4th Max Havelaar Lecture 'With great power, comes great responsibility'


On Wednesday 27 October 2010, the fourth Max Havelaar Lecture will be hosted by Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University. This year, this prestigious lecture is entitled ‘With great power, comes great responsibility’. Not only super-heroes like Spiderman wrestle with this challenge movie after movie. Companies are increasingly expected to follow his example in using their substantial powers to do good. The lecture is scheduled to start at 2 pm and conclude at 4.30 pm, and will be conducted in English.
History has shown that trade can cause large-scale disaster to people, animals and the planet. Fortunately, history also increasingly shows the good effects of trade. With the right attitude and resources, trade can contribute to alleviating poverty and sustainable development of developing countries. However, both civilians and authorities are understandably suspicious of the significant power of companies. This results in an unyielding ‘low-trust’ society that achieves less progress than would be desirable and feasible.
The fourth Max Havelaar lecture expands on how the power of companies can be wielded as a positive contributor to key themes such as human rights, combating poverty and sustainable development. The lecture also discusses the issue if it would be better for companies to contribute at their own initiative, or in collaboration with other parties, and the basic requirements for each. In accordance with the lecture’s tradition, this theme will be discussed from various perspectives.
The key themes of the lecture include:
  • The power of the diplomat by Jan Pronk, ex-minister of Development and Collaboration; top officer of UNCTAD; ex-UN special emissary to the Sudan.
  • The power of the retailer by Sjaak de Korte, CEO of PLUS, the supermarket chain that was the first in the Netherlands to entirely stop selling non-Fairtrade bananas as per January 2010.
  • The power of the manufacturer by Joan Karanja, Director of Cooperation for Fair Trade in Africa (COFTA).
  • The power of the NGO by Rob Cameron, CEO of Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO), the umbrella organisation of the worldwide Fairtrade certificate.
  • The power of the scientist by Prof. George Yip, Dean of RSM
The Max Havelaar Lecture is held during the Fairtrade Week. Organised by the Dutch National Association of World Shops, Fair Trade Original and Max Havelaar Foundation, the Fair Trade Week will take place from 21 through 30 October 2010. During this week, fair trade will be a key theme in many media and places in the Netherlands.
The Max Havelaar Lecture is organised by a partnership between Max Havelaar Foundation, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, Triodos Bank and the Expert Centre on Sustainable Business and Development Cooperation (ECSAD).
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More information is available from: www.maxhavelaarlecture.org
Max Havelaar Foundation is the organisation behind the well-known Max Havelaar certificate for Fair Trade. If a product has a Max Havelaar certificate (this includes coffee, fruit, rice, cotton, wine and many more products), it means that the producing farmers in developing countries received a fair price for their products, which provides them with an opportunity for autonomous sustainable development. www.maxhavelaar.nl
Previous Max Havelaar lectures
2009: 3rd Max Havelaar Lecture: 'Chains for Change'
2008: 2nd Max Havelaar Lecture: 'Partnerships for Development'
2007: 1st Max Havelaar Lecture: 'Poverty and Business'
Book releases
Max Havelaar Lecture 2009 – Chains for Change
Max Havelaar Lecture 2008 - Partnerships for development
Max Havelaar Lecture 2007 - Poverty and Business