On 12th November 2016 Niels Due Jensen, chairman of the Poul Due Jensen Foundation, was awarded the LutherRose 2016 for social responsibility and Entrepreneurial Courage in the Prinzenpalais of the Danish National Museum in Copenhagen.
Directly following the 9th LutherConference the International Martin Luther Foundation (IMLS) honoured Niels Due Jensen as “an impressive personality and successful businessman, who in his professional and private life embodies the reforming qualities of Martin Luther” During his long-term tenure as chairman of Grundfos he developed this pump-manufacturing company into a global actor in the struggle to provide clean drinking water for everyone in the world.
His wife Minna Due Jensen accepted the award on behalf of her husband. She and her son Poul Due Jensen, the Group Executive Vice President of Grundfos, spoke clear and moving words of thanks.
At the moment Niels Due Jensen is on the road to recovery following an operation. For this reason he was not able to participate personally in the LutherConference 2016. For him Luther’s message is still relevant today, he stated “Luther’s message to us is to make a positive difference to each other every day – in private life as well as in business. For me, personally, it has been an important task in life to ensure that the Grundfos values and business ethics, founded in a Christian worldview, are not lost in the global fight for market share. Being selected to receive the LutherRose 2016 is therefore a great honour, which I really appreciate."
In his laudation Karsten Dybvad, the CEO of the Confederation of Danish Industry, praised the awardee: “He has certainly played a key role in making CSR mainstream in the Danish business community and been a pioneer when it comes to corporate societal thinking.”
In her commemorative speech on the theme “Luther, Marx and the Consequences. The Reformation and the modern welfare state” the EU commissioner for competition, Margrethe Vestager said about Luther and his influence on present day Europe: “Our belief in fairness and equality, in respect for diversity and for the individual, can help us to get through even the darkest times (...). But that will only happen if we’re willing to stand up and be counted. Not just to hold these values, but to live them. To nail our theses to the church door, and say: we stand for a Europe that is for everyone.”
This year the theme for the panel discussion was “Luther State Socialism? Chances and risks of present day social politics in Denmark and Europe” and it was hosted by Michael J. Inacker, the chairman of the IMLS executive board. The panel included the economic journalist of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Heike Göbel, the ethicist Prof. Dr. Svend Andersen from the University of Aarhus, the economist Prof. Dr. Niels Kærgaard from the University of Copenhagen and Jakob Funk Kirkegaard from the Peterson Institute for International Economics, Washington (DC).
- Commemorative speech - Margarethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition
- Laudation - Karsten Dybvad Director General and CEO of the Confederation of Danish Industry
- Acceptance speech - Minna Due Jensen on behalf of her husband Paul Due Jensen