Pesquisas e outros recursos
sobre como a liberdade religiosa
é boa para os negócios


Review of Practical Wisdom in Management

22 Sep, 2014

Review Author: Melissa Grim

Practical Wisdom in Management, by Theodore Roosevelt Malloch, is the first in-depth and comprehensive case study book to explore how practical wisdom from spiritual and philosophical traditions inspires corporate leadership and permeates many corporate cultures.

Discount Code: RFBF4

Covering ten major worldwide religions, this book provides a comprehensive overview of the practical wisdom of the major faith traditions for management. Practical Wisdom is designed for the classroom and includes in-depth and informative case studies of 28 multinational corporations, analyzed with an emphasis on their values and spiritual inspiration, alongside business and strategic issues.

The book starts with a look at companies and organizations that have incorporated Catholic Social Thought with great success. For instance, Group DANONE is a French food-products multinational that is the leading dairy products company in the world. DANONE focuses not just on profitability but on social justice as well, and hires like-minded individuals. One manifestation of this is the Danone International Prize for Nutrition, which honors individuals or teams that have made advances in the science of human nutrition, one aspect of taking care of the person as a “whole.”

Grameen Bank, a highly successful for-profit bank, is owned almost entirely by its borrowers. Created by Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus, he took seriously the Muslim call for charity for the poor. However, he saw fellow citizens in an endless cycle of debt. After spending decades on the problem, he developed a system that took the belief in charity, and gave the poor not temporary handouts, but a means to get out of debt and start their own businesses. He won the prestigious Peace Prize in 2006.

Yunus’ critique of modern day economics, which led to his innovation, was that: “Many of the problems in the world remain unresolved because we continue to interpret capitalism too narrowly. In this narrow interpretation we create a one-dimensional human being to play the role of entrepreneur. We insulate him from other dimensions of life, such as, religious, emotional, political dimensions.”

Infosys Limited (INFY) is a NASDAQ listed global technology services company, headquartered in Bangalore, India. It has become the second largest IT exporter in India with more than 160,000 employees. Infosys has shown remarkable growth and has received a number of accolades over the last two decades, including best employer. In founding INFY, founder Murphy held above all that he wanted to created an ethical business informed by his Hindu beliefs. Murphy’s guiding ethical and business principle is the Golden Rule, to do unto others, as you would have them do to you.

By the end of 2010, Whole Foods’ growth and leadership position in the natural and organic grocery food market was well established. The company is well known for being a values-based, mission-driven organization that regularly earned distinction among Fortune 500 companies for its employee-friendly culture and policies. It’s founder and CEO, John Mackey, has studied religion and philosophy extensively, and has been greatly informed by Buddhism incorporating the focus on moderation and health as a means to enlightenment. As such Whole Foods has a business model that is aimed at promoting human happiness and well being.

Kraft Foods is a manufacturing giant present in over 150 countries and over 99% of U.S. households. Kraft Foods boasts a unique humanistic version of servant leadership. CEO Irene Rosenfeld identifies servant leadership as central to Kraft’s management framework. Rosenfeld strongly emphasizes the value of servant leadership in corporate management. “The people that work with me understand . . . I am there to help them, not for them to help me.”  Kraft has relied on value-based product offerings as a source of growth through marketing and innovation.

Conclusion: This book will be valuable reading for MBA students and students of business ethics and spirituality in business courses, as well as business leaders looking to integrate religious values into their organization. In fact as the book notes, New York-based branding firm BBMG reports that contemporary consumers are increasingly values-conscious; that is, they care about whether the companies they buy from and products they consume reflect or support moral values they espouse. So the reading of this book is timely.

Nigerian Conflict: Is Business the Answer?

22 Sep, 2014

July 19, 2014 – Melissa E. Grim, Religious Freedom & Business Foundation Case Study*

In Nigeria, businesses and economic development NGOs are working to stop widespread religious violence between Christians and Muslims, which has already taken hundreds of lives and threatens to thrust parts of the country into civil war.

For instance, in Adamawa State in northeast Nigeria, groups like the Yola Innovation Machine are helping a new generation of entrepreneurs create businesses. The need is great. Young adults in many of Adamawa’s poor rural and marginalized communities lack the necessary entrepreneurial skills they need to break out of the poverty trap that often feeds violent extremism. The majority of youth in the area have no employment. In Adamawa, and throughout Nigeria, the population doubles every 30-35 years, so assisting people to create their own jobs is perhaps the most immediate solution to unemployment.

