Joint Statement at ILO Meeting of Experts on Wage Policies, Including Living Wages

Joint Statement at ILO Meeting of Experts on Wage Policies, Including Living Wages

February 15, 2024

The UN Global Compact looks forward to the ILO meeting of experts on wage policies, including living wages, and to the opportunity to speak at the event.

The UN Global Compact calls on companies worldwide to align their operations and strategies with our Ten Principles covering human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. With more than 20,000 participating companies, it is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative.

To advance social justice, we encourage companies to provide and promote a living wage as an essential aspect of decent work to ensure all workers, families and communities can live in dignity. A living wage is about the needs of workers and their families and is recognized as a human right in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It benefits fellow employees and businesses as well.

Last September, we launched the Forward Faster initiative, challenging businesses to publicly commit to ambitious targets linked to five issue areas identified to accelerate progress across all 17 SDGs.

Companies that sign up to the living wage targets commit to paying a living wage in their own operations and to working with supply chain partners, contractors and key stakeholders on a joint action plan towards providing living wages and living incomes.

By signing up to these targets, companies are showing that they are eager to take action on living wages and to include their commitment in their business strategy.

As indicated in the report, like Forward Faster, there are several other initiatives working with companies on living wages, including in global value chains. Altogether, a substantive and growing number of companies are involved and taking action.

Building on this momentum, on behalf of the UN Global Compact and the organizations supporting the living wage targets – including the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), Shift, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the B-Team, the Living Wage Foundation and AIM-Progress – we urge the ILO to use this meeting to:

  1. Develop a standard definition of a living wage aligned with human rights standards, focused on the needs of workers and their dependents, and building on the work done by leading organizations. A clear distinction should be made between the definition, rooted in human rights principles, and its operationalization, which also considers economic factors;
  2. Develop agreed criteria for methodologies for estimating evidence-based and transparent living wages, which could be used by social partners, including companies and trade unions, to estimate living wages. This can encourage standardization, harmonization and comparability of the different estimates currently available and should build on ongoing efforts and work;
  3. Provide guidance to companies through a template for a living wage implementation roadmap, which will support supply chain partners in agreeing on joint action plans and overcoming various challenges that complicate the payment of a living wage, including the role of pricing and sustainable purchasing practices.

Guidance on collaborative solutions, including between buyers and suppliers, is needed to aggregate buying power, further support meaningful social dialogue and collectively negotiated wages and sustain the conditions for continued improvement of wages across value chains.

We hope the ILO provides capacity building and technical assistance alongside the roadmap. As mentioned in the report, there is already existing work from partner organizations that can be built on and amplified throughout this process.

It is important to acknowledge that all stakeholders involved, including buyers, suppliers, Governments and supporting organizations, have distinct responsibilities and specific roles to play. In many countries, when minimum wages are set, there is an imbalance between the consideration of economic factors and workers’ needs.  We need an enabling environment conducive to the achievement of living wages as a critical component of the wider decent work and just transition agendas, and we, therefore, seek the support of the three constituents of the ILO to act on it.

At the Global Compact, it has become increasingly evident that a coordinated effort and a clear path forward are essential to driving corporate action on living wages. Progress requires collective work to influence change at scale across entire industries and in different national contexts.

Having authoritative guidance from the ILO on the definition, methodology and roadmap of living wages is key to enabling and incentivizing more companies to embrace living wages as integral to decent work and economic growth and signaling policymakers to adopt living wage policies.

This conversation goes beyond numbers and wages; it's about human rights, social justice and the sustainable future we aspire to create.

Joint statement delivered by UN Global Compact on behalf of the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), Shift, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the Business Commission to Tackle Inequality (BCTI), the B-Team, the Living Wage Foundation, AIM-Progress and the UN Global Compact

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UN Global Compact Launches Transformational Governance Corporate Toolkit

UN Global Compact Launches Transformational Governance Corporate Toolkit

February 13, 2024

The UN Global Compact, the world's largest corporate sustainability initiative, announced today the launch of its Transformational Governance Corporate Toolkit. This new resource is designed to empower companies to educate their employees to foster transformational governance throughout their organizations.

Transformational governance calls on businesses to champion greater accountability, integrity, and transparency as driving forces for responsible business conduct, enhanced Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) performance, and the strengthening of institutions, laws, and systems. This commitment contributes to the creation of more peaceful, just, and inclusive societies.

The toolkit provides a comprehensive view of internal governance and the strengthening of public governance institutions for businesses, enabling them to integrate policies that benefit not only themselves but also their stakeholders and the societies in which they operate.

Sanda Ojiambo, CEO and Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, emphasizes the importance of this toolkit for business: "The Transformational Governance Corporate Toolkit is a milestone in our ongoing efforts to equip companies with the tools they need to advance sustainable and responsible business practices. By promoting transformational governance, businesses can play a crucial role in building a more just and inclusive world."

Aligned with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16—Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions, the toolkit addresses transformational governance's twofold relevance to business; it not only contributes to progress across the entire SDG agenda but also creates sustainable and profitable environments for business and investment.

Key Features and Benefits of the toolkit include:

  • Risk Mitigation and Long-Term Viability: Businesses can secure a head start on risk mitigation, ensuring less volatility and creating long-term economic value through compliance with principles.
  • Global Alignment: By working towards compliance with transformational governance principles, businesses establish a strategic roadmap for integrating these principles into corporate endeavors, aligning with global entities and legal frameworks.
  • Stakeholder Trust and Social Stability: Companies demonstrating commitment to transformational governance attract investments from socially responsible funds, improving brand value and customer loyalty.

The toolkit includes a user-friendly online Transformational Governance Self-Assessment Tool, providing a framework for companies to engage with and apply the principles of transformational governance. This tool allows businesses to assess their baseline on the spectrum of transformational governance and identify key gaps in their current approach, mapped against relevant SDG 16 targets.

In addition to the self-assessment tool, the toolkit features three business briefs:

  • Investing in Transformational Governance Business Brief: Reviews key trends and guidance to investors, highlighting barriers and identifying opportunities for investors to contribute to SDG 16 targets.
  • Transformational Governance and Responsible Governmental Engagement Business Brief: Explores governmental engagement channels, emphasizing the need for a clear integrity framework for corporate action.
  • Transformational Governance and the Role of the Corporate Board and Executive Leadership Business Brief: Provides insights on incorporating transformational governance into business strategies, supporting the goals of SDG 16.

The toolkit was developed in collaboration with participating companies and partner organizations of the United Nations Global Compact Think Lab on Transformational Governance. This initiative brought together 20 companies from 5 regions to shape and define thought leadership on key issues related to transformational governance, address key business challenges, and identify policy advocacy opportunities and scale up learnings through the network of the UN Global Compact.

For more information and to access the Transformational Governance Corporate Toolkit, please visit this website.

Notes to Editors

About the UN Global Compact

As a special initiative of the United Nations Secretary-General, the UN Global Compact is a call to companies worldwide to align their operations and strategies with Ten Principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Our ambition is to accelerate and scale the global collective impact of business by upholding the Ten Principles and delivering the Sustainable Development Goals through accountable companies and ecosystems that enable change. With more than 20,000 participating companies, 5 Regional Hubs, 62 Local Networks covering 67 countries and 15 Country Managers establishing Networks in 34 other countries, the UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative — one Global Compact uniting business for a better world.

Contact

For further information or any media enquiries please contact:

Alexandra Gee
gee@unglobalcompact.org

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White Paper Shows U.S. Private Sector’s Capability in Advancing SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation for All

White Paper Shows U.S. Private Sector’s Capability in Advancing SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation for All

February 13, 2024

New York, NY – February 13, 2024 – In the face of rapidly depleting freshwater supplies across U.S. water basins, the private sector can be a pivotal force capable of steering positive change within communities. This opportunity is highlighted in the white paper "From Ripples to Waves: The Value of Corporate Water Stewardship," which was unveiled yesterday at the GreenBiz 24 conference in Arizona. The UN Global Compact Network USA (Network USA) produced the report, with contributions from the CEO Water Mandate and the sustainability nonprofit Ceres.

"From Ripples to Waves: The Value of Corporate Water Stewardship” discusses the value of water and serves as a call to action for businesses to address water challenges proactively. Delving into the practices of six companies across various sizes and sectors – including PepsiCo, Microsoft, Gotham Greens, Cargill, S&P Global, and Xylem – the white paper provides tangible examples of effective water stewardship.

The companies’ case studies showcase how they integrate water risk as a core consideration, establishing a compelling business and environmental case for actions involving diverse stakeholders and driving positive water impacts. Through these examples, the report highlights how the private sector can make a demonstrable contribution to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: Clean Water and Sanitation for all.

"Businesses nationwide are tackling the water crisis with a blend of innovation and ambition. 'From Ripples to Waves: The Value of Corporate Water Stewardship' highlights these best practices, and we hope that companies reading it will find inspiration as they navigate water challenges within their strategies and operations," said Adam Roy Gordon, Executive Director of UN Global Compact Network USA.

“In the face of depleting freshwater supplies, this white paper unveils the transformative role the private sector can play in creating positive impact,” said Jason Morrison, President of the Pacific Institute & Head of UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate. “The tangible examples and compelling cases it presents can serve as inspiration for businesses to adopt water stewardship in their operations.”

“No industry can survive without water. Businesses must assume a leading role in tackling water risks affecting their operations and supply chains and impacting global water resources and economic security,” said Kirsten James, Senior Program Director of Water of Ceres. “We hope by elevating the best practices of water stewardship we will inspire more companies to strengthen their own strategies, leverage innovation, and work with stakeholders to raise ambition and accelerate action on our shared water challenges.”

The urgency of the matter is underscored by sobering statistics in the U.S., where 2.2million Americans lack access to running water, and 9 million to 45 million are served by drinking water systems with health-based quality violations. Over the next decade, compounding factors such as groundwater depletion, infrastructure challenges, and climate change are expected to intensify pressure on already strained water systems.

Businesses are increasingly recognizing the gravity of this issue. A recent UN Global Compact study of companies worldwide revealed that nearly 45 percent identified water insecurity as a business risk, estimating a financial exposure exceeding $425 billion. This figure is anticipated to rise significantly as the water crisis worsens.

"From Ripples to Waves: The Value of Corporate Water Stewardship" can be downloaded here.

Network USA would like to thank S&P Global and Xylem for their patronage and support for the report.

About UN Global Compact Network USA

UN Global Compact Network USA (Network USA) is the U.S. Chapter of the United Nations Global Compact, the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world. Network USA is a powerful network of companies and stakeholders dedicated to advancing the Sustainable Development Goals. By connecting partners with the resources of the greater U.N., Network USA supports companies that are committed to fully integrating its principles of human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption into their business strategies and operations. To learn more, visit GlobalCompactUSA.org.

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Recognizing World Wetlands Day: Four Steps for Improving Water Resilience

Recognizing World Wetlands Day: Four Steps for Improving Water Resilience

February 2, 2024

With an anticipated 40 per cent shortfall in the world’s water supply and demand by 2030, corporations must take proactive steps to improve water resilience in operational processes and supply chains — and in the communities affected by their operations.

According to the United Nations, global efforts need to quadruple to meet the water and sanitation targets set for 2030 in Sustainable Development Goal 6.

In recognition of World Wetlands Day, the UN Global Compact is urging businesses to commit to Water Resilience: Target 1 of Forward Faster:

Achieve collective positive water impact in at least 100 vulnerable prioritized water basins by 2030.

Taken from our Forward Faster Action Guide, here are four key resources to inform and guide corporate initiatives towards water resilience.


1. Water Action Hub: Navigate through interactive maps of the initial 100 Prioritized Basins and discover potential partners and implementers. This hub serves as a comprehensive resource to identify regions where water resilience efforts can have a significant impact.

2. Partner to enhance collective action: Many companies have harnessed the potential of collaborative actions, acknowledging that multi-stakeholder efforts yield the most profound impact. Learn how collaborating with stakeholders can amplify water resilience initiatives by signing up for Forward Faster.

3. Basins Diagnostic Guide: Gain a deeper understanding of how positive impact at the basin level can be measured. Use this diagnostic guide to assess and prioritize interventions that will have a meaningful and lasting effect on water resilience in specific regions.

4. Set Science-Based Targets for fresh water: In 2024, new guidance will be released by the Science-Based Targets Network (SBTN) on science-based target-setting for fresh water. Evaluate, prioritize and set numeric targets based on science. The SBTN provides a roadmap for companies to assess their impact on fresh water resources and to develop actionable strategies that improve their water footprints.


Right now, more than 2 billion people lack safe drinking water.

By leveraging our Forward Faster resources, your organization can take more ambitious action towards water resilience.

Join us in recognizing World Wetlands Day by committing to Water Resilience: Target 1 and move #ForwardFaster towards a more water-secure, sustainable future.

Learn more.

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Executive Director Update: Q4 2023

Executive Director Update: Q4 2023

January 29, 2024

Happy New Year. I hope the first few days of 2024 bring you renewed hope and vigor as we continue our collective work towards a sustainable and equitable world. Over the last few weeks, I have found myself reflecting on the final quarter of 2023 and all that took place.

Most notably, Network USA joined leaders from around the world at COP28. As many of you are aware, considerable progress has been made by nations in addressing the climate crisis through negotiations in the global stocktake, which will guide countries on their climate actions. Yet the actions of governments alone will not be enough, and this is where the private sector will play a pivotal role. Beyond merely implementing the aspirations discussed at COP28, the private sector has the capacity to drive solutions with increased ambition. As an integral member of both the largest market and corporate sustainability initiative in the world, you are poised to take the lead, propelling the world towards progress forward, faster.

I am pleased to provide a summary of 2023’s fourth quarter activities and work.

Network USA hosted a panel at COP28 with Cheryl Hicks of CEO Water Mandate, Naji Skaf of Xylem, and Steven Bullock of S&P Global


Growth

Network USA welcomed 36 new participants in Q4 2023, boasting 1,130 participants in total, collectively representing over $5 trillion in revenue or approximately 18% of the US GDP. To align with our growing network, our engagement team is enhancing our approach to connect you with opportunities that enable you to become further involved with the UN Global Compact.

US Leadership in Climate Change

As highlighted earlier, COP28 yielded significant progress in the global dialogue on responsible climate and environmental stewardship. It was particularly uplifting to witness the active involvement of the U.S. in shaping these discussions. Network USA hosted a high-level dinner in Dubai, attended by corporate representatives and government officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of State, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, among others. Conversations centered on positioning the U.S. as a trailblazer towards a more promising future.

During COP28, we also offered an exclusive preview of our upcoming whitepaper focused on corporate water stewardship in the U.S. If climate change is the shark, water impacts are its teeth. Given the substantial effect of water-related risks on businesses, this document promises valuable insights into how various industries and companies have approached this increasingly pressing issue.

Network USA moderated a panel at the Private Sector Forum at the 10th Conference of the States Parties


Streamlined Governance for Business Sustainability

Good governance is fundamental to business resilience and longevity. Acknowledging this, the UN Global Compact launched the Call-to-Action for Companies and Governments to Collaborate on Enhancing Governance and Anti-Corruption Efforts, a message prominently conveyed during the Conference of the States Parties (CoSP) 10 in Georgia, where Network USA moderated a panel session on this topic at the event’s Private Sector Forum.

Accelerating Climate Ambitions

We successfully concluded our popular Climate Ambition Accelerator program. Over six months, 58 participants from 29 companies acquired the knowledge and skills to expedite progress towards science-based emissions reduction targets aligned with the 1.5°C pathway, paving the way for net-zero emissions by 2050. Applications for the next Climate Ambition Accelerator round will open in February.

Human Rights and Business

2023 marked the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, serving as a poignant reminder that our efforts to safeguard human rights remain unfinished. This sentiment resonated strongly as we represented US business at the 12th Business & Human Rights Forum in Geneva. Recognizing the potential for businesses to catalyze positive change in their operations, we are steadfast in integrating this focus into our programming initiatives. In February, we will launch our inaugural Business and Human Rights Accelerator, featuring 37 participants from 18 companies.

Network USA staff with US Ambassador to the United Nations for Management and Reform Christopher Lu


Strategic Development

Network USA concluded the development of its new strategy. Our strategy will provide organizational direction in amplifying and expediting our mission of supporting companies that are fully committed to integrating the SDGs and the Ten Principles into their business strategies and operations. Detailed insights into our strategy will be provided in the coming months.

I am proud of the meaningful contributions and accomplishments that define our network, and I recognize the potential to do so much more. Anticipating a year of productivity and meaningful impact in 2024, we stand ready to collaborate with you for shared success.

Thank you for your support and partnership.


Sincerely,

Adam Roy Gordon
Executive Director
UN Global Compact Network USA

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2024 Annual Letter to UN Global Compact Participants from Sanda Ojiambo

2024 Annual Letter to UN Global Compact Participants from Sanda Ojiambo

January 25, 2024

Dear Participants of the UN Global Compact,

Today’s great challenges – climate change, conflict, widening inequalities, socio-economic and geopolitical changes – intensify, while the confluence of social, technological, political and economic megatrends generates unprecedented complexity, uncertainty and disruption.

