prove our existence within every community we are part of. This means great products made with environmentally compatible materials. It means the smile of an employee helping to create a local fish pond. It means the voice of a loved one on your mobile phone – maybe a relative lost in the chaos of a hurricane or a tsunami who everyone can once again know is alive and well. This is the kind of proof and validation that allows us to continue, and what builds a greater sense of community. And through this, the world becomes more human, filled with the voices and faces of those we have helped or have been helped by in some small way.
But doing business is also about long term sustainability – living in a world that we can continue to live in, and that our children can continue living in, peacefully, without fear of starvation, with hope for tomorrow.
I believe that the companies that do the most good, and the ones that endure, are the ones founded on conscience and values rather than on technologies alone. It all comes down to one thing - something that this Foundation is built upon and that many companies, including Nokia are learning to grasp more fully. It is the simple recognition that the future is our promise to each other. We have made that promise, and know that we have to follow up on that promise - because I think that deep down, all of us understand that we owe this to each other.