The Yola Innovation Machine and others are working in this direction. For instance, they helped create and nurture a new business called Yola EcoSentials (YES), which recycles discarded materials into sellable goods such as purses, mats, handbags and wristlets. The goods are made from “plarn,” a yarn spun from recycled plastic grocery bags. The venture results in multiple social goods because every item sold by Yola EcoSentials generates much needed income and employment, and at the same time helps protect the deteriorating ecological environment.

In the Plateau State in the country’s center, Muslim and Christian business people are cooperating to work around religious violence. In Jos, Plateau’s capital, there is an unwritten rule that when religious tensions flare up, Christians and Muslims should not cross certain city boundaries. But this can be devastating for the fresh produce vendors and other businesses, which serve people on both sides of the divide.

In response, Muslim and Christian business people have taken it upon themselves to work around these limitations, risking their lives and not just their livelihoods to keep business moving across the religious divide. For example, Madam Ngozi, a vegetable seller and widow raising seven children on her own, often cannot go to the market to restock her supply of vegetables due to religious violence or warnings of possible violence. However, a cell phone call to her Muslim supplier, Mallam Yahaya, can solve the problem. They find a discrete place to meet, agree on a price, and make the transaction.

Still, many are skeptical that businesses can ultimately make much of a real difference in Nigeria. “On what basis could it work?” asks Clement Nwankwo, a political analyst who heads the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre in Abuja. “There is no peace in the northeast. Can any construction company go in there to work?”

But U.S.-trained Nigerian economist Soji Adelaja argues that business can be an important part of the long-term solution to violent religious extremism currently exploding in northeast Nigeria today. Mr. Adelaja, born in Lagos, recently returned to his homeland after 34 years in the United States to help put together what the government calls a “Marshall Plan” to counter the extremist violence and bring prosperity. The concept being put forward is that an improved economy and more opportunity could be an effective tool in countering the advances of groups like Boko Haram, the radical Islamic organization that recently made headlines around the world when it kidnapped 200 girls.
img018* This is the third in a series of case studies highlighting how companies – in their core business activities – can help reduce religious and cultural tensions, increase social understanding, and promote peace. This case study does not imply an endorsement of any company profiled. The Religious Freedom & Business Foundation has no tie to any of the companies profiled.

To stay up to date, subscribe to our newsletter.


World Cup Highlights Struggles & Contributions of Afro-Brazilians

22 Sep, 2014
July 18, 2014 – Melissa E. Grim, Religious Freedom & Business Foundation Case Study*

446235Afro Brazilians Help Brazilian Economy

In Brazil where religious freedom is generally well-protected, Brazilians of African descent still face discrimination for their appearance and beliefs, including their religious beliefs. But an NGO, the Afro-Brazilian Incubator, is working to fight this discrimination by promoting entrepreneurship among Afro-Brazilians. The hope is that greater economic integration for Afro-Brazilians will lead to greater social and religious acceptance for them as well.

First brought to Brazil hundreds of years ago as slaves, Afro-Brazilians have long faced great discrimination, based on race, religion and other factors. Their plight gained prominence during the run up to the recent World Cup (which was hosted by Brazil), when many of the country’s leading black soccer players were subjected to racial and other harassment. These incidents caused Brazil’s president to declare the 2014 World Cup the “anti-racism World Cup.”

In an effort to fight the discrimination faced by Afro-Brazilians and those who practice Afro-religions,
the Incubator offers a host of free services for aspiring entrepreneurs, ranging from management training to assistance with marketing and accounting. It currently supports over 1,000 businesses in the metropolitan area of Rio de Janeiro, and works in partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Many newly successful businesspeople credit the Afro-Brazilian Incubator with their success. Nildilene, for instance, was able to use business advice and management skills provided by the Incubator to help create a food service business that now employs nine other people. The fact that she came from a poor family and was only able to finish elementary school did not stand in the way of her becoming a successful businesswoman.