We face an expanding list of bigger, more critical decisions and equally critical opportunities demanding our attention. The consequences of action, or inaction, are greater than ever.

Over the last few years, I have heard time and again from business leaders seeking to leverage the private sector's strengths to solve problems and drive transformative change. The global, regional and local convenings of the UN Global Compact have provided opportunities for sharing cross-cutting solutions and breakthroughs on diverse challenges, including climate action, renewable energy and living wage.

Innovations and solutions are within reach. Collectively, we must move at a speed, scale and scope that ensures sustainable results for the challenges we face.

Twenty-five years ago, then Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on the private sector to form a global compact for business and bring a human face to the global market. Since then, the Global Compact has grown to a participant base of more than 20,000 companies. Our ambition is to continue on a solid growth and delivery trajectory, especially when the private sector is needed now more than ever.

Shaping Agendas

2023 marked the mid-point of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The setbacks to progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were widely acknowledged. This reality check emphasized the need for all stakeholders—businesses, Governments, civil society and the United Nations—to work harder and smarter together.

In response, the UN Global Compact launched the Forward Faster initiative. This initiative focuses on five key action areas – gender equality, climate action, living wage, finance & investment and water resilience which represent critical multipliers to accelerate progress through private sector actions across all 17 SDGs. It’s a seven-year push to 2030 that all participants should join.

Addressing Critical Issues

Progress on the SDGs is intertwined with the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact—human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption. Throughout 2023, the UN Global Compact and its participants addressed critical issues at key gatherings on these topics, demonstrating that principled and value-based business actions result in real financial and sustainability value for business.

After the 12th UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, which took stock of 75 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we remain committed to equipping companies with tools for ongoing human rights due diligence processes.

Post COP28, clear signals on renewables, adaptation and finance emerged. We are ready to build bridges between business and policymakers revising their climate action plans which should serve as investment roadmaps for the private sector.

Following the 10th session of the Conference of the States Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption, where we co-hosted the gathering’s first Private Sector Forum, we continue our work to stamp out corruption, energized by the support of the 190 Governments that resolved to strengthen business integrity and work with the private sector following our Call-to-Action which was signed by 500 companies.

Looking Ahead

In 2024, the UN Global Compact will continue to serve as a platform for companies to lead, learn, connect, advocate and report. By providing actionable guidance on how to apply the Ten Principles in business operations, our focus will be on accountability, delivery, ambition, and mobilization. This includes a reinvigorated effort to deliver a Communication on Progress platform for participants.

With the establishment of our regional hubs in Abuja, Bangkok, Copenhagen, Dubai and Panama City, we will work closer with participating companies and Global Compact Networks. Looking ahead, we want more businesses, coalitions and partnerships to drive actions at the local and regional scales and scopes needed for transformation.

The Summit of the Future this September will be a once-in-a-generation opportunity to enhance cooperation on critical challenges and address gaps in global governance. It will reaffirm existing commitments, including to the SDGs, and move towards a reinvigorated multilateral system.

We are poised to bring the private sector into important conversations prior to, and during the Summit. Safeguarding the future, addressing short-termism and turbocharging the SDGs are all in the interest of responsible business.

Let’s leverage the power of 20,000 companies together for the private sector-led opportunities that we must seize and advance. I encourage all participants to engage with our global, regional and local platforms and programmes.

Being Part of the UN Global Compact

Being part of the UN Global Compact means advancing the voice of the private sector as a key contributor to the SDGs on global platforms. It means engaging the private sector in key transitions of energy, climate, food systems, education, digital connectivity and jobs. It means building powerful regional platforms to advance regional priorities.

Looking at some of the places where we worked in 2023, it means advancing renewable energy in Europe and business-led biodiversity conservation in the Amazon. It means working across industries to fight gender discrimination and upskill women in the workplace in Sri Lanka and helping SMEs in Ukraine rebuild their businesses despite the ongoing war. It means a public-private partnership for sustainable transport in Nigeria. In the United States, it means harnessing the private sector to ensure that companies and their global supply chains have the resources and support to fully integrate the SDGs and Ten Principles into their operations.

Growing stronger companies and more resilient economies worldwide is what it looks like to be part of the UN Global Compact.

This is a glimpse of the future we all want. In 2024, let’s be brave and more ambitious than ever.

Sincerely,

Sanda Ojiambo

sanda

CEO and Executive Director of the UN Global Compact

Assistant Secretary-General

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Business Leaders Discuss the Future of Responsible Business at the World Economic Forum

Business Leaders Discuss the Future of Responsible Business at the World Economic Forum

January 16, 2024

CEOs and senior UN officials gathered at a meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos convened by the UN Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, to discuss the future of responsible business anchored by the UN Global Compact Ten Principles in human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption.  

The meeting marked 25 years since the UN Global Compact was proposed by then UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan. The findings from the meeting discussions will be used to help shape the agenda for the 2024 UN Summit of the Future and provide UN leadership with a stronger understanding of how to fully engage the private sector in the intergovernmentally negotiated, action-oriented Pact for the Future.

The Summit of the Future is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to enhance cooperation on critical challenges and address gaps in global governance, reaffirm existing commitments including to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the UN Charter, and move towards a reinvigorated multilateral system that is better positioned to positively impact people’s lives. Building on the SDG Summit in 2023, Member States will consider ways to lay the foundations for more effective global cooperation that can deal with today’s challenges as well as new threats in the future.

Major global shocks in recent years – including the COVID-19 pandemic, multiple conflicts, and the triple planetary crisis — have posed risks to business growth and the resilience of the multilateral system. The Global Risks Report 2024 from the World Economic Forum highlighted extreme weather and misinformation as most likely to trigger a global crisis in the next couple of years. In addition the report notes that two-thirds of global experts anticipate a multipolar or fragmented order to take shape over the next decade and that cooperation on urgent global issues could be in short supply, requiring new approaches and solutions.

The latest SDG Progress Report showed that just 15 per cent of the SDG targets are on track, progress on 48 per cent is weak and insufficient and progress has stalled or gone into reverse on 37 per cent of the SDGs.

During the high-level event, business leaders explored how companies can collectively drive progress on the SDGs, manage global shocks and create the partnerships needed to secure a resilient and sustainable future through the UN Global Compact Forward Faster initiative.

Forward Faster calls on business leaders everywhere to take measurable, credible and ambitious action in five areas — gender equality, climate action, living wage, water resilience and finance & investment — that have the power to accelerate progress across all SDGs where the private sector can collectively make the biggest, fastest impact by 2030. In addition, the UN Global Compact is looking at how the private sector can contribute to ensuring the food system limits and better copes with climate change through Forward Faster.

CEOs from the UN Global Compact and Pacific Institute Water Resilience Coalition also met separately at the World Economic Forum to discuss the pivotal role of the private sector in water stewardship.

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Five Ways to Reach Sustainable Finance Targets by 2030

Five Ways to Reach Sustainable Finance Targets by 2030

January 15, 2024

As leaders in business and Government convene in Davos, Switzerland, for the 2024 World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting, sustainable finance and investment are expected to take center stage. The release of the 2024 Global Risk Report from WEF underscores how private sector strategies that directly support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are absolutely critical.

Amidst worsening geopolitical and economic crises, the report forecasts an increase in turbulence over the next 10 years, from climate-related catastrophes to geopolitical tensions.

WEF provides an opportunity for corporate leaders to partner and plan strategies for reaching our sustainable future. Especially as momentum builds ahead of the Pact of the Future and Summit of the Future in September, there is a clear imperative for collaborative strategy building.

Drawing inspiration from the UN Global Compact Forward Faster action guide for Sustainable Finance & Investment, here are five essential strategies to ensure your business reaches sustainable finance targets by 2030.

1. Embrace CFO Principles for SDG investments and finance. Familiarize yourself with UN Global Compact CFO Coalition’s “CFO Principles” that integrate SDG investments and finance. These principles offer a comprehensive framework for aligning financial strategies with sustainable development, ensuring that every financial decision contributes to the SDGs.

2. Establish 2030 targets using benchmarking analysis. Set clear targets for 2030 with intermediate milestones by calculating the relative percentage of SDG-aligned investments in your organization. This approach ensures a strong trajectory towards sustainability, allowing investors and stakeholders to monitor and contextualize progress.

3. Make transparent disclosures of SDG-aligned investments. Demonstrate your commitment to sustainability by publicly disclosing SDG-aligned investments. Include these disclosures in your company's annual report and other key investor communications. Transparency fosters trust and accountability, both of which are key to educating investors on sustainable values.

4. Develop a sustainable financing framework. Establish a sustainable financing framework that precisely outlines how your corporate financing strategy is linked to the SDGs. This framework will guide investors, spelling out the non-negotiable link between financial decisions and sustainable impact.

5. Verify ambitious targets via third parties. Independent verification adds credibility to your sustainability commitments, instilling confidence in investors and stakeholders.

The leaders who succeed are the ones who meet the needs of the future by moving forward.

As we navigate the landscape of global finance, Forward Faster serves as a guide for organizations that want to actualize their commitments with real contributions to the SDGs.

Join the UN Global Compact at Davos as we explore how sustainable finance can drive us towards a future where our businesses and planet prosper together.

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Five Major Wins By the UN Global Compact in 2023

Five Major Wins By the UN Global Compact in 2023

December 21, 2023
New York, NY, United States of America

Reflecting on the past year’s achievements, the UN Global Compact stood at a crossroads in our mission to advance the 2030 Agenda. Amidst pressing geopolitical tensions, climate challenges and social inequities, businesses must make more ambitious strides in 2024. The challenges of the past year underscored the urgent need for businesses to take more credible, accountable action in the year ahead.

We have heard widespread calls for action, accountability and credibility, with more conversations on carbon emissions reduction happening across industries. With the conclusions of COP28 in mind, we celebrate five major successes that showcase our collective impact as the world’s largest sustainability initiative – and the importance of keeping up our important work. Here are some 2023 highlights from the UN Global Compact to build on in 2024:

1. Forward Faster’s growing traction: Launched at the Leaders Summit in September, Forward Faster aims to increase accountability and transparency by calling for companies to publicly declare their commitments and highlight the actions they will undertake to meet their targets. With more and more companies committed to Forward Faster targets, we are driving companies towards our Global Goals with more credibility than ever. As more companies commit to ambitious targets, we will guide them through the inevitable challenges that can come with decisive and meaningful change. Watch the latest Forward Faster video.

2. One Global Compact at COP28: The UN Global Compact demonstrated a unified effort during COP28. Hosting more than 40 events in collaboration with 10 Local Networks, we engaged companies on critical themes, participated in core processes of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and ensured private sector contributions to the first Global Stocktake. By leveraging efforts like Forward Faster and the Africa Business Leaders Coalition (ABLC), we united globally as One Global Compact to gather private sector insights and contributions on climate action.

3. Substantial participant growth: The global participant base of the UN Global Compact has grown by 60 per cent since the launch of the 2021-2023 strategy, exceeding more than 20,000 companies. This means that more than one-third of all participating companies have joined in the last three years. This growth is underscored by the enduring commitment of our participants, with a remarkable 95 per cent retention rate globally. Our expanding network indicates that once companies join, they remain dedicated to our shared goals.

4. Unprecedented global expansion: Since the launch of our 2021-2023 strategy, the UN Global Compact has significantly expanded its regional network, establishing hubs in Abuja, Bangkok, Copenhagen, Dubai and Panama City. With a global footprint spanning 100 countries (far exceeding our initial target), our collaborative efforts feature 62 Local Networks, with 15 new Country Managers poised to support our further expansion.

5. Increase in Academy registrations: In 2023, the UN Global Compact Academy witnessed more than 95,000 course participants reporting a 4.4/5 satisfaction rate. This represents a substantial 260 per cent growth across the platform in 180+ countries. The success of our Academy courses, complemented by the COP28 Debrief session and the 2024 Academy portfolio, highlights our ability to scale impact with digital tools and resources – especially with critical new initiatives like Forward Faster.

As we build momentum towards 2030, the UN Global Compact is poised to help businesses move Forward Faster. Much faster. To paraphrase the vice chair of the UN Global Compact Board Paul Polman at our recent Caring for Climate meeting: “If you are not uncomfortable, you are doing it wrong”.

We are ready to support our participants through their growing pains and celebrate their accomplishments along the way. Join Forward Faster and secure the future of your business, the world’s people and our planet.

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COP28 Recap: Leveraging the Voice and Actions of the US Private Sector

COP28 Recap: Leveraging the Voice and Actions of the US Private Sector

December 15, 2023

COP28 Recap: Leveraging the Voice and Actions of the US Private Sector

The significance of the COP28 meeting in Dubai cannot be overstated, with discussions holding immense implications for the future of our planet.

Several groundbreaking conversations have unfolded during the summit. In a historic move, the opening plenary on the first day of COP28 witnessed the establishment of a loss and damage fund for vulnerable countries impacted heavily by climate change. Governments also decided on the first ever global stocktake at COP28, which “called on” nations to take a variety of actions to reduce emissions.

Amidst the discussions and negotiations among countries at COP28, UN Global Compact Network USA (Network USA) was in Dubai to leverage the voices and actions of the US private sector in developing a roadmap for a livable planet.

This recap offers a glimpse into our endeavors, underscoring the commitment of Network USA to drive positive change and sustainable practices within the private sector.

 A Summary of Network USA Activities

  • US Companies Shine a Spotlight on Corporate Water Stewardship: Network USA organized a thought-provoking panel titled "From Ripples to Waves: How Corporate Water Stewardship Shapes Climate Futures." The panel offered attendees an exclusive glimpse into the case studies, insights, and lessons featured in our forthcoming white paper on water stewardship. Special thanks to our speakers who actively participated in this engaging discussion: Cheryl Hicks, Senior Advisor, CEO Water Mandate (Moderator); Naji Skaf, President of MEIAA, Xylem; and Steven Bullock, Global Head of Research and Methodology, S&P Global.
  • Convening Senior US Government and Corporate Leaders for Climate Action: On December 6, Network USA hosted the U.S. Climate Leaders Salon Dinner at SAL in the Burj Al Arab. The event, attended by federal government officials, US business leaders, UN representatives, and Network USA Board members, provided a unique opportunity for these leaders to gather in an intimate setting. The focus was on fostering a deeper understanding of the public-private partnerships and dialogues needed to advance climate action in the US.

Other highlights

  • Network USA Executive Director Adam Roy Gordon shared insights at a COP28 kickoff event hosted by Johnson Controls at the Museum of the Future. As part of a panel discussion, Adam explored strategies for businesses to overcome obstacles in investing in sustainability.
  • Network USA Board Member Michael Okoroafor, Chief Sustainability Officer of McCormick & Company, offered his perspective on enhancing the role of businesses in addressing climate change during the Caring for Climate session. Michael engaged in discussions alongside UN Global Compact Executive Director & CEO Sanda Ojiambo and Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Climate Action and Just Transition Selwin Hart. Joining Michael in representing Network USA were Board Members Gayle Schueller, Chief Sustainability Officer of 3M, Gavin Power, Chief of Sustainable Development and International Affairs of PIMCO, and Adam Roy Gordon, Executive Director of Network USA.
  • Network USA Board Member Gavin Power, Chief of Sustainable Development and International Affairs at PIMCO, participated in a panel addressing the pivotal role finance plays in shaping a climate-safe future at the SDG Investment Forum. The CFO Coalition hosted this insightful forum at NASDAQ Dubai.

Other private sector news from COP28:

For more on COP28, register for the webinar COP28 Debrief: What's Next for the Private Sector?, which takes place on Monday, December 18 at 9:30 am EST.

Stay informed about our activities and discover opportunities to engage by subscribing to our newsletter.

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Six Practical Actions for Setting and Reaching Living Wage Targets

Six Practical Actions for Setting and Reaching Living Wage Targets

December 13, 2023

With more than one billion working people (a third of the global workforce) struggling to earn enough for a decent standard of living, ensuring a living wage is paramount to our achievement of the 2030 Agenda.

This week, the United Nations Global Compact is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by inviting businesses to join the Forward Faster initiative and commit to Living Wage: Target 1.

By committing to Living Wage: Target 1, your organization is pledging that 100 per cent of employees across your organization earn a living wage by 2030.

Here is a proposed roadmap with practical actions to implement the Forward Faster target on living wage:

1. Understand the concept of the living wage and how it relates to legal or negotiated minimum wages. The living wage concept in business means going beyond legal minimums, ensuring fair compensation for employees. It represents income for basic needs and decent standards of living, contributing to the global movement towards social sustainability and ethical labour practices.

2. Secure endorsement and support of senior leadership to implement the commitment that 100 per cent of employees across the organization earn a living wage by 2030. Senior leadership support for a 100 per cent living wage by 2030 is critical. It signals a top-down commitment to social responsibility, enhancing reputation and attracting socially conscious clients and customers throughout the supply chain and business operations.

3. Identify gaps between current wages paid to direct employees and credible living wage estimates, taking into account geographic locations. Analyzing wage gaps and considering geographic variations ensures a realistic living wage commitment. Tailoring strategies to various regions aligns your organization with greater transitions towards social sustainability while supporting local economic development.

