The FINANCIAL -- On June 22 at the United Nations, the UN Global Compact unveiled a multi-year strategy to drive business awareness and activity that supports the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
Key elements of the new Making Global Goals Local Business strategy include an annual Leaders Summit, the SDG Pioneers programme, Local Network SDG Action Plans, UN-business partnerships, and impact reporting. The announcement came at the opening of the 2016 UN Global Compact Leaders Summit, a two-day gathering of more than 1,000 leaders from business, finance, civil society, labour, academia, the UN and Government.
“The UN Global Compact is uniquely prepared and positioned to lead business in the SDG era,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “Achieving the SDGs will require unprecedented cooperation, radical innovation and extraordinary leadership. And it will require us each to be a pioneer, forging ahead into new territory. That means taking personal and corporate responsibility for how we do business and who we choose as our staff and partners. It means taking stock of our decisions as consumers and investors. It means raising our voices and taking a stand when it matters. The United Nations Global Compact is the forum to make all this happen.”
This year’s Leaders Summit marks the first official business forum since the launch of the SDGs, ushering in a new era and expectation for business to contribute to global goals. While the SDGs provide a blueprint for creating a sustainable world by 2030, they also point the way to the business activities and markets of the future. Through the Leaders Summit, the UN Global Compact aims to jump-start the responsible business practices, breakthrough innovation and transformative partnerships that will be needed to achieve the SDGs, according to the Global Compact.
“The Leaders Summit is the first step on a long-term journey to engage business on the 2030 Agenda. The expectations on business in the new SDG era are immense, but at the same time the opportunities are enormous,” said Lise Kingo, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact. “We need to invent, develop and launch countless new ideas and solutions within a very short time. Through our Making Global Goals Local Business strategy, we will build a powerful global movement of companies doing business responsibly and innovating around the SDGs to create the world we want.”
To inspire business women and men around the world, today the UN Global Compact announced ten Local SDG Pioneers. Selected from more than 600 nominees in 100 countries, the Pioneers programme shines a spotlight on entrepreneurs and changemakers who are demonstrating how business can unlock economic, social and environmental gains in their markets for the new SDG era.
The inaugural class of Global Compact Local SDG Pioneers includes:
Kerry Adler, Founder, President and CEO, SkyPower (Canada)
Zubaida Bai, Founder and CEO, ayzh (India)
Farzana Chowdhury, Managing Director and CEO, Green Delta Insurance (Bangladesh)
Sonia Consiglio Favaretto, Press and Sustainability Officer, BM&FBOVESPA S.A. (Brazil)
Xiaohui Liang, Chief Researcher, China National Textile & Apparel Council and Adjunct Professor, Peking University (China)
Patrick Ngowi, Founder and CEO, Helvetic Global (Tanzania)
Claus Stig Pedersen, Head of Corporate Sustainability, Novozymes (Denmark)
Ulisses Matiolli Sabará, President, Beraca (Brazil)
Dina Sherif, Co-Founder and CEO, Ahead of the Curve, (Egypt)
Ulysses Smith, Attorney, Linklaters LLP (United States)
“We need pioneering corporate leaders and entrepreneurs who can build the sustainable societies of tomorrow. Each of the 2016 Local SDG Pioneers exemplifies how business can be a force for good in addressing the challenges we face as a global society,” added Ms. Kingo.
At the Summit today, Argentina’s Minister of Foreign Relations Susanna Malcorra and Kenya’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Macharia Kamau, underscored the indispensable role business must play as a complement to Government efforts, especially through national SDG action plans. Their remarks emphasized the need for greater private sector activity, investment and partnership on the ground to advance the global goals, and called for more companies to adhere to the UN Global Compact’s ten principles as a fundamental step in contributing to sustainability.
A number of CEOs and civil society voices also called for a new mindset to meet the world’s ambitions for 2030. Speakers today included: Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, Founder and Executive Director, soleRebels; Hannah Godefa, UNICEF National Ambassador to Ethiopia; Adena Friedman, President, NASDAQ; Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, Youth Director, Earth Guardians; Alaa Murabit, SDG Advocate and Founder of The Voice of Libyan Women; Mads Nipper, Chief Executive Officer, Grundfos; Francesco Starace, Chief Executive Officer, Enel; and Axel Weber, Chairman, UBS AG.
Tomorrow at the Leaders Summit, the UN Global Compact will further outline its Making Global Goals Local Business strategy, including releasing action plans for its Local Networks on the SDGs and hosting an Innovation Circle with UN agencies and programmes. Additionally, Accenture will announce the results of the 2016 CEO Study which advances the views of 1,000 Global Compact participant CEOs on the role that business should play in tackling the SDGs, and the opportunities ahead to reshape markets and transform business models.