* This is the fourth in a series of case studies highlighting how companies – in their core business activities – can help reduce religious and cultural tensions, increase social understanding, and promote peace. This case study does not imply an endorsement of these companies or their products or services. The Religious Freedom & Business Foundation has no tie to the companies profiled.

To stay up to date, subscribe to our newsletter.

Indonesian Businesses Open Their Doors to Faith and Action

22 Sep, 2014
July 17, 2014 – Melissa E. Grim, Religious Freedom & Business Foundation Case Study*
In Indonesia, businesses are at the forefront of efforts to promote interfaith understanding. For instance, EXPRESS Taxi, with a fleet of more than 7,000 taxis in Jakarta, promotes a faith-friendly workplace by setting up prayer rooms and facilitating Muslim and Christian observances as well as celebrations of Chinese New Year. Such efforts not only foster interfaith understanding but also increase worker productivity and satisfaction.

In addition to accommodating religious practice in the workplace, Indonesian businesses also help meet the social and religious needs of employees outside of work, while at the same time increasing safety and employee retention. For instance, PT Kereta API Indonesia, an Indonesian railway company, provides free freight transportation for its Muslim workers to return home to celebrate Eid. This is important because many would choose the more affordable but dangerous option of riding a motorcycle home. In addition to being safer, it relieves congestion across the island of Java and lowers overall accident rates.

PT XL-Axiata, a mobile telephone company, also arranges free transportation home for religious observance. In cooperation with Giant Hypermarket, the company last year helped nearly 20,000 employees and customers return home for Eid.


Muslims Breaking Fast at Express Taxi

Christmas Celebration at Express Taxi


In addition to offering logistical help with their employees’ religious observances, businesses in Indonesia have worked to fix large, seemingly intractable social problems. For instance, companies in Jakarta, along with civil society groups and the government, helped 4,541 poor couples in interfaith marriages to receive the proper marriage licenses. Up to that point, these couples, for financial or legal reasons, could not obtain marriage certificates, preventing them from receiving birth certificates for their children. Without ID cards, marriage certificates and birth certificates, the families often did not have access to national health care, public education, legal rights and employment.

Having the necessary certificates, the businesses can further help them with the education scholarship, skills training and job opportunities.

The House of Love Foundation, in collaboration with the Jakarta Municipal Government as well as other groups, established and ran the marriage initiative. The initiative was also supported by Indonesia Global Compact Network and a variety of businesses, including  Rajawali’s B Channel (now Rajawali TV), Coca-Cola, Sari Roti, So Nice Sausage, Kopi Kamu, Papa Ron and religious organizations. Muslim, Christian, Catholic, Buddhist, Hindu and Confucius couples from across the capital took part. This initiative also promotes intercultural and interfaith understanding within the community.


* This is the fifth in a series of case studies highlighting how companies – in their core business activities – can help reduce religious and cultural tensions, increase social understanding, and promote peace. This case study does not imply an endorsement of any company profiled. The Religious Freedom & Business Foundation has no tie to any of the companies profiled.

To stay up to date, subscribe to our newsletter.

Religious Freedom & Business at U.S. Capital

22 Sep, 2014
On July 8, 2014, Religious Freedom & Business Foundation research associate Melissa Grim gave the following report of the Foundation’s activities at the International Religious Freedom Roundtable.


Thank you for the opportunity to share about the work of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation. The Foundation educates the global business community about how religious freedom is good for business, and engages the business community in joining forces with government and non-government organizations in promoting respect for freedom of religion or belief.

I would like to talk about 5 initiatives that the Foundation is working on. The first relates to Impact Investment, which is investing in sustainable businesses that have a positive social impact in ways that lower religious tensions and increase interfaith understanding. As part of this initiative, the Foundation will develop a global impact database based on the technology of the World Religion Databasebased at Boston University. The “Global Impact Investment Database” will link entrepreneurs and innovators with sustainable business opportunities in areas of social need around the world. The database will be state-of-the-art and built on the technology of the World Religion Database. The database will foster such enterprises as the waste-to-wealth project for Dalits, being developed with university, aid and development partners from Finland. Brazilian business partners are working with the Foundation to develop the web interface, include mechanisms for paid businesses memberships, which we believe will make the project self-sustaining and revenue-generating.