4. Engage with workers and their representatives. The implementation of living wages cannot be developed in a top-down manner without due consultation with workers and their representatives. Trade unions should play a role in wage discussions at enterprise level. Companies need to acknowledge the role of social dialogue in the wage-setting process to ensure that wages and working conditions are influenced by networks of worker representatives, worker committees, enterprise councils and trade unions.

5. Set clear, time-bound targets and develop and implement a clear and transparent strategy and payment process to address wage gaps to achieve your living wage commitment. This involves openly communicating the strategy to address wage gaps. Clarity ensures accountability and helps employees understand the steps being taken to fulfill the commitment. A well-defined strategy, coupled with transparent processes, promotes trust, aligning with the principles of sustainability and demonstrating a commitment to fair compensation practices within the organization.

6. Conduct ongoing monitoring and update wage levels. Have a process in place to regularly review wages and address any instances of payment that are below the cost of living estimates. This process should also ensure that consistent, full and timely payment of wages has been made to all workers.

By implementing these practical measures, your organization can contribute to SDG 8. Join us by committing to Living Wage: Target 1 and move #ForwardFaster towards a more equitable, sustainable and just future.

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UNODC and the UN Global Compact Call for Greater Private Sector Action to Strengthen Business Integrity and Fight Against Corruption

UNODC and the UN Global Compact Call for Greater Private Sector Action to Strengthen Business Integrity and Fight Against Corruption

December 12, 2023

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the United Nations Global Compact called for greater private sector action to strengthen governance and anti-corruption efforts during the tenth session of the Conference of the States Parties (CoSP) today.

CoSP is the largest global anti-corruption gathering and the main policymaking body of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). This is the first year the event has included a Private Sector Forum to advance the global business integrity agenda by taking stock of achievements and challenges in implementing UNCAC and the Tenth Principle of the UN Global Compact.

Corruption is one of the greatest obstacles to economic and social development around the world, and has considerable and costly impacts on the private sector.

Corruption raises transaction costs, undermines fair competition, distorts development priorities, impedes long-term foreign and domestic investment and has a corrosive effect on social solidarity.

The Tenth Principle of the UN Global Compact, underpinned by the UNCAC, was adopted in 2004 and commits participants of the UN Global Compact not only to avoid bribery, extortion and other forms of corruption, but to proactively develop policies and concrete programmes to address corruption internally and within their supply chains. Companies are also challenged to work collectively and join civil society, the UN and Governments to realize a more transparent global economy.

During CoSP, the UN Global Compact presented a Call-to-Action signed by more than 500 companies across the globe urging Governments to underscore anti-corruption and good governance as fundamental pillars of a sustainable and inclusive global economy and embrace them as important tenets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

At the Private Sector Forum, more than 200 participants, including business leaders, chief compliance and legal officers, sustainability, governance and business integrity experts, as well as key stakeholders from the public sector, civil society, academia and international organizations, explored how to commit to business integrity and how that commitment can be assessed by investors, customers and regulators through corporate sustainability reporting. Discussions also centered on addressing challenges posed by corruption in international investment and foreign direct investment, the role of gatekeepers in the global financial system, and realigning companies after corruption scandals.

Overall, the Private Sector Forum contributed to identifying emerging trends, showcasing good practices and highlighting key priorities to enhance corporate governance and tackle corruption in the private sector.

“Fair business practices make it easier for companies to win the trust of investors and consumers. We know that responsible companies are more resilient, contributing to longer-term economic growth and jobs creation,” said UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly. “To make significant progress, companies must address business integrity throughout their operations and supply chains, and in all their interactions with Governments as well as with business partners.”

Speaking about the importance of the private sector in addressing corruption, Sanda Ojiambo, CEO and Executive Director of the UN Global Compact said: “The enormous, ongoing fight against corruption requires targeted, sustained and collective action. At this Private Sector Forum, business leaders and many diverse stakeholders have considered the dangers that corruption presents for companies, economies, and the entire global community. Together, we must champion ethical business practices throughout business operations, including through partners and supply chains, and in the communities we serve. We must remain united against corruption.”

Practical tools were released during the Private Sector Forum to guide business action on integrity:

About the UN Office on Drugs and Crime

UNODC has been delivering projects on business integrity since 2011 and is currently providing support to companies in line with UNCAC. More information is available on the UNODC Business Integrity Portal.

About the UN Global Compact

As a special initiative of the United Nations Secretary-General, the UN Global Compact is a call to companies worldwide to align their operations and strategies with Ten Principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. UNCAC is the underlying instrument of the Tenth Principle of the UN Global Compact, committing businesses to work against corruption in all its forms. With more than 18,000 companies and 3,800 non-business signatories based in over 101 countries, and 62 Local Networks, the UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative — one Global Compact uniting business for a better world.

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Q&A with Katherine Torres on ILO Child Labor Platform: The Role of the US Private Sector

Q&A with Katherine Torres on ILO Child Labor Platform: The Role of the US Private Sector

December 11, 2023

In an era defined by increasingly intricate global supply chains, businesses are confronted with a pressing and urgent issue: child labor. Child labor is a widespread concern, seeping into sectors such as agriculture, automotive, and technology. According to the ILO and UNICEF, nearly one in ten children globally is subjected to child labor, and some are coerced into hazardous work through human trafficking. Failing to address these issues not only gives rise to significant ethical dilemmas but also exposes businesses to escalating risks, including damage to their reputation, legal consequences, and disruptions in their supply chains.

Against this backdrop, the Child Labor Platform (CLP), a leading business initiative created by the International Labor Organization (ILO) to eradicate child labor in supply chains, convenes companies and drives collective private sector action towards achieving Target 8.7 - the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal aimed at eradicating child labor by 2030.

In a recent conversation, the UN Global Compact Network USA interviewed Katherine Torres, Senior Program Officer for Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work in Supply Chains, at the ILO’s CLP. The discussion explored both the role of the private sector in eradicating child labor within supply chains and the available resources to support the private sector in these efforts.

Questions

1. Could you offer insights on the presence of child labor situation, including in the United States, outlining its extent and highlighting notable challenges and emerging patterns you've witnessed in recent years?

Around the world, an estimated 160 million children are working in conditions of child labor, including in the United States. Within global supply chains, child labor largely occurs in upstream production of raw materials and agriculture, which are used as inputs into goods that are exported to countries like the US. This means that child labor often takes place in preceding tiers of the supply chain, and as a result, it is critical that businesses committed to eliminating child labor focus their efforts beyond their immediate suppliers. Due to most of the child labor taking place in the informal and rural sectors, visibility and traceability remains a challenge. Moreover, climate change, inadequate wages, and a lack of decent work opportunities for adults are all factors that increase children’s vulnerability to child labor. 

2. What is the CLP, and how does the CLP support governments, including the U.S. government, promote policies and legislation related to child labor elimination?

The CLP is the leading, cross-sectoral business initiative to eradicate child labor in supply chains. The Platform brings together businesses across industries to share good practices and implement collective solutions to end child labor in supply chains. It works to not only advance change at the global level, but also to tackle the root causes of child labor on the ground through pre-competitive and cross-sectoral interventions. There are currently 24 member companies of the CLP, including major multinationals in the food and beverage, clothing, construction materials, luxury goods, and tech sectors.

The CLP is also a recognized business network of the Alliance 8.7. –a global multi-stakeholder coalition under the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that aims to accelerate timelines and action towards the elimination of child labor and forced labor. Businesses can contribute to the UN SDGs through the CLP’s link to the Alliance 8.7 and by participating in the CLP’s activities and cross-sectoral and in-country initiatives.

3. Could you provide examples of specific tools or guidance materials developed by the CLP that American businesses can utilize to combat child labor in their supply chains?

Companies can make a profound impact not only by remediating child labor, but also by reorienting management systems and rethinking business models to address the root causes of child labor and promote decent work. The CLP secretariat provides members with guidance on how to improve company policies and practices through bilateral consultations. It also organizes regular exchanges for sharing knowledge and tools to tackle the root causes of child labor, including through annual in-person conferences, membership meetings, and webinars. In addition to offering technical consultations to members and connecting companies to ILO expertise around the world, the CLP has developed a range of publicly available resources to assist businesses in understanding, monitoring, and addressing child labor in their supply chains. For example, the ILO-IOE child labour guidance tool for business outlines steps companies can take to improve governance, due diligence, and remediation processes and the brief Vulnerabilities to child labour highlights how climate change, crises, informality, and marginalization faced by indigenous groups can increase the risks of children engaging in child labor.

4. The CLP has established Country Working Groups to support and build on its members' activities and best practices and to identify and implement concrete solutions at the national level cooperatively. Can you elaborate on the role of American companies in advancing cross-sectoral collaboration at the country level through CLP Country Working Groups?

Effectively addressing child labor requires collaboration and a cross-sectoral approach. Through the CLP Country Working Groups for Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and India, businesses have supported collective action and government engagement and connected with ILO projects on the ground.  The ILO’s unparalleled convening power brings companies together with workers, national employers, and governments to collectively address the root causes of the problem. For example, in DRC, companies are supporting the development of the government’s centralized Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System by connecting with suppliers and developing remediation support mechanisms and, in India, members are engaging in a research and capacity-building project to better understand the drivers of child labor in cotton, spices, and agricultural supply chains.

5. How does the CLP work with businesses to conduct impact assessments and measure the effectiveness of child labor elimination efforts in their supply chains?

In 2023, the CLP conducted an analysis on nearly 60 companies’ codes of conduct to determine whether they adequately addressed child labor. This review considered alignment with international standards on child labor as they relate to respect for human rights, prevention, and remedy.  The findings demonstrate that most companies do not have explicit commitments to providing remediation for child labor, including for hazardous child labor. The Platform can work with individual companies or groups of companies to provide training, expertise, and knowledge building on child labor, drawing on the resources, research, and experience in the ILO, and facilitate dialogue with governments and workers’ and employers’ organizations at national and local levels on child labor policy and legislation.

6. What are some success stories or case studies of companies that have actively participated in the CLP and achieved positive results in addressing child labor?

In 2023, ILO, with support for the European Union, the ILO launched the “Ending Child Labour in Supply Chains” project, which will be implemented over the next three years and will benefit from collaboration among UN agencies and supply chain actors at the global, regional, national, and local levels.

Through the CLP, the private sector will play a central role in this project. CLP member companies, including major U.S. brands, will participate directly in the project’s implementation and activities and build on multinationals’ existing due diligence efforts.

With the private sector, the project will promote sustainable solutions to child labor in the coffee sector in Honduras, Uganda, and Vietnam. The project, moreover, will scale up child labor due diligence and responsible sourcing in coffee supply chains at all levels, strengthen social dialogue and small producers’ organizations, and foster synergies between private sector initiatives and those of governments and country-level institutions and actors to address child labor and promote decent work in coffee production.

In addition, in Côte d'Ivoire, US companies are involved in a program to increase access to public health insurance for farmers and their families in the cocoa supply chain. Access to social protection mechanisms like insurance are critical to protect families from economic shocks that can result in increased child labor. So far over 6,000 workers have received coverage under this initiative. Moreover, US companies are collaborating with additional stakeholders to better understand options for remediating hazardous labor conditions for children ages 14-17 by supporting apprentice and technical and vocational training programs.

Separately, a US company participated in a research project designed to better understand child labor conditions in the recycling sector in Mexico. This included implementing a baseline study to identify child labor risks and a discussion with stakeholders to design a plan of action. As a result of this research initiative, the government of Mexico agreed to develop a roadmap to address child labor in the recycling sector, which will be implemented in partnership with the private sector.

Businesses stepping into the realm of combating child labor within supply chains face a complex landscape, but engagement and collaboration are key starting points. To embark on this critical journey, organizations can find valuable resources and guidance through the UN Global Compact Network USA and the Child Labor Platform (CLP).

Together, by leveraging available resources and engaging in collective initiatives, businesses can play a pivotal role in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal to eliminate child labor by 2030.

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CFOs Respond to the Call for Greater Private Sector Investment in Climate Action at COP28

CFOs Respond to the Call for Greater Private Sector Investment in Climate Action at COP28

December 5, 2023

Today, during the SDG Investment Forum at COP28, the UN Global Compact CFO Coalition for the SDGs demonstrated the importance of corporate investments and financing for climate action, effectively heeding increasingly louder calls for greater private sector investment. Corporations are expected to be the largest direct investors in climate change mitigation, accounting for roughly one-third of the total investment needed between now and 2050, which some estimate could amount to US$ 275 trillion.

The SDG Investment Forum, organised in partnership with the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchange (UN SSE), the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) and the Global Investors for Sustainable Development (GISD) Alliance brought together CFOs, sustainability experts and investors to exchange views on how corporate investments and finance can best contribute to tackling the climate crisis.

A new report released by the CFO Coalition for the SDGs, Corporate Investments to Achieve Climate Ambitions, highlights the outsized role of the private sector - and corporations in particular – in the US$9 trillion a year in capital spending needed until 2050 to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. Corporations are the main direct investors in the infrastructure and technology that will underpin low-carbon growth in many sectors of the economy, including power, industrials, agriculture, buildings and mobility.

Speaking during the event, Sanda Ojiambo, CEO and Executive Direct of the UN Global Compact said:

“Climate change is impacting virtually every industry and region of the world. Private climate financing must play a pivotal role as emerging markets and developing economies seek to curb greenhouse gas emissions and contain climate change while coping with its effects. For this to happen we must ensure companies – in the UN Global Compact and beyond – make the necessary investments and that investors and governments create necessary and appropriate incentives.”

In response to the growing urgency for collective action to combat climate change, the CFO Coalition for the SDGs aims to create a $10 trillion market for SDG-directed finance by 2030. The 70 CFOs who are part of the CFO Leadership Group have already committed to collectively invest more than $500 billion by 2025 in support of the SDGs.

An Ernst & Young survey found that 69% of companies who undertake climate-smart investment strategies have been positively surprised by the financial value of climate investments with corporate climate leaders 2.4 times more likely to experience significantly higher returns on climate investments than expected.

The CFO Coalition for the SDGs has developed guidance and resources to support governments in building a bridge between climate ambition and SDG investment and finance, two of the five areas of the Forward Faster initiative. The Forward Faster initiative aims to mobilize private sector action where it can collectively make the biggest, fastest impact by 2030, focusing on gender equality, climate action, living wage, water resilience and finance and investments.

Notes to Editors

About the UN Global Compact

As a special initiative of the United Nations Secretary-General, the UN Global Compact is a call to companies worldwide to align their operations and strategies with Ten Principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Our ambition is to accelerate and scale the global collective impact of business by upholding the Ten Principles and delivering the Sustainable Development Goals through accountable companies and ecosystems that enable change. With more than 18,000 companies and 3,800 non-business signatories based in over 101 countries, and 62 Local Networks, the UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative — one Global Compact uniting business for a better world.

About the CFO Coalition for the SDGs

The CFO Coalition for the SDGs is a platform where global CFOs and other corporate officers can collaborate with peers, investors, financial institutions and UN agencies to develop principles, frameworks and recommendations to integrate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in corporate finance and create a market for mainstream SDG investments. For more information please visit cfocoalition.org

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New framework for developing just and inclusive maritime green corridors that create opportunities for both people and countries

New framework for developing just and inclusive maritime green corridors that create opportunities for both people and countries

December 4, 2023

Transitioning away from fossil fuels must include careful effort to avoid perpetuating the injustices present in today’s global economy, and instead ensure a just and equitable transition. A new report "Tides of Change: A Framework for Developing Just and Inclusive Maritime Green Corridors" co-created by the UN Global Compact, the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, and the Sustainable Shipping Initiative outlines the necessary considerations and actions required from companies and governments involved in establishing green shipping corridors around the world.

Recommendations made in the report for a just and equitable transition towards net zero include:

  • Ensuring green corridors leverage wider transition aims regionally/locally including improved access to clean energy, the development of decent, sustainable jobs, a diverse and inclusive workforce and capacity building but also improved air quality and preservation of biodiversity and ecosystems regionally.
  • Creating decent, sustainable jobs and workforce up-skilling. In the process of establishing green corridors, stakeholders can test and demonstrate how to conduct inclusive social dialogue with affected groups.
  • Advocating for strengthening institutional and regulatory frameworks that promote inclusion and protection of the most affected stakeholders.

On the launch of the new joint report, Sanda Ojiambo, CEO and Executive Director of the UN Global Compact said:

“Putting the technologies in place to produce zero emissions fuels for use in the shipping industry will require a complex and coordinated effort across multiple industries and governments. Green corridors will help create the necessary enabling environment between the private and public sector to bring such initiatives to scale. This paper aims to encourage engagement with civil society organizations and communities, ensuring a human-centered approach to the development of green corridors.”

CEO of the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, Bo Cerup Simonsen says:

“We need the green corridors to not only demonstrate technical feasibility and regulatory compliance but also address the socio-economic dimensions comprehensively. The right approach can help us better understand and leverage the wider potential, nurture inclusive growth, create green, decent jobs, and enhance social dialogue for a future that honors both our planet and its people."

