At a glance: Denmark

Corporate partners unite to help children affected by AIDS

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF Denmark/2006/Aaen
Attending an AIDS campaign event for business leaders at a Copenhagen theatre were (from left) IRMA Executive Director Alfred Josefsen, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Sir Roger Moore and Executive Director Steen M. Andersen of the Danish National Committee for UNICEF.

By Karin Aaen

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, 11 September 2006 – “Many of us have a strong desire to make a difference,” said Alfred Josefsen, one of Europe’s most successful business leaders, at a high-profile AIDS campaign event for corporate leaders in Copenhagen late last week.

Over 300 participants from the Danish corporate sector took part in the 7 September gathering, which featured an appeal from UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Sir Roger Moore.

The event was held to raise awareness about the UNITE FOR CHILDREN  UNITE AGAINST AIDS global campaign launched at UNICEF headquarters in New York last October. And audience members were visibly moved when Sir Roger, in a very personal speech, urged them to join the campaign to stop the pandemic that robs children of their childhood and the world of a better future.

“You can imagine going to villages where there are no adults – only children,” said Sir Roger. “All the parents have died, or they are hidden away because of their illness. I and my wife have done that, and it was a frightening experience.

“We all have two hands – one to help ourselves, and one to help others,” he continued, listing concrete examples of how corporate partners can make a difference in the lives of children worldwide.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF Denmark/2006/Aaen
IRMA Executive Director Alfred Josefsen, who also chairs the Danish National Committee for UNICEF.

Fundamental values

Sir Roger’s statement was enthusiastically supported by Mr. Josefsen, Executive Director of the Danish retail chain IRMA, recently selected by the international Great Place to Work Institute as the workplace with the ‘Best Practises for Internal Communication’ in Europe.

“All corporations are working with values today,” said Mr. Josefsen, who also chairs the board of the Danish National Committee for UNICEF.

“It is easy to choose the values you want to stand for, but our values are useless if we do not bring life to them,” he asserted. “UNICEF is working with the ultimate raw material on the planet – namely, the children. I find that very easy to combine with our fundamental values in IRMA, which are all about people. It is the human performance that creates results. And everybody can decide to help with the other hand and make a difference.”

Greater corporate involvement

Having been elected as the Leader of the Year in Denmark three years ago, Mr. Josefsen is used to making himself heard among business executives.

Only hours after the event urging greater corporate involvement, Odense Boldklub, one of Denmark’s largest sports clubs, decided to support the UNITE FOR CHILDREN  UNITE AGAINST AIDS campaign by donating proceeds from a high-profile soccer match in October.

The Copenhagen meeting was arranged by the Danish financial newspaper Borsen in cooperation with the Danish National Committee for UNICEF. Borsen executives participated via live webcast from four different locations in Denmark. The newspaper had joined the AIDS campaign as media partner earlier this year, donating free advertising space and other support.


 

 

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