The second is the Business, Faith & Freedom Global Forum starting at the World Expo in Milan in 2015. “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” – presents a perfect platform for companies in food-related industries to showcase how religion and religious freedom makes their businesses more successful, innovative and responsive to the needs of people. The Global Forum will showcase sustainable enterprises that help ethnic & religious minorities better integrate and contribute to the societies in which they live.

Third, the Foundation will present the Religious Freedom & Business Global Awards in the host city of each summer and winter Olympics, beginning in Rio, 2016. The Global Awards recognize the best advances and innovations by businesses in improving respect for religious freedom. For-profit businesses from any country eligible to be nominated. Award winners will direct the Award prize money to a religious freedom organization of their choice from a list of those helping to educate the global business community about how religious freedom is good for business and/or engaging the business community in joining forces with government and non-government organizations in promoting respect for freedom of religion or belief.

Fourth, the Foundation is involved in Research and Education projects. President Grim along with researchers at Georgetown University and Brigham young published the study: “Is Religious Freedom Good for Business?: A Conceptual and Empirical Analysis,” which is available on the website of the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion (IJRR). The study finds that Religious freedom is one of only three factors significantly associated with global economic growth. The study looked at GDP growth for 173 countries in 2011 and controlled for two-dozen different financial, social, and regulatory influences. The study, however, goes beyond simple correlations by empirically testing and finding the tandem effects of government restrictions on religion and social hostilities involving religion (as measured by the Pew Research Center) to be detrimental to economic growth while controlling for 23 other theoretical, economic, political, social, and demographic factors.

Finally, the Foundation has a number of Education projects in development. It is working with leading business schools and educational institutions to develop an internet-based certificate course on how business, freedom and religion interact. Components of the future course include two tracks – one for corporate executives and representatives, and another for undergraduate and graduate students. There will be multi-media modules covering facts on topics ranging from religious freedom and its relation to socio-economic outcomes to case studiesof core business enterprises that promote interfaith understanding and peace.

Additionally the Foundation is working with leading interfaith groups, business schools and educational institutions to develop a “Self-Reliance Curriculum.” Obtaining self-reliance life skills is a pressing need among many vulnerable communities who are susceptible to radicalization, such as Muslims in the UK. The project will make available to interfaith training teams a curriculum of self-reliance that could be taught to members of vulnerable communities by interfaith teams beginning in the UK and then taken globally.

The Foundation is the first organization dedicated to educating businesses about why religious freedom will enable them to be more productive and successful, and how they can effectively incorporate religious freedom in their strategic business plans for the benefit of their stakeholders, their employees and society.

Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion Reviews Johnson & Grim book

22 Sep, 2014
Anne Goujon, Research Group Leader, Wittgenstein Center for Demography and Global Human Capitol, Vienne Austria, writing in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion gave a positive review of Grim’s bookThe World’s Religions in Figures: An Introduction to International Religious Demography, co-authored with Todd Johnson.


Goujon writes the book is “a must read for one interested in the field of international religious demography.” The review states that in the 21st century “(w)within which religion is an omnipresent factor, international religious demography has become the key provider of scientific knowledge relevant for a debate ‘driven by anecdotes and conjectures’” and “the book is one of the first important bricks in the wall of studies about international religious demography.” The review notes that one of the merits of the book is that it takes a truly global perspective towards religious populations, instead of maintaining a European or North American approach. Additionally the statistical section “considers the entire population, including the unaffiliated, irrespective of whether they are agnostic, atheists, or simply do not identify with the religious institutions in place.”

The book is now available for purchase.

Oxford Journal of Law and Religion Summer Academy

22 Sep, 2014
The Second Annual Oxford Journal of Law and Religion Summer Academy will be held 23-28 June 2014 at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford. The summer academy is a major international event that brings together leading academics, policy makers, international officials, and practicing lawyers working in the field of law, religion, and international relations.


Brian Grimand Pasquale Annicchino will be speaking at theevent titled Sacred and Secular Varieties of Secularism and International Religious Freedom from the Perspectives of Comparative Law, International Law and Foreign Policy.

Annicchino will speak on 23 June 17, 2014, presenting his article “Is the European Union Joining the International Religious Freedom Bandwagon?” under the panel of Religion and Foreign Policy – Emerging Trends. He will also chair a panel June 24 on International Law and Foreign Affairs – European Perspectives. Annicchino will be representing the European University Institute, Florence.