Sustainable Shipping Initiative CEO Steven Jones says:
“Shipping’s actions today are building the foundation for a resilient industry tomorrow. In order to do so, we need to ensure that shipping’s decarbonization is sustainable-environmentally, socially and socioeconomically. By taking concrete steps to incorporate principles of fair labor practices, community engagement, and inclusivity, green corridor consortia can play a key role in establishing a sustainable shipping sector that is decarbonized, just, and equitable.”

To see the full report please go to www.zerocarbonshipping.com/publications

Notes to Editors

What are just green shipping corridors?

Green corridors demonstrate the technical and regulatory feasibility of zero emission shipping with the involvement of stakeholders across the value chain. In the course of the transition away from fossil fuels, careful effort must be made to avoid perpetuating the injustices present in today’s global economy, and instead ensure a just and equitable transition. Because they are closed systems, green corridors can also be used to better understand and leverage the potential social and socio-economic benefits associated with the transition away from fossil fuels, as well as understand and mitigate potential risks and trade-offs.

About the UN Global Compact

As a special initiative of the United Nations Secretary-General, the UN Global Compact is a call to companies worldwide to align their operations and strategies with Ten Principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Our ambition is to accelerate and scale the global collective impact of business by upholding the Ten Principles and delivering the Sustainable Development Goals through accountable companies and ecosystems that enable change. With more than 18,000 companies and 3,800 non-business signatories based in more than 160 countries, and 62 Local Networks, the UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative — one Global Compact uniting business for a better world. The Ocean Stewardship Coalition is a convening point at the UN Global Compact for ocean related industries, academic institutions, financial actors, governments and UN institutions. For more information, visit our website at unglobalcompact.org.

UNGC Media Contact: Alex Gee, gee@unglobalcompact.org

About the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping

The Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping (MMMCZCS) is an independent, not-for-profit research and development center established in 2020 with funding from the A.P. Moller Foundation. Our purpose is to guide and accelerate decarbonization of the global maritime industry.  Working with our partners, governments, authorities, public sector bodies, scientists, and organizations across the global maritime industry we aim to inform, de-risk decision-making, and spark real climate action.  Strategic Partners to the Center include: Alfa Laval, American Bureau of Shipping, A.P. Moller - Maersk, bp, Cargill, CF Industries, Equinor, DP World, Hapag-Lloyd, MAN Energy Solutions, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsui, NORDEN, NYK Line, Rio Tinto, Royal Caribbean Group, Seaspan Corporation, Siemens Energy, Stolt Tankers, Sumitomo Corporation, Swire Group, Topsoe, TotalEnergies and V.Group. For more information, please visit www.zerocarbonshipping.com  

Center Media Contact: Anders Kongstad, Media & Digital Partner | +45 535 04 179 | anders.kongstad@zerocarbonshipping.com  

About the The Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI)
The Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI) is a multi-stakeholder collective of ambitious and like-minded leaders, driving change through cross-sectoral collaboration to contribute to – and thrive in – a more sustainable maritime industry. Spanning the entire shipping value chain, SSI members are shipowners and charterers; ports; shipyards; marine product, equipment and service providers; banks, ship finance and insurance providers; classification societies; and sustainability non-profits.Guided by the Roadmap to a sustainable shipping industry, SSI works on a range of issues related to enabling and furthering sustainable shipping, including shipping’s decarbonisation, and seafarers’ labour and human rights. For more information, please visit  www.sustainableshipping.org

SSI Media contact: Elizabeth Petit González, Head of Partnerships and Communications, e.petit@sustainableshipping.org

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Leading CEOs call for Greater Private Sector Action on Nature and Biodiversity and a Just Transition at COP28

Leading CEOs call for Greater Private Sector Action on Nature and Biodiversity and a Just Transition at COP28

December 4, 2023

The UN Global Compact, together with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and UN Climate Change (UNFCCC), brought together senior executives of business, industry, finance, civil society, the United Nations and Government at the 11th High-Level Meeting of Caring for Climate at COP28. Those present discussed how to accelerate private sector action on nature and biodiversity and on the impediments and opportunities for business action towards a Just Energy Transition.

For a liveable planet, it is imperative to cut emissions and deliver climate justice in line with the UN Secretary-General's Acceleration Agenda, whilst fulfilling the Global Biodiversity Framework.

Sanda Ojiambo, CEO and Executive Director of the UN Global Compact said “Today, nearly 1 million species are at risk of extinction, and the world’s largest ecosystems, including the Amazon rainforest and major coral reefs and wetlands, are reaching tipping points. But at the same time, we have seen first-hand how the business community has the potential to help drive progress on protecting and restoring biodiversity. In fact, companies are learning that they can’t afford to be left behind – 395 million new jobs and over $10 trillion dollars in business opportunities are expected to arise from nature-positive transitions.”

Biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse now rank among the top 5 business risks. The Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) sets a clear path to a world living in harmony with nature by 2050, with specific expectations for business.

During the meeting, the UN Global Compact, in partnership with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Center, launched the UN Global Compact Think Lab on Biodiversity and Nature to showcase holistic approaches for business to deliver strong corporate thought leadership and policy recommendations in the lead up to the Biodiversity COP16 and Climate COP29. The Think Lab will assist UN Global Compact participants to:

  • Define the narrative, ambition and key recommendations of the UN Global Compact to business and policymakers on nature and biodiversity.
  • Provide clarity through mapping existing initiatives, key resources and tools and identify current best practices, key challenges and policy needs linked to corporate nature and biodiversity action to prepare and mobilize companies to submit nature strategies by COP16.
  • Shape business thought leadership and provide innovative solutions and guidance on critical areas linked to nature and biodiversity, such as the human rights-nature nexus.
  • Increase the uptake of learnings and deliverables across sectors and regions through the development of academy sessions, peer-learning groups and accelerators.

The Think Lab will assist companies in transforming their business models, starting with assessing their impacts and dependencies on nature, and implementing credible nature strategies that will provide co-benefits for climate, biodiversity and society. This transformation could create $10.1 trillion of annual business opportunities and 395 million jobs by 2030.

Inger Andersen, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme; Selwin Hart, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Climate Action and Just Transition, United Nations; Matt Jones, Chief Impact Officer, UNEP-WCMC; Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, South Africa CEO, Naspers; JorgeLopez-Doriga, Chief Communications and Sustainability Officer, AJE Group; Mitchell New, Group General Counsel and Chairman of AIA International, AIA Group; Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Chairman, Schneider Electric and, Daniele Violetti, Senior Director, Programmes Coordination, UN Climate Change (UNFCCC) also spoke during the event.

Notes to Editors

About the UN Global Compact

As a special initiative of the United Nations Secretary-General, the UN Global Compact is a call to companies worldwide to align their operations and strategies with Ten Principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Our ambition is to accelerate and scale the global collective impact of business by upholding the Ten Principles and delivering the Sustainable Development Goals through accountable companies and ecosystems that enable change. With more than 18,000 companies and 3,800 non-business signatories based in over 101 countries, and 62 Local Networks, the UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative — one Global Compact uniting business for a better world. For more information, follow @globalcompact on social media and visit our website at unglobalcompact.org

About Caring for Climate

Launched in 2007, Caring for Climate is a partnership of the UN Global Compact, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and UN Climate Change (UNFCCC) to advance the role of business in addressing climate change. It provides a framework for business leaders to implement practical climate change solutions and help shape public policy. It has evolved from a commitment to a space for dialogue at the UN Climate Change Conferences, leveraging CEO’s voices in support of the UN Secretary-General’s priorities.

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Q&A on Gender Equality with Akanksha Halbe of Organon

Q&A on Gender Equality with Akanksha Halbe of Organon

November 30, 2023

Women are under represented across the private sector, despite the benefits achieving gender equality has on business.

Research shows that investing in women and girls can increase productivity, organizational effectiveness, return on investment, and higher consumer satisfaction. In fact, companies with the highest proportion of female employees had annual returns of 2.8 percentage points higher than the least diverse firms.

As more US companies set corporate targets for women’s representation and leadership, there are opportunities to deepen the implementation of the Women’s Empowerment Principles and strengthen their contribution to Sustainable Development Goal 5.5.

To understand what this looks like in practice, UNGC Network USA (Network USA) spoke with Akanksha Halbe, Associate Director, Corporate Responsibility &ESG, of Organon, to learn how the company prioritizes gender equality in all aspects of its business.

Akanksha participated in Network USA’s Target Gender Equality Accelerator in 2022 and, since then, joined a roundtable discussion facilitated by the UN Global Compact during the Convention on the Status of Women (CSW) at the UN Headquarters in New York.

 

Q&A

Organon has focused on achieving gender parity at every level of the organization. Can you discuss these goals and the steps you take to achieve them?

Being a new company, Organon had the unique opportunity to set the leadership at the board level. More than two-thirds (69%) of the directors at OGN are women. The board took an active role in overseeing the development of the company’s Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) strategy from the beginning. We set gender-specific goals as part of the ESG strategy.

One of the goals stated in our first ESG report published in June 2022 includes achieving balanced gender representation through all levels of the company globally by 2030. To reach this goal, we strive to maintain our current global gender balance while increasing the number of women in mid-to-senior leadership roles where and to the extent permitted by law. In 2022, our female representation in roles at director-level and above increased from 43.45% in 2021 to 46.70%.

In support of our gender parity goal, in 2022, we became a signatory for the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles, which aim to advance gender equality. We participated in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index, garnering a high score for brand and equality. We participated in McKinsey & Company’s Women in the Workplace report, the largest study of women in corporate America. We obtained the Equidad MX certification from the Human Rights Campaign, demonstrating our commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusion in Mexico. In 2023, we intend to expand our women’s leadership development curriculum and continue to evolve our learning programs to promote leadership among all employees.

 

After participating in Target Gender Equality Accelerator, Organon participants said the program helped them get out of their “echo chamber.” Can you expand on this and explain how the program impacted the direction of your work at Organon?

Our participation in the Target Gender Equality Accelerator program gave us the opportunity to engage with other industry players who had similar or different approaches from ours towards meeting their gender focused ESG goals. The course modules and the cohort of industry partners helped us to test our thinking and approach as a new company, explore certain gender related topics in depth, and discuss best practices and lessons learned in a safe and trusted environment. The global and local nature of the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles enabled us to endorse these principles at the corporate level as well as make it possible for local markets to highlight this commitment and engage stakeholders and communities within their own region.

 

What were some challenges in implementing your gender equality plan, and how did you work around them?

We recognize that diversity looks different around the world, so we recently launched a Global Diversity Council made up of business leaders from our locations worldwide who will help differentiate our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging strategy at the local level.

 

Why was it so important to Organon that it creates a culture of inclusivity, especially when addressing gender-specific issues?

At Organon, our vision is to create a better and healthier every day for every woman. Her promise is our purpose. That’s why we are working with partners around the world to introduce health solutions that help women and girls achieve their promise through better health. By addressing gender-related disparities in health, we build a more sustainable future for women, families, economies, and society. Our purpose is inextricably linked to our business strategy, where we seek to accelerate innovation and introduce and expand access to health options that help secure her promise and her equitable place in the world.

 

What advice do you have for companies working to operationalize their gender equality plans?

I would encourage companies to start by looking at their existing data and identify opportunities to improve performance. Identifying key priorities and levers you can pull to put your plan into action can help you progress towards your commitments toward gender equality. I would also recommend companies to endorse the UN Women Empowerment Principles (WEPs) to show commitment and advocate for gender equality within and outside the company.

 

What advice do you have for new participants of the UN Global Compact?

My advice to new participants of the UN Global Compact would be to engage in the programs and activities run by the UN Global Compact such as the Target Gender Equality Accelerator program. This engagement can serve as an entry point for companies to learn and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and ensure continuous advancement on gender equality as part of the company’s overall ESG strategy.

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Five Fundamental Business Actions to Improve Water Resilience

Five Fundamental Business Actions to Improve Water Resilience

November 20, 2023

Only 15 percent of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are on track for 2030. According to the United Nations, global efforts would need to quadruple to meet the water and sanitation targets set for 2030 through SDG 6.

It’s estimated there will be a 40 percent gap between available water and demand for water by 2030. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) may be reduced by up to six per cent in some regions by 2050 as a result of water risks.

The private sector must take ambitious action to ensure a safe and equitable future for all. Forward Faster guides companies on how and where they can make the biggest, fastest impact before 2030 across five key areas: Gender Equality, Climate Action, Living Wage, Water Resilience and Finance & Investment.

An essential aspect of Forward Faster's mission is to achieve collective positive water impact in a minimum of 100 vulnerable water basins by the year 2030. Forward Faster has set a target of achieving collective positive water impact in at least 100 vulnerable water basins by 2030. Read on for five fundamental steps from the Moving Water Resilience Forward Faster action guide that can help companies conserve our most precious resource.

  1. Implementing water-related standards. Companies should familiarize themselves with industry regulations and global standards for water usage and conservation. By adhering to these guidelines, businesses can minimize their environmental impact, curtail waste and ensure compliance with the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) International Water Stewardship Standard.
  2. Integrating science into target-setting practices. Between 2023 and 2024, new guidance will be released by the Science-Based Targets Network (SBTN) on science-based target-setting for fresh water. It is critical that companies stay updated on these advancements, evaluating their water targets accordingly. Though some additional time may be needed to implement these new standards, the use of science-specific data is vital to setting achievable goals.
  3. Implementing best practices in water efficiency and wastewater management. Efficient wastewater management is a cornerstone of water resilience. Companies should adhere to best practices in water efficiency and optimize their business operations to decrease water consumption. Wastewater management is equally important and companies should ensure their wastewater is treated and processed safely and sustainably.
  4. Implementing proven technologies for water reuse, recycling and circularity. Companies can play a pivotal role in driving innovation by adopting new, proven technologies for water reuse, recycling and circularity. These approaches can reduce strain on ecosystems and economies, while preventing unnecessary business expenditures.
  5. Ensuring safe, resilient access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). Businesses should provide safe and resilient access to WASH for their employees and throughout supply chains. By doing so, companies support a healthy and productive workforce and contribute to the broader Global Goal of providing access to clean and sanitary water for all.

Incorporating these five actions into your business operations is about forward thinking, doing and leading. Join Forward Faster and your business will help bring us closer to achieving our Global Goals and set new and needed precedents for innovation and technology.

History has taught us that the leaders who succeed are the ones who meet the needs of the future by moving forward. Let’s move #ForwardFaster.

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Speeding Ahead: Five Ways for Companies to Move Forward Faster

Speeding Ahead: Five Ways for Companies to Move Forward Faster

October 24, 2023

We are halfway to 2030, but we are nowhere near halfway to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out in the 2030 Agenda. To secure a safer planet and future for all, businesses must accelerate their sustainability journeys, but they do not have to do it alone.

By guiding companies on where to make the biggest, fastest impacts, Forward Faster provides the roadmap to a sustainable future, with practical and effective action guides across five key areas: Gender Equality, Climate Action, Living Wage, Water Resilience and Finance & Investment.

To help familiarize you with the initiative, we have highlighted one practical action item from each guide to help get your company moving forward, faster.

Gender Equality: Secure top-level support

  • Forward Faster’s Gender Equality Action Guide recommends signing the Women's Empowerment Principles and committing to the seven outlined principles across the workplace, marketplace and community. By doing so, your company can play a pivotal role in promoting gender equality. Start by securing top-level support within your company, as this commitment should flow from top leadership down.

Climate Action: Review existing sector-specific guidance and projects

  • To combat climate change effectively, your company must understand how its operations affect and are affected by the industry it belongs to. Reviewing existing Sector-Specific Guidance and Projects will help you gather information relevant to your company’s needs. By doing so, you can identify precise actions that will reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Living Wage: Engage in meaningful discussions

  • Have candid discussions with employees and their representatives to determine whether company wages and supply chain operations support living wage expectations. Prioritize fair compensation to enhance the well-being of your employees and support a more equitable society.

Water Resilience: Harness the power of the internet

  • Use the Water Action Hub to map water basins where your company operates or has significant interest. By internally disclosing this information to the CEO Water Mandate Secretariat, an initiative of the UN Global Compact in partnership with the Pacific Institute, you can help coordinate action to ensure the responsible use and conservation of this critical resource.

Finance & Investment: Commit to sustainable finance

  • The world will need to spend between $US 3-5 trillion annually to meet the 2030 Agenda. Join the Advanced Group of the CFO COALITION FOR THE SDGS, where you can access valuable resources and network with peer CFOs who are embracing the sustainability transition. By aligning your financial strategies with the SDGs, you can drive positive impact while positioning your company for lasting success and innovation in a changing world.

Incorporating these actions into your business operations is not just about being sustainable—it's about being a forward thinker, doer and leader. By making these changes, your company can lead the charge towards a more equitable, resilient and sustainable world.

History has taught us that the leaders who succeed are the ones who meet the needs of the future by moving forward. To achieve the SDGs by 2030, we need forward thinkers, doers, builders, changers, movers, leaders. Because right now, only 15% of the SDGs are on track for 2030. We must be more ambitious. Don’t fall behind the times. Join Forward Faster and take action today.

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UN Global Compact Launches Call-to-Action for Companies and Governments to Work Together on Strengthening Governance and Anti-Corruption Efforts

UN Global Compact Launches Call-to-Action for Companies and Governments to Work Together on Strengthening Governance and Anti-Corruption Efforts

October 19, 2023

The UN Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, today launched a Call-to-Action from the private sector to Governments to intensify efforts to tackle corruption affecting business communities around the world.

The Call-to-Action urges Governments to underscore anti-corruption and good governance as fundamental pillars of a sustainable and inclusive global economy and embrace them as important tenets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Corruption is one of the greatest obstacles to economic and social development around the world. Corruption has considerable and costly impacts on the private sector, including on both companies and people. It raises transaction costs, undermines fair competition, distorts development priorities, impedes long-term foreign and domestic investment, and has a corrosive effect on social solidarity.

The Tenth Principle of the UN Global Compact, underpinned by the UN Convention against Corruption, was adopted in 2004 and commits UN Global Compact participants not only to avoid bribery, extortion and other forms of corruption, but also to proactively develop policies and concrete programs to address corruption internally and within their supply chains. Companies are also challenged to work collectively and join civil society, the UN and Governments to realize a more transparent global economy.

In signing the Call-to-Action, companies will be publicly listed as signatories asking Governments to:

  1. Effectively implement the tenets of the UN Convention against Corruption to level the playing field, taking into account the diversity of contexts and the challenges faced by the business community worldwide. On that basis, strengthen policies, legal frameworks and mechanisms to incentivize business integrity in companies along the supply chain and to tackle impunity by detecting and sanctioning wrongdoing.
  2. Government decision-making processes, especially for investments and public procurement, increase the use of corporate sustainability criteria in order to advance SDG-focused business integrity. In public-private interactions, strive for greater transparency, including in the management of conflicts of interest and through the prevention of undue influence.
  3. Foster a Collective Action approach to strengthen governance and anti-corruption by means of public-private partnerships, dialogue and the engagement of all relevant actors to generate inclusive and innovative solutions for the broader benefit of people and the planet.
  4. Leverage information and communication technology (ICT) along with artificial intelligence to address corruption risks and make evidence-based decisions while strengthening oversight and transparency. To boost accountability, encourage the use of ICT to monitor, evaluate and report governance and anti-corruption efforts undertaken by the public and private sectors.
  5. Promote the principles of ethical leadership in education by instilling skills that nurture the minds of future business leaders, ensuring their commitment to standards of fairness and integrity in the workplace of tomorrow.

The Call-to-Action from Business to Governments on the 20th Anniversary of the United Nations Convention against Corruption was developed during the session Uniting Leaders for Business Integrity at the 2023 UN Global Compact Leaders Summit, in New York.  The Call-to-Action will be presented at the tenth session of the Conference of the States Parties (CoSP10) to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), to be held from December 11th to 15th, 2023 in Atlanta, USA.

To learn more and for FAQ, please visit here.

Sign the Call-to-Action Today.

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US Business Leaders Convene at SDG Summit USA for Collective Action on Global Goals

US Business Leaders Convene at SDG Summit USA for Collective Action on Global Goals

September 25, 2023

New York, NY September 25, 2023 – Over 200 senior leaders of US businesses, the United Nations Global Compact, local government, civil society, and the UN attended the 2023 SDG Summit USA to raise awareness and promote practical business action and partnerships within the American private sector in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The event, which took place during the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, was organized by the UN Global Compact Network USA, the American Chapter of the United Nations Global Compact.

SDG Summit USA highlighted opportunities for US businesses to amplify their impact and establish leadership in propelling the SDGs forward.

“Governments provide the framework for progress, but markets drive change. And change cannot happen without the US,” Adam Roy Gordon, Executive Director of UN Global Compact Network USA, said in his welcome remarks. He acknowledged that the world could benefit from the US’s involvement and influence in global progress because “the US has a proven track record of leadership, innovation, technological advancement, and effective action.”

In his Opening Remarks, Paul Polman, Vice-Chair of the UN Global Compact Board of Directors and former CEO of Unilever, said, “Increasingly, we do see that those who embrace the SDGs tend to get rewarded.” He noted that this commitment helps businesses attract talent, reduce costs, enhance relationships with stakeholders, drive innovation, and better position companies for a future everyone aspires to.        

At SDG Summit USA, UN Global Compact Network USA also recognized its local SDG Pioneer winners, Cristina Villalón, Co-Founder and Managing Principal of Álvarez-Díaz & Villalón, and Raven Adams, Sustainability Manager at Granite Construction. SDG Pioneers are recognized business leaders championing the SDGs and inspiring others to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

UN Global Compact Network USA was honored to have US Ambassador to the United Nations for Management and Reform Christopher Lu present the awards to the winners.

"As we've learned from our collective efforts to address climate change, we need everyone at the table – national governments, local governments, nonprofits, foundations, and especially the private sector. And here in the US, our private sector is one of our greatest comparative advantages in addressing global demands," said Ambassador Lu. "We in the US Mission are fully committed to increasing this private sector engagement and highlighting the great work businesses are doing on the SDGs.”

While progress has been made, 70% of the SDGs are stagnating or regressing in the US. The United Nations Global Compact-Accenture Global Private Sector Stock Take report, which surveyed over 2,800 business leaders from around the world, showed the vast majority (94%) of business leaders still view the SDGs as a unifying global vision. Still, to achieve them, the private sector must focus on the areas where they can have the most impact.

To respond to this call, the UN Global Compact has launched Forward Faster, a new initiative to accelerate private sector action at the pace and scale needed to deliver on 17 SDGs and meet the 2030 Agenda.

Speaking to business leaders earlier that week, Sanda Ojiambo, CEO and Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, said, "Time is running out to create the positive change the world so desperately needs. We must all join forces to create a more prosperous and resilient global community. We must move forward faster."

Ms. Ojiambo offered the closing remarks at SDG Summit USA during a fireside chat with Mr. Gordon and Michael Okoroafor, Chief Sustainability Officer of McCormick & Company and UN Global Compact Network USA Board Member. During her address, Ms. Ojiambo encouraged attendees to establish ambitious targets and expedite their efforts in achieving the SDGs.

The 2023 SDG Summit USA took place at the Accenture office in New York, NY. UN Global Compact Network USA would like to thank its Co-presenting Sponsor, Accenture, and its supporting partners, Geomatica, Plus Media, and Sustain.life for their support.

About Global Compact Network USA

Global Compact Network USA (Network USA) is the US Chapter of the United Nations Global Compact, the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world. Network USA is a powerful network of companies and stakeholders dedicated to advancing the Sustainable Development Goals. By connecting partners with the resources of the greater UN, Network USA supports companies that are committed to fully integrating its principles of human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption into their business strategies and operations. To learn more, visit GlobalCompactUSA.org.

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Landmark Tool Supports Meat Sector Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets

Landmark Tool Supports Meat Sector Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets

September 19, 2023

WASHINGTON, DC – A new tool released jointly today by the North American Meat Institute (Meat Institute) and the United Nations Global Compact Network USA (the U.S. chapter of the United Nations Global Compact) will aid meat companies of all sizes in measuring greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – advancing the Meat Institute’s aim for 100% of its members to set science-based GHG reduction targets in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.

The tool was developed through Meat Institute member participation in the UN Global Compact Network USA’s Climate Ambition Accelerator program, a six-month program designed to equip companies with the knowledge and skills to path toward achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

The tool uses real-life data methodologies and structural details (with data randomized and company details anonymized) to provide a concrete example that takes readers from defining a company’s operational and organizational boundaries through understanding and measuring its direct, indirect, and value chain emissions (scope 1, 2, and 3).

Network USA Executive Director Adam Roy Gordon applauded the new tool and called for further public-private partnership to advance global goals:

“Ambitious business leaders recognize that taking climate action goes hand in hand with building prosperous communities, businesses and economies. Developing and disseminating resources that share technical expertise is key to empowering businesses to fulfill meaningful emissions reductions at scale.”

Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts added:

“Sustaining meat for generations to come requires not only clear vision but also a concrete commitment to developing practical resources, like the GHG inventory tool, that help companies of all sizes implement best practices sector-wide.  
"The GHG inventory tool is a major step toward achieving the Meat Institute’s Protein PACT targets, which advance continuous improvement in the sector and sustainability of all kinds - environmental, economic, and social.”

Directly citing GHG Protocol and other relevant international standards, the tool defines key terms, details data collection and science-based calculation methodologies, provides alternative calculation methods, and shares other resources that might be of assistance to companies conducting GHG inventories.

To view the new guidance tool, click here.

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Forward Faster Initiative to Accelerate Private Sector Action to Reach SDGs

Forward Faster Initiative to Accelerate Private Sector Action to Reach SDGs

September 18, 2023

The United Nations Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, launched Forward Faster today to accelerate private sector action at the pace and scale needed to deliver on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and meet the 2030 Agenda. Forward Faster calls on business leaders everywhere to take measurable, credible and ambitious action in five areas — gender equality, climate action, living wage, water resilience and finance & investment — that have the power to accelerate progress across all SDGs where the private sector can collectively make the biggest, fastest impact by 2030.

The SDG Progress Report released earlier this year by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, showed that just 15 percent of the Sustainable Development Goal targets are on track, progress on 48 percent is weak and insufficient and progress has stalled or gone into reverse on 37 percent of the SDGs.

Speaking about the new initiative, Sanda Ojiambo, CEO and Executive Director of the UN Global Compact said:

“Now more than ever companies are taking action on sustainability, but there's still not enough progress towards meeting the 2030 Agenda. Companies must be more ambitious and put words into action. Forward Faster is here to guide companies on where they can make the biggest, fastest impact for 2030.”

Companies who sign up to the initiative, will be asked to commit to nine targets — at least one of the selected targets from the five action areas in:

Gender Equality

  • Equal representation, participation and leadership across all levels of management by 2030.
  • Equal pay for work of equal value by 2030.

Climate Action

  • Set corporate science-based net-zero emissions reductions targets in line with a 1.5°C pathway, with the goal of halving global emissions by 2030 and reaching net-zero by 2050 at the latest.
  • Contribute to a just transition by taking concrete actions that address social impacts of climate change mitigation and adaptation measures in partnership with actors such as workers, unions, communities and suppliers.

Living Wage

  • 100 percent of employees across the organization earn a living wage by 2030.
  • Establish a joint action plan(s) with contractors, supply chain partners and other key stakeholders to work towards achieving living wages and/or living incomes with measurable and time-bound milestones.

Water Resilience

  • Build water resilience across global operations and supply chains and join hands to achieve collective positive water impact in at least 100 vulnerable prioritized water basins by 2030.

Finance & Investment

  • Align corporate investment — to the fullest extent possible — with SDG policies and strategies, and set targets, track and report on the amount and proportion of such SDG investments.
  • More than 130 companies are already taking action amongst the five action areas, and the list of companies committed to Forward Faster is expected to increase significantly. More than 20 organizations agreed to serve as supporters across the different action areas of the initiative.

To learn more about Forward Faster please visit https://forwardfaster.unglobalcompact.org/home.

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Private Sector Needs to Further Accelerate Action on Sustainable Development Goals as the Halfway Point to 2030 Passes

Private Sector Needs to Further Accelerate Action on Sustainable Development Goals as the Halfway Point to 2030 Passes

September 15, 2023

New report from the United Nations Global Compact and Accenture finds collaborative and credible business action supported by policymakers, in line with the SDGs where they can have the most impact, is needed to achieve the 2030 Agenda.

UNITED NATIONS, New York; Sept. 15, 2023 – The vast majority (94%)of business leaders still view the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a unifying global vision but achieving them requires the private sector to focus on the areas where they can have the most impact, according to new research from the UN Global Compact and Accenture (NYSE: ACN).

Released at the midpoint to 2030,the United Nations Global Compact-Accenture Global Private Sector Stocktake report surveyed over 2,800 business leaders from around the world and shows that the private sector is a critical stakeholder in achieving the SDGs. Currently, only fifteen per cent of the SDG targets are on track, progress on forty-eight per cent is weak and insufficient and progress has stalled or gone into reverse on thirty-seven per cent of the SDGs.

The report presents ten pathways for businesses to take action on the 17 SDGs and have an outsized impact. The ten pathways identified in the report have examples applicable to each of the SDGs and offer a blueprint to help the private sector build a more sustainable market.

"Private sector investment and innovation are essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals." said Sanda Ojiambo, CEO and Executive Director, UN Global Compact. “While not a one-size-fits-all approach, businesses should focus their actions where they can have an outsized impact on people and the planet, and on their businesses. This will enable them to effectively communicate performance, set targets and actions, engage with stakeholders, including investors, and gain access to new market opportunities.”

Forty-four per cent of business leaders surveyed are looking to government to put in place policy incentives to help them integrate the SDGs into business strategy and operations to ensure an even playing field across all businesses. They also want clear guidance on where to concentrate their efforts and clear measurement criteria and calculation methods so that they can not only properly report progress, but also make informed decisions based on these insights.

To help the private sector achieve these pathways they want policymakers to:

Scale up new incentive models to redefine success in terms of risk, return, and impact:

The top ask from business leaders is consistent sustainability reporting and disclosure mandates (76%). This helps ensure all businesses are held to the same standard both nationally and globally.

Expand the benefits of market to achieve responsible business:

The second ask is adjusting the national minimum wage to equal living wage levels (71%) -a change to the cost structure of businesses, but of value and worth pursuing if borne fairly. In addition, the majority support policies that would help promote gender equality, namely mandatory disclosure and action of gender pay gaps (65%), and mandatory minimum company paid shared-parental leave (58%).

Transform the bases of business to achieve environmental sustainability:

Finally, businesses support a range of stronger policies to strengthen environmental protection, primarily ensuring that incentives are aligned for a clean energy transition. Secondary policies are around ensuring mandatory disclosures so that all companies are assessed equally, encouraging equal action across sectors.

In addition to insufficient policy support, leaders pointed to structural limitations as inconsistent sustainability metrics and data skills shortfall in particular as key reasons for preventing greater action towards further SDG headway:

·       84% of business leaders say unclear measurement resources to calculate impact towards the SDGs prohibits their company’s ability to make progress.

·       82% of business leaders say limited access and/or poor quality of data limits their ability to measure contribution to the SDGs.

·       77% of business leaders expressed concern about a skills shortage or mismatch in the workforce to realize SDG-related impact across industries.

“Businesses around the world understand more and more their potential to take meaningful action on sustainable development," said Stephanie Jamison, Global Sustainability Services lead at Accenture. “Advances in technology and data analytics over the past five years means we can now use multiple large data sets to measure private sector impacts on the SDGs far more accurately and consistently than ever before. This in turn allows leaders to manage those impacts sooner and with better outcomes, bringing a clarity that will help fulfil the private sector’s critical role in achieving the SDGs.”

The report is the latest in a long-standing partnership between UN Global Compact and Accenture, which leverages a survey of over 2,800 business leaders globally along with a proprietary analysis of financial and non-financial data to generate insights on SDG impacts at the aggregate private sector level. The variety of the data utilized for private sector insights and sentiment makes this report one of the most current, comprehensive, and evidence-based analyses of the private sector’s contribution to the SDGs.

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US Business and Government Leaders Urged UN Security Council for More Public-Private Partnership Solutions

US Business and Government Leaders Urged UN Security Council for More Public-Private Partnership Solutions

September 14, 2023

With global humanitarian needs increasing due to climate change, conflict, and the continuous impact of COVID-19, many speakers at a UN Security Council open debate called for a new model that will leverage the private sector more to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

The debate, held during the 78th session of the UN General Assembly, sought to identify and advance public-private partnership solutions to promote international peace and security by addressing current and future humanitarian needs.

US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield spoke to members of the UN Security Council about increasing collaboration with the private sector. “The public sector must do more to proactively work with the private sector, especially as we look to advance the Sustainable Development Goals. The public sector must harness the expertise of the private sector and translate it into action,” Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield said. “It is past time to invest and scale this relationship. And it is past time for us to welcome the private sector through the front door.”

Jared Cohen, President of Global Affairs at Goldman Sachs, said, “The largest employers in the world are not just Governments — they are also businesses.” He noted that five American companies have more than 500,000 workers. Recognizing that globalization has put the private sector at the geopolitical table, he spotlighted the importance of sustained partnerships and real-time innovation.

Michael Miebach, Chief Executive Officer of Mastercard, said that “the private sector stands ready to tackle the challenges at hand in partnership with the public sector.” He said the UN must be even more direct and deliberate in its outreach so that actors can align on objectives, underscoring the importance of structured public and private partnerships. Detailing how technology has facilitated the provision of life-saving assistance, he affirmed: “You have a willing and committed partner in the private sector. We just need to be engaged.”

The UN Global Compact works with the private sector in taking strategic actions to advance broader societal goals, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, with an emphasis on collaboration and innovation.

For more information on how to move forward faster toward progress, click here.

Watch the Advancing public-private humanitarian partnership - Security Council, 9,418th meeting here.