Grim will speak on 25 June, presenting his journal article “Religious Freedom’s Link to Economic Growth,” under the panel of Religion, Business and Foreign Policy. Grim represents the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation.

Full program here.

Foundation President Appointed to World Economic Forum Religion Council

22 Sep, 2014

Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, has invited Religious Freedom & Business Foundation President Brian Grim to become a Member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Role of Faith for 2014-2016.


The focus of the Global Agenda Council on the Role of Faith in the upcoming term will be to raise awareness of the unique added value of faith by identifying and developing the main pillars of an informational program on how to leverage socio-cultural, cross-faith and religious engagement for conflict prevention and conflict transformation.

This effort will be targeted to two sets of stakeholders: 

  1. Countries/ public authority (e.g., countries experiencing recent phenomena of immigration; countries with internal conflicts and/or restrictions on freedom of beliefs/religion); and
  2. International companies and professionals, particularly those working in emerging markets and conflict affected regions.

Established in 2008, the Network of Global Agenda Councils is an invitation-only knowledge network that serves as an international brain trust to the World Economic Forum and the world at large.

The Network gives its Members a unique platform to support the Forum’s vision to better understand and catalyze global, regional and industry transformation.

The Religious Freedom & Business Foundation and IGE Formalize Partnership

22 Sep, 2014
Washington, DC – (June 12, 2014) On 6 June 2014, Presidents and Seiple of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation (RFBF) and the Institute for Global Engagement (IGE) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) formalizing the partnership between the two like-minded organizations that seek to build religious freedom worldwide.

5850777Grim & Seiple

“In line with the RFBF’s mission to ‘engage the business community in joining forces with government and non-government organizations in promoting respect for freedom of religion or belief’, IGE’s “track 1.5” approach, working at the nexus of governments and grassroots organizations, will complement the efforts of the RFBF. Having worked alongside Seiple and IGE for many years now, I am excited to see the fruit of our official partnership,” noted Grim.  

In order to enhance the breadth of both institutions and discover new synergies and efficiencies, IGE and RFBF agreed to work together in good faith to expand existing programs and initiatives as well as create new ones. Potential areas of collaboration include, but are not limited to: A certificate program on international religious freedom promotion and socially responsible global business, offered in conjunction with one or more respected business schools; special issues of The Review of Faith & International Affairs (RFIA) on select themes; and, film documentaries of success stories of businesses that have made a difference for religious freedom.

“I greatly respect the work of my colleague and friend, Brian Grim. I look forward to deepening our working relationship through this MOU. Our organizations share a commitment to freedom of conscience or belief and track record of practical and mutually reinforcing innovation in this field,” commented Seiple following the signing of the MOU.  

Formalizing such a partnership is a natural extension of existing synergies. Grim and the RFBF provide the quantitative metrics while Seiple and IGE provide the qualitative experiences. In addition to the formal partnership between the two institutions, Dr. Seiple also serves on Dr. Grim’s Board of Directors. Grim is a member of the Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group, through the Federal Advisory Committee initiated by Secretary Clinton, of which Dr. Seiple serves as Senior Advisor. Grim was also recently invited to join the World Economic Forum’s Council on the Role of Faith where Dr. Seiple serves as Chair.

British Parliament: Briefing on Religious Freedom’s Link to Economic Growth June 10

22 Sep, 2014
British Parliament, London, June 10, 2014 – Today,Religious Freedom & Business Foundation President Brian Grim discussed a new study finding that religious freedom is one of only three factors significantly associated with global economic growth.

1402462515Grim at UK Parliament

The study, by researchers at Georgetown University and Brigham Young University, looked at GDP growth for 173 countries in 2011 and controlled for two-dozen different financial, social, and regulatory influences.

The briefing was open to Members of Parliament and the public. Lord Alton of Liverpool hosted the event at 11:00 AM, Committee Room 3A. The briefing follows the June 9 launch of the new website of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on International Religious Freedom.

Brian J. Grim is an author of the study, President of the RF&B Foundationand researcher on the economics working group of Georgetown University’s Religious Freedom Project. Grim is also a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Role of Faith for 2014-2016.