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From Commitment to Action: The US Private Sector's Role in Advancing the SDGs

From Commitment to Action: The US Private Sector's Role in Advancing the SDGs

September 14, 2023

In a remarkable display of global unity, the world united eight years ago to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to forge a more equitable and sustainable world by 2030. As we reach the midpoint of this journey, a stark reality is apparent: there remains much ground to cover. The challenges posed by climate change, entrenched inequalities, and systemic corruption have hindered progress.

Businesses were crucial stakeholders in shaping the SDGs and remain equally important in propelling them towards realization. The call to use their collective power in advancing the SDGs will be accentuated at this year's UN General Assembly, particularly at the 2023 SDG Summit USA, the UN Global Compact Network USA’s annual flagship event. This Summit will congregate over 200 influential leaders from US companies, government, and the UN. The Summit's mission is to raise awareness and promote practical business action and partnerships within the American private sector to achieve the SDGs.

UN Global Compact Network USA recently spoke with Board Chair Daniella Foster on the goals of the 2023 SDG Summit USA, the critical role the US private sector plays in advancing the SDGs, and how companies can move from commitment to action.

Questions

What are the primary objectives that UN Global Compact Network USA aims to achieve through the 2023 SDG Summit USA?

I saw a headline in Nature that really spoke to me: “There is no Planet B and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are heading for the rocks.”  These “rocks” are plentiful – between a global pandemic, geo-political turmoil, war and many other concurrent perma-crises.

We want to leverage the 2023 SDG Summit USA as an opportunity for the private sector to come together with public stakeholders, including government, UN officials and civil society professionals to figure out how we can work together to overcome these “rocks” to drive big impact over the next 5 years.

Our US Network alone has more than 1,000 signatories taking part, representing $5 trillion in revenue. Let me repeat that - $5 trillion! That’s scale.  That’s resources.  That’s the opportunity to take the private sectors’ leadership in innovation, technology and resources and leverage it to tackle pressing global challenges and share solutions with the world.

This year’s SDG Summit USA will serve as a platform for candid conversations about the evolution of corporate sustainability in the U.S. – what’s working, what’s not – with a strong focus on partnership.  No one entity can solve these big world problems.  We need to start working unconventionally – think working pre-competitively or across industries - to achieve the SDGs

How can US businesses leverage their participation with UN Global Compact Network USA to make meaningful progress towards the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals in 2023?

There are many ways businesses can take part.  Going back to my “rocks” analogy, we all have them within our organizations, too – those barriers from funding to management commitment that stand in our way of driving our companies to help make progress against the SDGs.  UNGC is here to help with those.

And it’s a rockier time than it has even been.  One of the unique opportunities within UNGC compared with many other sustainability-focused organizations is that we provide a safe lane for dialogue, bringing people together across different industries, sectors and perspectives, enabling us to chart a path forward together.

One of my favorite programs geared to helping overcome barriers is the Accelerators, which is great for companies that are earlier on in their sustainability journey.  This is an in-depth, six-month educational program that’s specifically designed to create behavior change – helping to embed sustainability into business operations and across the value chain.

We also offer so many educational and networking events. It’s important to come together with other company leaders who share a common commitment to responsible and sustainable business practices.

Given your leadership role in corporate sustainability, what strategies can American businesses employ in 2023 to maximize their impact on people and the planet?

First and foremost, one of the most important strategies a company can employ is to embed sustainability into the business.  It shouldn’t be a separate strategy.  At Bayer, we don’t have a separate business and sustainability strategy – these are one in the same and aligned and championed by our board of management.

That means that our sustainability goals are aligned with our business goals, so it becomes incumbent on everyone to help create the impact we want to have. This ensures the model is sustainable, that we’re not just giving away products or doing cause marketing programs, but that we’re building a business model that drives both societal impact and business success simultaneously. It also helps remove contradictions.

The other advice I’d share is to focus on what’s most material to your business, your value chain and the communities you operate.  You have to tackle the issues that your organization can meaningfully contribute to, to be authentic and impactful – for both the world and to drive business growth. For instance, at Bayer, we set three 100 million challenges focused on improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, expanding access to self-care solutions in underserved communities and expanding access to modern contraception in LMICs.  These are in service of SDGs 2 (no hunger), 3 (health for all) and 5 (gender equality) respectively, but are all also in line with our business goals.   

What hurdles might US businesses encounter in its pursuit of supporting sustainable development and the SDGs?

Greenwashing is certainly a big “rock.” While this issue has never been black and white, it’s become even more complex, with higher stakes over the last year or so.

We’re seeing regulators accelerating actions to better define what is and is not sustainable, to build transparency in financial markets so that investors and other stakeholders can work from a common language and more efficiently make better business decisions.

One concern with some of these policies, is that upping the standards may be seen as a barrier to making progress. Regulators are accelerating the push for more transparency, more and higher quality data, and demonstrated progress against commitments.  Given the maturity of corporate sustainability can vary widely, many companies are going to find it difficult to meet these increased regulatory standards.

Companies are responding to these greater demands by investing large sums to revise their strategy, update their data management practices and accelerate their reporting capabilities to be compliant with the regulations and meet the demands of investors and customers. Meeting these short-term stressors with increased investments can, however, cause companies to divert dollars away from achieving the environmental and social goals to which they’ve already committed and that should drive business growth and profitability.

Another way some companies are responding is green hushing – companies are minimizing or stopping communicating goals are progress to avoid litigation risks associated with greenwashing.

Despite these market challenges, it’s good to see that most companies are still moving ahead and executing against their public commitments on things like health equity, decarbonization, and plastic waste, and continuing to communicate transparently about their actions, successes and failings. And because of the magnitude of the challenges, collective action becomes critical.  We need to work together to find common solutions.  

How can companies leverage 2023 to make up for hindered progress and actively create measures to ensure a productive and impactful course over the next seven years?

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged countries to "Make 2023 count," and this imperative extends to the private sector. Collaboration is going to be key. The UNGC provides a safe lane for us to work across typical lines to act both pragmatically and unconventionally to work together to accelerate our progress.

Daniella Foster is the Executive Board Member & SVP, Public Affairs, Science & Sustainability, Consumer Health of Bayer, and she Chairs the UN Global Compact Network USA Board of Directors.

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Q&A with 2023 USA SDG Pioneer Winner Cristina Villalón

Q&A with 2023 USA SDG Pioneer Winner Cristina Villalón

August 21, 2023

As the Global Compact Network USA local SDG Pioneer winner of the Small and Medium-Sized Companies Category, Cristina Villalón was recognized for her leadership in establishing company-wide SDG-oriented programs at the Puerto Rican architecture firm, Álvarez-Díaz & Villalón (AD&V). As part of her participation in Network USA’s SDG Ambition Accelerator, Villalón led an initiative to work with MIT on developing a representation of Puerto Rico in the Living Wage Calculator. Additionally, she had worked with an external consultant to appropriately scale her company’s employee wages, ensuring all were earning fair wages. Her initiatives also promote gender equality and active participation in industry efforts to achieve net-zero emissions.

We spoke with Villalon recently to understand her company's sustainability goals and how Network USA's SDG Ambition Accelerator helped AD&V focus its efforts on advancing SDG 8.


As the winner of What does winning the Global Compact Network USA local SDG Pioneer mean to you? 

This is the most significant honor of my professional career. My concern for our planet has been constant since I was a teenager when they had us watch the Earth Day Special in school. Since then, these thoughts have always been in the back of my mind: What can I do to improve this? What is my role in this? How can I tackle this enormous challenge? How can my small actions make a significant enough impact? I cared deeply and tried to play my part by recycling and composting. Yet, the challenge always felt too big and overwhelming. And I felt small and insignificant in comparison.

It is only recently that I feel I have finally, after almost a quarter of my life, been able to connect the dots, answer the questions in my head, and channel all my concerns into deliberate, focused action, using our business as a force for good in the world. 

Connecting the dots felt like a magnificent gift. To be recognized for finally understanding my role in all of this and working on it is beyond exceptional. It is the icing on the cake! And it gives me even more momentum and energy to move forward and continue making a positive impact. 


Which SDGs does Alvarez-Diaz & Villalon focus on, and what are your company goals for each? 

 

At AD&V, we are focused primarily on SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) and SDG 5 (Gender Equality). However, our work significantly impacts SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities), SDG 13 (climate action), SDG 3 (good health and wellbeing), and SDG 4 (quality education). 

SDG 8: We have embarked on becoming B-Corp certified. We are in the final stages of the process. A B-Corp is accountable for the most stringent social, environmental, and governance practices. Every day we try to do better and be better. It is ingrained in our DNA. We also aim to be recognized as a “Best Place to Work.” We actively survey our team members to take their pulse and continue to tweak our workplace to be positive and meaningful. We have also committed to finalizing the work we started with MIT to get Puerto Rico on the Living Wage Calculator. Once we have the data, we will set goals against the living wage. We want to exceed the minimums and allow people to thrive, but we must ensure we do this sustainably. An industry challenge is that we are traditionally undervalued, and our professionals should be paid more. We actively speak and educate on this subject, trying to drive systemic changes in our industry. 

SDG 5: Most of our team is women, and we actively support and provide flexibility for our team to encourage gender equality. At the top levels, our industry is mainly dominated by men. Women often opt out of the profession when they cannot juggle heavy workloads, low pay, and little flexibility. We are tackling all these issues. We are promoting women, empowering them, and allowing them the flexibility to perform and stay in the profession.

SDGs 11 and 13: We recently joined the AIA 2030 Commitment to ensure all our designs are net-zero. Buildings are one of the largest contributors to global CO2 emissions. We are taking significant climate action if we can design better, smarter buildings. We also design urban plans and communities. We apply sustainability practices to all our designs affecting and supporting sustainable cities and communities. 

SDGs 3 and 4: Our goals in this space are tied to all the initiatives we encourage in our workplace to promote better health and work-life balance. We provide education and training for professional and personal advancement, not only in the field but in general topics such as emotional intelligence and leadership and management skills. We are tracking and measuring all our efforts to continue improving. 

 

Can you give us more information on how your participation in the SDG Ambition Accelerator impacted how you approach your company's employee wages? 

Our participation in the SDG Ambition Accelerator focused our efforts. We had to choose a benchmark and decided, "100% of our employees earn a living wage." This set us out on a mission to discover what the living wage was in Puerto Rico. We couldn’t find any data, so we contacted MIT to form a collaboration to include Puerto Rico in the living wage calculator. We used our relationships and connections to acquire funding for this initiative and have been collaborating on this process for over a year. Since we couldn't wait for the data, we hired a consultant to help us structure an employee compensation package using US benchmarks and data to ensure our wages were competitive. As a result, we raised all our employees' salaries and provided bonus opportunities based on individual and company performance. The accelerator made us more focused, strategic, and deliberate in measuring our initiatives. We tied the SDG goals to all our endeavors and set up an internal dashboard to track our impact and goals. We made our entire operation, including our goals, more visible to ourselves and our team. This dashboard and quarterly reports keep us moving forward with momentum and ambition. 

 

What advice do you have for SMEs just developing their sustainability programs?

My advice is always the same: Look for the low-hanging fruit. What initiatives are you already doing? How can you magnify those initiatives? Start measuring them! Because what gets measured gets improved. Start where you are and do what you can with what you have. Use your connections and use your gifts. Share what you are doing with others to inspire them to join us in our collective mission. 

 

Do you have any advice for new participants in the UN Global Compact?

The UN Global Compact offers many resources and a wonderful caring community that is ready, willing, and able to help you succeed. Don't be shy! Reach out! Make connections! Join their programs. You will learn so much! And you will find a community of like-minded individuals who want to impact this world positively. This will provide you with hope. And hope is what we need most to propel us into action. 

 

Headquartered in Puerto Rico, a vibrant marketplace within a US territory, AD&V has a unique opportunity to embed and promote the SDGs. Considering this, what advice would you offer to other companies in PR or other US territories who may not yet perceive membership with the UN Global Compact as suitable for their organization?

We are encouraging all companies to join the Global Compact. Doing so will provide them with resources and information to help them on their sustainability journey along with some accountability. 

Network USA will celebrate the 2023 USA SDG Pioneers during an awards ceremony at its flagship conference, 2023 SDG Summit USA, during the UN General Assembly on September 20.

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Q&A with 2023 USA SDG Pioneer Winner Raven Adams

Q&A with 2023 USA SDG Pioneer Winner Raven Adams

August 14, 2023

As the Global Compact Network USA local SDG Pioneer winner of the Large National and Multi-National Companies category, Raven Adams was recognized for leading the sustainability program at Granite Construction, one of the largest civil infrastructure companies in the United States. Using the SDGs as a framework, Adams spearheaded the development of a comprehensive sustainability program, including GHG emissions reduction targets, a climate governance framework, and a decarbonization plan.

We spoke with Adams recently to understand her company’s sustainability goals and how Network USA’s SDG Ambition Accelerator impacted how the company approached its decarbonization planning.

What does winning the Global Compact Network USA local SDG Pioneers mean to you?

In my mind, it means the priority that Granite’s leadership has put on sustainability is making a difference to our company and industry. What I have accomplished in my role has been enabled by the dedication of teams across the company who work to support our core value of sustainability, and this recognition is also a testament to their efforts. I’m grateful to be working with so many people who have conviction and want to make a positive impact.

 

Which SDGs does Granite Construction focus on, and what are your company goals for each of them?

At Granite, we recognize our responsibility to contribute to amore sustainable future, and we see sustainability as central to the purpose of our business: to provide infrastructure solutions that support more prosperous and resilient communities. While we support all 17 SDGs, we focus on 10 core SDGs that relate to our operations and areas of influence—namely, where our business has direct impact or can create societal benefits:

SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being)

SDG 5 (Gender Equality)

SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation)

SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy)

SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth)

SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure)

SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities)

SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities)

SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production)

SDG 13 (Climate Action).

We have aligned our sustainability strategic plan with the SDGs, and many of the SDGs are reflected in multiple focus areas. Some of our priority targets revolve around improving safety performance, increasing there presentation of women and persons of color throughout the organization, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and increasing the use of environmental product declarations that improve the understanding of the impacts of construction materials. The details of that plan are available in our 2022Sustainability Report (p. 14-22). We also seek out strategic sustainability partnerships in the spirit of SDG 17 (Partnership for the Goals).

 

Can you give us more information on how your participation in the SDG Ambition Accelerator impacted the way you approach your company’s decarbonization planning?

The Accelerator enhanced my understanding of how to organize a systems-level approach to complex sustainability issues. This understanding was essential for decarbonization planning, which requires coordinated efforts by disparate parts of an organization.

We leveraged lessons directly from the Accelerator to explore the importance of applying system-level thinking in a workshop with Granite’s Sustainability Council—a multi-functional team of department leaders, experts, and operational representatives. In this workshop, our Council divided into smaller teams (each focused on one SDG Benchmark) to work through the same pathways format used in the Accelerator. The team focused on the climate action benchmark identified new opportunities indifferent parts of our business, and the activities sparked fresh ideas about new metrics to establish within our supply chain.

The Accelerator inspired me to adjust my approach to mobilizing our teams around climate action. We identified key impact pathways within the structure of our business, such as business intelligence (metrics and tracking),climate risk, and implementation of decarbonization measures in operations. By assigning workstream leads to these areas and structuring our discussions and communications around specific pathways, we have increased our momentum.  

We are currently working on updating our sustainability strategy and will apply the lessons of the Accelerator to develop a strategy that takes a more comprehensive, systems-level approach to advancing the SDGs. I’m looking forward to being able to share more details about our updated strategy once it is finalized.

Our industry has a critical role to play in building more sustainable cities and communities, and I would urge other construction companies to consider joining the UN Global Compact—not only because of the importance of aligning our efforts for a better future, but because of the opportunity to create business value.

How do you see the infrastructure and construction industry adapting to a world where the environment and climate are rapidly changing?

Our clients, the infrastructure owners, will play a critical role in the industry’s evolution. We are already seeing increased demands for improved practices and tracking. Moving forward, I hope we see an increased willingness from owners to be adaptable in designs and specifications to drive innovation. In an industry like infrastructure, where activities are strictly controlled by specifications, it can be difficult for a company to single-handedly implement innovations. Increased collaboration among stakeholders is key to finding new ways to allow for and incentivize innovation.

The use of recycled material in asphalt provides a good example of the important role clients play in allowing more sustainable practices. Using more recycled asphalt product (RAP) in an asphalt mix reduces embodied carbon in the material. One of our goals is to increase the use of recycled material, but our ability to do so is ultimately controlled by client specifications. Many agencies still limit the allowable percentage of RAP based on historical specifications. Innovations in technology, balanced mix design, and performance testing have improved the performance of these mixes, with the potential for significant environmental benefit if deployed.

New procurement methods and related regulations will also advance sustainability in the industry. As we face increasing challenges from climate change and seek to reduce negative social and environmental impacts from the built environment, utilizing collaborative contracting methods will be key for advancing improvements in sustainable infrastructure. Many organizations still rely on competitive, hard-bid contracting methods, which can limit opportunities to deploy more innovative and sustainable construction materials and infrastructure solutions. Collaborative contracting methods (aka alternative procurement methods) are distinct from traditional methods in that they involve the contractor earlier in the planning process.

Considering sustainability early in the life cycle of a construction project allows for cost-effective implementation of more sustainable and equitable solutions. For the best outcomes, sustainability must be considered in the initial planning process, so that it can be reflected in design and construction.

 

Do you have any advice for new participants to the UN Global Compact?

Use your participation in the Compact to engage your teams in discussions about sustainability issues. When you create an environment where employees feel empowered to speak up about sustainability opportunities, you will accelerate innovation—after all, your employees have the best knowledge on the greatest potential impact.

The most common advice I see for sustainability professionals continues to hold true for me: don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Strive for continuous improvement, but also take stock of small wins along the way. Recognize your champions and let people know that you value their opinion, because making progress on sustainability requires input from all parts of an organization.  

 

What guidance would you provide to other companies in the construction industry who may not yet recognize the suitability of joining the UN Global Compact for their organization?

Our industry has a critical role to play in building more sustainable cities and communities, and I would urge other construction companies to consider joining the UN Global Compact—not only because of the importance of aligning our efforts for a better future, but because of the opportunity to create business value. Participating in the program provides access to resources that can empower business leaders to better manage risks and create more value through sustainability-related opportunities.

I would also encourage other companies to consider joining the Compact as an opportunity to better align a company’s purpose with positive social impact. This is an imperative for attracting great talent— people are coming to work looking for not just a job, but a way to contribute something positive. Joining the Compact provides a unique opportunity to engage employees with your company mission, and increased engagement is associated with all sorts of positive business outcomes.

Network USA will celebrate the 2023 USA SDG Pioneers during an awards ceremony at its flagship conference, 2023 SDG Summit USA, during the UN General Assembly on September 20.

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6 Tips to Improve your Supply Chain Social Sustainability

6 Tips to Improve your Supply Chain Social Sustainability

July 24, 2023

Businesses have an incredible opportunity to make a difference. They can promote human rights and fair labour practices, help protect the environment and combat corruption. But it doesn't stop there — More and more businesses are realizing the importance of responsible and ethical practices throughout their supply chains.

Recognizing the complexities faced by businesses, the United Nations Global Compact offers practical guidance that goes beyond internal operations, helping companies enhance social sustainability across their supply chains.

Here are six tips to empower your company to make a positive impact within its supply chain and contribute to a more fair, equal and sustainable future:

#1: Understand and advance supply chain traceability

Ever wondered where your products come from? The UN Global Compact and BSR collaborated on a guide that helps companies and stakeholders understand and improve supply chain traceability. The guide provides insights into tracking a product's journey from raw materials to finished goods. Check it out and uncover the hidden stories behind your products to make informed choices for a more transparent and sustainable future.

#2: Champion decent work

Your procurement decisions hold the power to shape fair wages, safe working conditions and workers' rights. With the Decent Work Toolkit for Sustainable Procurement and the Navigating Decent Work Challenges in Multi-Tiered Supply Chains: Leadership Brief, you can integrate these principles into your processes. By leveraging these resources, you'll prioritize decent work practices, positively impacting workers’ well-being and fostering sustainable supply chain operations.

#3: Empower workers and tackle low wages

Low wages have far-reaching consequences, impacting workers’ well-being, productivity, responsible business practices and retention rates. The UN Global Compact provides two resources, Improving Wages to Advance Decent Work in Supply Chain toolkit and the Living Wage Analysis Tool. With these platforms, you can take decisive action to provide fair wages, ensuring dignity for all workers, their families and communities.

#4: Improve worker well-being and occupational health

Protecting workers, minimizing occupational hazards and promoting overall well-being are crucial aspects of sustainable supply chain operations. The UN Global Compact and the International Labour Organization (ILO) have outlined nine business practices to advance decent work and enhance global occupational safety and health (OSH). By implementing these practices, you can build safe and healthy supply chains that prioritize workers’ welfare.

#5: Create family-friendly workplaces

In global supply chains, workers and their families often lack essential benefits like paid parental leave, fair wages, healthcare and affordable childcare. This disproportionately affects women and hampers progress towards gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Employers can make a difference by implementing family-friendly policies for parents and caregivers throughout their operations, business partnerships and supply chains.

#6: Embrace a gender-responsive approach

By adding a gender lens to the Sustainable Procurement Toolkit, buyers gain a thorough understanding of incorporating gender considerations into their procurement strategies. The toolkit offers a practical guide to actively promote gender equality and non-discrimination in procurement decisions, emphasizing the benefits of sourcing from women-owned businesses or gender-responsive suppliers. By implementing these measures, businesses foster gender equality and unlock the benefits of a diverse and inclusive supply chain.

Supply chain sustainability is a critical and interconnected issue overlapping human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption. The UN Global Compact recognizes the significance of this cross-cutting issue and supports companies in integrating a culture of responsible and ethical practices that extend throughout their supply chains. This commitment not only contributes to a more sustainable future but also creates a business environment that is socially responsible and aligned with the #GlobalGoals.

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Game-changing innovation: 3 technologies reshaping industries for a better future

Game-changing innovation: 3 technologies reshaping industries for a better future

July 14, 2023

Technological innovation is paving the path towards a more sustainable future, revolutionizing industries and empowering us to address pressing global challenges. From clean energy to smart cities, these advancements hold the key to transformative change.

One such groundbreaking technology is Artificial Intelligence (AI), enabling computer systems to perform tasks that traditionally require human intelligence. By embracing AI responsibly and ethically, we can make significant strides towards an inclusive and sustainable future.

Businesses now have an unprecedented opportunity to harness the power of these technological breakthroughs and make progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

A new video series developed by PA Consulting and available on the UN Global Compact Academy explores disruptive technologies that are reshaping sustainability across different sectors. Let’s explore three of these game-changing innovations:

#1: Gene editing

While it is crucial to consider ethical aspects and associated risks, certain applications of gene editing — the modification of an organism’s DNA — can potentially help us meet the SDGs. In agriculture, gene editing can improve crop traits, such as nutrition and resistance to pests and diseases. Moreover, gene editing can aid conservation efforts by preserving endangered species and restoring ecosystems. In healthcare, gene editing may help us develop therapies for genetic diseases. This technology offers potential treatment options for conditions that currently lack effective care plans. When exploring the potential applications of gene editing to advance the SDGs, striking a balance between maximizing benefits and safeguarding our shared values is essential.

#2: Low-carbon concrete

Low-carbon concrete offers a greener alternative to traditional concrete by employing alternative materials, innovative manufacturing techniques and carbon-capture technologies.

This helps combat climate change by reducing carbon emissions. In addition, its adoption in construction promotes sustainable infrastructure and eco-friendly cities.

#3: New realities

“New realities” are emerging technologies like virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR). They are revolutionizing education by creating immersive learning experiences, fostering understanding of global challenges. They also provide interactive platforms for inclusive discussions and decision-making on sustainability issues.

Disruptive technologies drive the development of new and innovative products, services and infrastructure, which demand fewer resources and curtail waste production while mitigating environmental impact. They are reshaping industries and propelling us toward a future that prioritizes sustainability. Businesses can make measurable progress towards SDGs by leveraging their potential and embracing responsible practices.

Interested in learning more? Head over to the UN Global Compact Academy to discover a captivating video series exploring the latest disruptive technologies and cutting-edge advancements.

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UN Global Compact Network USA Appoints New Executive Director

UN Global Compact Network USA Appoints New Executive Director

July 6, 2023

New York, NY July 6 2023 – The Board of Directors of the UN Global Compact Network USA (Network USA), the American chapter of the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, is pleased to announce that Adam Roy Gordon has been appointed as the organization’s next Executive Director.

Network USA was founded in 2007 as the local chapter of the United Nations Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative that calls on companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with the UN Global Compact Ten Principles and the ambition of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Mr. Gordon, who has been acting Interim Executive Director for the past year, was Network USA’s first employee, joining the organization in 2017. Since then, the organization’s network has grown, increasing its programmatic offerings and engagement with US-based companies and organizations. This year Network USA expanded its staff threefold and recently announced it had reached a milestone of over 1,000 signatories, representing more than $5 trillion in revenue.

“On behalf of the UN Global Compact Network USA Board of Directors, I’m thrilled to welcome Adam as Executive Director,” said Daniella Foster, Network USA Board Chair. “With Adam’s leadership and years of service at Network USA, we hold strong confidence in his ability to navigate the organization's growth and drive impactful change.”

"I am deeply honored to assume the role of Executive Director of the UN Global Compact Network USA, and I express my sincere gratitude to the Board of Directors for their confidence and this invaluable opportunity," said Mr. Gordon. “Over the years, I have been continuously inspired by our participants' strong commitment and progress-driven efforts. The potential for US private sector leadership in driving sustainability fills me with excitement, and I look forward to partnering with our network, the Board, and our tremendous staff to propel the goals and principles of the UN Global Compact to new heights."

Adam brings an illustrious background in sustainability to his role. Previously, Adam worked at CDP, supporting integrating climate change, water, and deforestation disclosure into corporate performance. He was an EDF Climate Corps Fellow at Colgate-Palmolive Company. He has had diverse experience in sustainability, from advising the Montenegro government on green building policy to founding NYC's first commercial composting waste hauler. Adam also contributes to The Atlantic and is currently an adjunct professor in Columbia University's Sustainability Management program.

 

About UN Global Compact Network USA

The UN Global Compact Network USA is the Local Network chapter of the United Nations Global Compact. As a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General, the United Nations Global Compact calls for companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with the Ten Principles in human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption. Our ambition is to accelerate and scale the collective global impact of business by upholding the Ten Principles and delivering Sustainable Development Goals through accountable companies and ecosystems that enable change.

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Global Compact Network USA Recognizes Cristina Villalón and Raven Adams for Championing the Sustainable Development Goals

Global Compact Network USA Recognizes Cristina Villalón and Raven Adams for Championing the Sustainable Development Goals

June 30, 2023

New York, NY June 30, 2023 — Today, Global Compact Network USA (Network USA) recognized the Global Compact Network USA local SDG Pioneers — business leaders who are championing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and inspiring others to advance the 2030Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Chosen from over 1,000 entities across the US, the Local Network is proud to recognize Cristina Villalón, Co-Founder and Managing Principal of Álvarez-Díaz & Villalón, and Raven Adams, Sustainability Manager at Granite Construction, as its Global Compact Network USA local SDG Pioneers.

As the winner of the Small and Medium-Sized Companies Category, Villalón was recognized for her leadership in establishing company-wide SDG-oriented programs at the Puerto Rican architecture firm, Álvarez-Díaz & Villalón. As part of her participation in Network USA’s SDG Ambition Accelerator, Villalón led an initiative to work with MIT on developing a representation of Puerto Rico in the Living Wage Calculator. Additionally, she had worked with an external consultant to appropriately scale her company’s employee wages, ensuring all were earning fair wages. Her initiatives also promote gender equality and active participation in industry efforts to achieve net-zero emissions.

As the winner of the Large National and Multi-National Companies category, Adams was recognized for leading the sustainability program at Granite Construction, one of the largest civil infrastructure companies in the United States. Using the SDGs as a framework, Adams spearheaded the development of a comprehensive sustainability program, including GHG emissions reduction targets, a climate governance framework, and a decarbonization plan.

“We are pleased to honor Cristina Villalón and Raven Adams as the 2023 USA SDG Pioneers,” said Adam Roy Gordon, Network USA Executive Director.“ Their achievements in embedding the SDGs in their day-to-day work inspire us all to reimagine the potential of business in creating enduring positive change within their environments.”

Network USA will celebrate the 2023 USA SDG Pioneers during an awards ceremony at its flagship conference, SDG Summit USA, during the UN General Assembly on September 20.

As the winner of the Local Round, Villalón and Adams will now compete in the Global Round along with other candidates for the title of 2023 UN Global Compact SDG Pioneers. The global winners will be announced this September 2023 during the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit. 

“SDG Pioneers recognizes the critical role young business leaders play in developing and driving innovative solutions through new technologies, initiatives, and business models to enable us to reach the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. We hope their work will inspire others to advance the Global Goals through the implementation of our Ten Principles on human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption," said Sanda Ojiambo, CEO & Executive Director of the UN Global Compact.

Network USA thanks its esteemed External Review Committee for their invaluable assistance in selecting the deserving winners for the 2023 USA SDG Pioneers program. Committee members include Ann Tracy, Chief Sustainability Officer, Colgate-Palmolive Company; Jennifer Leitsch, Managing Director, Climate Change and Sustainability Services, EY; Lisa Kurbiel, Head of UN Joint SDG Fund Secretariat, United Nations; Lori Llewellyn, Managing Director, North America, CDP; Sanjeev Khagram, Director General and Dean, Thunderbird School of Global Management, ASU; and Thomas Debass, Deputy Special Representative for Global Partnerships, US Department of State.

 

About UN Global Compact Network USA

The UN Global Compact Network USA is the Local Network chapter of the United Nations Global Compact. As a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General, the United Nations Global Compact calls for companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with the Ten Principles inhuman rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption. Our ambition is to accelerate and scale the collective global impact of business by upholding the Ten Principles and delivering Sustainable Development Goals through accountable companies and ecosystems that enable change.

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Important CoP Update

Important CoP Update

June 23, 2023

Access to the Communication on Progress (CoP) platform is on pause to troubleshoot and address the technical challenges that users have experienced. If you have experienced these issues, we apologize and understand that this impacts your reporting plans and internal timeline. We are working hard to rectify the situation as soon as possible to ensure our participants have a good experience on the platform.

For this reason, the July 15 deadline for CoP submission no longer applies. When a new deadline is determined, we will announce it and allow significant time for participants to complete their 2023 CoP. The CoP submission deadline will not be before October of this year.

For more information, please review these Frequently Asked Questions.

We will provide updates regarding the functionality of the digital platform and next steps as soon as possible. Please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions; a staff member will respond as quickly as possible.

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UNGC Network USA Commemorates Juneteenth Part 2

UNGC Network USA Commemorates Juneteenth Part 2

June 19, 2023

A Conversation with Brian Tippens, SVP and Chief Social Impact Officer at Cisco, on Leading Social Justice Actions

Juneteenth serves as a reminder to companies to foster an environment where everyone can thrive, regardless of race or background. 

In this second-part of our Juneteenth commemoration, Network USA spoke with Senior Vice President and Chief Social Impact Officer at Cisco, Brian Tippens, to learn how his company is prioritizing social justice and equality by weaving them into many aspects of Cisco's business strategies and operations.

Brian joined the UNGC Network USA Board of Directors in February 2023 and works alongside other members of the Board in overseeing Network USA's strategy and growth.

Q&A: 

Juneteenth is a real opportunity to amplify understanding of the unique experience of Black Americans and serve as a catalyst for conversations about intersectionality. How do you recommend companies approach this holiday to make it a DEI-enhancing experience? 

I believe that companies who want Juneteenth to amplify understanding and catalyze new conversations should ask themselves where they are – right now – within their DEI journey.  

Does our culture welcome and embrace open dialogue as an accelerant to diversity, equity, and inclusion? Do we have systems to support leaders at all levels in seeking a better understanding of differences? Are we actively working to create proximity between people through honest, courageous conversations? Are we open enough to fully see the realities that have shaped the lived experiences of African Americans? Are we brave enough to take bold action to eradicate the obstacles still in the way?

In 2020, Cisco made Juneteenth a paid holiday as one of our initial steps in transforming our longstanding advocacy for social justice into a global, enterprise-wide commitment to bolder action and greater impact. 

Our new commitment was the direct result of our willingness to engage in a new level of dialogue in the summer of 2020 in the face of growing awareness of systemic racial injustice, oppression, and inequality. We also wanted to send a message to the world that corporations can be a driving force for societal change.

I think that any organization – wherever they are in their DEI journey – can leverage the legacy and the lessons of Juneteenth to deepen the dialogue and gain proximity to the issues that face us today.

How does Cisco foster a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace?       

At Cisco, Inclusion isn't just something we do—it's part of who we are. Fulfilling our purpose to Power an Inclusive Future for All means reimagining how we come together and respect each other's identities and the roles we play inside and outside of work. It means tearing down barriers to equity, collaboration, and connection—both in the many places we work and in the wider world.

We continue to explore how we apply technology and data to solve our most critical challenges. We're accelerating how we attract, develop, and promote diverse talent; taking bold action on social justice; supporting our global employee resource groups, known as Cisco Global Inclusive Communities; and expanding our impact across our ecosystem of partners, suppliers, and customers.

There is still a racial disparity in corporate America. Currently, only 5.9% of all chief executives in the country are Black, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What advice can you give businesses trying to close that gap and promote more Black employees to leadership positions? 

Cisco continues to accelerate the diversity of our global workforce, creating the most diverse Cisco ever across all the categories we measure (gender, race, and ethnicity)—for the eighth year running.

We attribute these shifts to our holistic strategies for expanding, hiring, developing, and promoting emerging leaders. In 2020, we included a focus on increasing the representation of African American/Black employees with our 12 Actions for Social Justice.

At the director and executive levels, our talent acquisition strategy gives us a competitive advantage in attracting top, diverse talent. We look at areas of emerging business growth and approach recruiting differently by identifying what innovative leadership looks like from a talent perspective. We are creating a recruiting culture that recognizes strong talent and expertise, and we engage talent proactively. 

To increase full spectrum diversity in our hiring framework and on our Board of Directors, we cultivate talent pools, expand our executive prospect community, and generate diverse, active talent benches. Specifically, we have focused our efforts on: 

- Leveraging diverse candidate slates and developing a pipeline of diverse talent to increase all facets of diversity throughout the hiring and promotion process 

- Cultivating a company culture of sponsorship across dimensions of difference 

- Increasing opportunities for Cisco executives and senior leaders to get proximate to diverse talent 

- Providing developmental offerings that support the growth of women and underrepresented minority executives 

Our efforts are working. We continue to exceed our African American/Black (AA/B) hiring aspirations year over year. Our goal when we set out in 2020 was to increase AA/B talent by 25% by fiscal year 2023. I am proud to say that we have increased AA/B talent at Cisco 70% in non-executive roles, 96% in director-level positions, and 182% among vice presidents and above. We also welcomed John D. Harris II and Marianna Tessel to our Board of Directors.  

What advice do you have for senior leadership on moving public commitments on racial justice to action?

Moving commitments into action is what senior leaders do. Our commitment to racial justice should be an integral part of the business. That's what's good for businesses and the world.

Social Justice is woven into the fabric of many aspects of Cisco's business. Our strategies are built on our core belief that our social justice actions will drive business value – and that's what makes them so powerful. Many companies have ESG goals, but few push to embed those goals within the business. Cisco has a Social Justice Action Office equal in size to many of our key business functions to lead the strategy and execution of our Social Justice Actions. Our Action Office brings together people and expertise across every function and region to drive consistent execution, rigor, and accountability.

Our approach operationalizes our purpose – and it's becoming a key differentiator for our business. A talent magnet. And a reason to stay and grow with Cisco. Analysts are clamoring to learn more – and they're factoring it into their predictions of future value.

Information on the breakdown of the financial commitments and the timeline of companies' business commitments to fight racial injustice are limited. How can companies track progress to ensure their efforts have a lasting impact? 

As with any commitment that is integral to the business – tracking and communicating progress and impact starts with clear goals, objectives, and key performance indicators.

At Cisco, we track over 90 key performance indicators across our 12 Social Justice Actions. Each of our action teams is sponsored and championed by a member of Cisco's executive leadership team. Our action teams report on our progress against KPIs regularly to their executive sponsors and across the executive leadership team. We also communicate our progress externally within our annual Purpose report and on our Social Justice web pages.

Understanding and communicating the impact of our 12 Social Justice Actions is evolving and expanding now that we are approaching the midway point of our five-year journey. The scale and scope of our actions are driving exponential impact – across our company, our ecosystem of partners and suppliers, and our communities. We share stories about impact within our Purpose Report, our ESG hub, our web pages, and through numerous Cisco blogs, articles, and presentations by leaders across Cisco.

Lastly, what does Juneteenth mean to you personally?

For me, Juneteenth represents a celebration of hope and the promise of a bright future.

In reflecting on the significance of the Juneteenth holiday in the United States, I am reminded of the time I was honored to hold one of the last few remaining copies of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln while visiting the Union League House in Philadelphia. 

In 1864 President Lincoln traveled to Philadelphia and hand-signed 40 copies of the Proclamation as part of a fund-raising effort. The copies were sold for $20 each, a hefty sum in 1864, to raise money for the Sanitary Commission - an organization that helped provide support services for soldiers returning from the Civil War. A small number of the signed copies are known to have survived.

Holding the document that Lincoln referred to as "…the great event of the 19th century" was a moving, transformative experience for me.  

As Dr. Martin Luther King described during his 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech, "...this momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope for millions of negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

Brian's career spans over 25 years of leadership in the IT industry. Brian is a purpose-driven leader who is committed to social justice and broad advocacy on the most pressing issues facing communities. At Cisco, Brian oversees the leadership of its future inclusive work, including social justice, advocacy, accessibility, and community impact to advance Cisco's purpose to Power an Inclusive Future for All.

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UNGC Network USA Commemorates Juneteenth 

UNGC Network USA Commemorates Juneteenth 

June 19, 2023

Juneteenth holds significant historical and cultural importance in the United States. While the Emancipation Proclamation declared the freedom of enslaved individuals, it took over two and a half years for the last enslaved Black Americans in Texas to be freed on June 19, 1865. 

Juneteenth highlights the importance of translating policy into action and emphasizes the need for sustained efforts to achieve genuine emancipation and equality.

Recognizing Juneteenth as an American holiday is crucial in acknowledging Black Americans' unique experiences and struggles throughout history. It provides an opportunity for reflection, education, and dialogue about the legacy of slavery, systemic racism, and the ongoing fight for justice. By amplifying understanding and promoting conversations about intersectionality, Juneteenth can catalyze fostering real and long-lasting cultural change.

In this context, Network USA's commitment to assisting companies in translating aspirational commitments into measurable actions aligns with the spirit of Juneteenth. It emphasizes the importance of making bold policies and taking concrete steps toward implementing them. Juneteenth encourages individuals, organizations, and societies to move beyond rhetoric and actively work towards dismantling systemic barriers and advancing equality for all.

We invite you to access this online session on Human Rights and Racial Justice for more discussions on advancing racial equality in the US. The session took place during the 2021 UNGC Leaders Summit.

We also share a conversation we had with Network USA Board Member and Senior Vice President and Chief Social Impact Officer at Cisco, Brian Tippens. Drawing examples from his work at Cisco, Brian discusses how companies can utilize Juneteenth to drive positive change, fostering an environment where everyone can thrive, regardless of race or background. 

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Washington, DC, Mission: Supporting US Private Sector Leadership in Sustainability

Washington, DC, Mission: Supporting US Private Sector Leadership in Sustainability

June 7, 2023

UN Global Compact Network USA (Network USA) organized a series of activities to facilitate discussions and promote cooperation between business leaders and government officials in Washington, DC. The objective was to highlight the profound impact the world's largest private sector sustainability initiative can have in shaping a better future for all.

Here is a summary of the events that took place.

Economist Impact Sustainability Week

At the Sustainability Week conference in Washington, DC, Network USA staff met with businesses working towards building a better, more sustainable, adaptable, and resilient world.

During a panel session organized by Network USA, Sanda Ojiambo, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations Global Compact, Network USA Board Member Gayle Schueller, Chief Sustainability Officer at 3M, and Michelle Patron, Senior Director, Sustainability Policy at Microsoft, spoke about how companies and governments can work together to help achieve the SDGs by 2030.

Convening Business Leaders

Against the backdrop of the White House, Network USA hosted a Business Leadership Reception at the Baker McKenzie, LLP office in Washington, DC. This event was a unique opportunity to connect with leaders of the United Nations Global Compact, Network USA, and professionals from all industries who overlap with sustainability themes or topics in the U.S. and worldwide.

Assistant Secretary-General Ojiambo and Network USA Interim Executive Director, Adam Roy Gordon, provided welcoming remarks. Each stressed the importance of companies consolidating around shared values and the criticality of business leaders integrating the SDGs into their organizations as the key to building a prosperous and resilient world. By doing so, businesses can contribute to a more sustainable and equitable future while creating long-term value for their organizations.

Network USA Board Chair Daniella Foster, SVP & Global Head, Public Affairs, Science & Sustainability, Consumer Health at Bayer, also provided remarks, emphasizing the urgency of addressing the SDGs and highlighting the role of businesses in providing solutions. She stressed that collective action and industry collaboration are crucial to accelerating SDG progress. Fellow Network USA Board of Directors Gayle Schueller of 3M, David Hackett of Baker & McKenzie LLP, Paul Francisco of State Street Corporation, and Guly Sabahi of NDC Partnership were also in attendance.

Thank you to Baker McKenzie for providing the space and to Jackson Family Wines for their sponsorship. For reception photos, visit our flickr page. 

Meeting with McCormick & Company Leadership and Maryland Governor Wes Moore

Assistant Secretary-General Ojiambo and Network USA colleagues visited McCormick & Company in Maryland to learn about the company’s sustainability initiatives. Joined by Network USA Board Member and McCormick & Company Chief Sustainability Officer Michael Okoroafor and Maryland State Governor Wes Moore, the organizations witnessed the transformative power that arises when businesses and governments unite with shared ambitions. Through their conversation, the UN Global Compact, McCormick & Company leaders, and Governor Moore noted how sustainability can actualize prosperity, with Governor Moore noting that there is a “false choice…between businesses that are competitive and businesses that are sustainable. You can have both – and we must have both.”

Afterwards, Assistant Secretary-General Ojiambo addressed McCormick & Company employees and underlined the importance of achieving the SDGs in the next seven years.

Collaborating with U.S. Officials

Collaboration between businesses and governments can ensure a more substantial impact in achieving the common good.

Network USA accompanied Assistant Secretary-General Ojiambo to a meeting with Dorothy McAuliffe, US Special Representative for Global Partnerships for the US Department of State, where the conversation focused on collaborations for sustainable, inclusive business and shared prosperity.

The group also met with Arun Venkataraman, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service at the International Trade Administration. The discussion highlighted the transformative power of a robust private sector in derisking economies, attracting investment, creating jobs, and fostering prosperous communities. 

By actively introducing our business partners to the UN, US Government, and their extensive resources, we empower them on their sustainability journey, and together, we are driving positive change. Network USA looks forward to working with its signatories and the US government in reaching the goals and the principles of the United Nations Global Compact in the US.

For more on our Washington, DC, mission, visit our LinkedIn page.

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UN Global Compact launches business guidance on Just Transition and Renewable Energy

UN Global Compact launches business guidance on Just Transition and Renewable Energy

May 18, 2023

The UN Global Compact today released new guidance on a Just Transition and Renewable Energy, (“the brief”) with recommendations for businesses and governments on how to accelerate from an energy system driven by fossil fuels to one based on renewable energy. The brief calls on businesses to embrace the urgency of a just energy transition, set ambitious targets, develop just transition plans and publicly report on progress. A just transition means greening the economy in a way that is as fair and inclusive as possible to everyone concerned, creating decent work opportunities and leaving no one behind.

Businesses are asked to become vocal advocates for the just transition and call upon governments and social partners to develop holistic policies and undertake just transition planning to create an enabling environment for companies to advance ambitious and effective just transition initiatives.

The growing impacts of climate change make this transition increasingly urgent. Companies are critical actors in driving both the supply and demand for renewable energy and are key to developing innovative approaches that ensure the most efficient use of energy resources and improving energy access. The brief focuses on the role of renewable energy companies in facilitating a just transition, as well as “off takers” — large energy-consuming companies — seeking energy that is sustainably produced.

Commenting on the release of the guidance, Sanda Ojiambo, Executive Director and CEO of the United Nations Global Compact said:

"We require a systemic change to achieve rapid and deep emissions reductions. The UN Secretary-General has called on business leaders to transform business models and dramatically scale-up investments in renewable energy. This brief outlines actions to accelerate the pace of a just renewable energy transition that can drive sustainable economic and energy sector diversification."

Business action for a just transition begins from a foundation of responsible business conduct and respect for rights, supported by the Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact and other key instruments. The International Labour Organization Guidelines for a just transition towards environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all put social dialogue at the heart of the just transition process.

Governments and regulatory authorities have a central role in creating the policies needed for the transition and ensuring that just transition measures, for example, are integrated in public procurement practices and renewable energy project development. There is no one-size-fits-all just transition policy framework that works for every country — some Governments have developed comprehensive strategies, while others have adopted policies to address specific aspects of the transition. Countries are adopting national just transition commissions, task forces, dialogues and/or related policies and law.

This brief provides an advocacy agenda for business to influence government policies responsibly; showcases company best practice examples and success factors; and outlines 10 recommendations for businesses to advance the just transition within and beyond their companies, in support of the goals of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda.

Notes to Editors

Think Lab on Just Transition

The Think Lab on Just Transition aims to shape and define business and thought leadership on critical areas linked to just transition; address key business challenges; identify policy advocacy opportunities and good business practices; and scale-up learnings through the network of the UN Global Compact. If you’ve missed the previous publications in this series on just transition, we invite you to download the Introduction to Just Transition, Just Transition for Climate Adaptation and Financing a Just Transition business briefs today. For more information, visit the Think Lab on Just Transition website.

About the UN Global Compact

As a special initiative of the United Nations Secretary-General, the UN Global Compact is a call to companies worldwide to align their operations and strategies with Ten Principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Our ambition is to accelerate and scale the global collective impact of business by upholding the Ten Principles and delivering the Sustainable Development Goals through accountable companies and ecosystems that enable change. With more than 18,000 companies and 3,800 non-business signatories based in over 160 countries, and 62 Local Networks, the UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative — one Global Compact uniting business for a better world. For more information, visit our website at unglobalcompact.org.

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6 Courses for Meaningful Action on Workers’ Rights

6 Courses for Meaningful Action on Workers’ Rights

May 15, 2023

In today's globalized economy, workers' rights are an increasingly pressing issue as companies, and their supply chains stretch across borders. Unfortunately, workplace exploitation, discrimination, and abuse continue to afflict many workers worldwide, prompting calls for greater corporate accountability and action. 

As a responsible business, prioritizing workers' rights is essential. Investing in education and training programs that promote fair and ethical treatment of employees is one way to achieve this goal. 

The UN Global Compact Academy offers six courses to help your company take concrete steps toward creating a more just and equitable workplace:

  1. Basics of business and decent work: Learn the principles of decent work and how they relate to business operations. This course covers labor rights, workplace safety, and ethical business practices and teaches you how to implement these principles within your company. 
  2. The freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining: This course covers the legal and practical aspects of workers' collective bargaining rights, including unionization, bargaining agreements, and dispute resolution. Learn how to apply these concepts in different contexts to promote fair labor relations.
  3. The elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory laborLearn how to prevent and address human trafficking through practical strategies. Explore the legal framework for combating forced labor, discover best practices for ethical recruitment and supply chain management, and acquire effective strategies for promoting social responsibility and protecting vulnerable workers.
  4. The effective abolition of child laborDiscover strategies for addressing the root causes of child labor, understand legal frameworks and international standards, and learn about effective monitoring and remediation approaches. This course also covers best practices for promoting ethical and sustainable supply chains.
  5. The elimination of discrimination regarding employment and occupationThis course covers the legal and ethical frameworks for combating discrimination, teaches inclusive policies and practices, and provides best practices for creating a just and equitable workplace that benefits everyone.
  6. A safe and healthy work environment: Learn about legal and ethical frameworks, identify and mitigate workplace hazards, and promote a culture of safety and wellness. This course provides the principles and practices necessary for creating a secure and healthy work environment.

Whether you're beginning or looking to enhance your company’s existing initiatives, these courses provide a solid foundation for promoting workers’ rights and building a better future for your company and employees.

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UN Global Compact Launches Living Wage Analysis Tool

UN Global Compact Launches Living Wage Analysis Tool

May 12, 2023

The UN Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, today launched a new Living Wage Analysis Tool (“the Tool”) to help companies identify actions and further opportunities to provide a living wage to ensure all workers, families, and communities can live in dignity.

Through showcasing good practices for ensuring a living wage in business operations and supply chain methods and leveraging resources for continuous improvement, the Tool can help businesses advance the living wage economy by making concrete commitments to assume their responsibilities and deploy their influence within value chains.

Working poverty caused by low wages is a global issue prevalent in many industries. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), almost one in five workers worldwide did not earn enough to lift themselves and their families out of extreme or moderate poverty in 2019. Economic inequalities often cause low wages, threatening poverty reduction and hindering the fight against gender discrimination.

Commenting on the release of the new tool, Sanda Ojiambo, CEO and Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, said:

“As the private sector employs two-thirds of the world’s wage-earning population, it has the ability to contribute significantly to global poverty reduction and inequality through the provision of living wages as an essential aspect of decent work. Using the Living Wage Analysis Tool to ensure a living wage for all workers benefits core operations, value chains ,and the wider operating environment, enabling businesses to meet their human rights commitments better. While ensuring payment of living wages is often seen as a cost, it can offer many benefits to businesses and should be seen as an investment.”

The push for a living wage is in response to the fact that legally-set minimum wages often fail to meet workers’ needs. By going beyond legal compliance, businesses can ensure that all their employees have the income to support their needs and those of their dependents, raising standards of health and well-being.

A living wage is an essential component of decent work, and a cornerstone of development, contributing directly to several of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Goal1: No Poverty and Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, as well as Goal 5: Gender Equality and Goal10: Reduced Inequalities.

The Tool was developed through the UN Global Compact Think Lab on Living Wage with companies and organizations leading on the topic and questions based on real-life company practice, international standards, and indicators.

As the world crosses the halfway point for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, the UN Global Compact is challenging businesses to raise their ambition levels by taking tangible, accountable actions with the private sector well positioned to advance action on the living wage to meet the 2030 Agenda.

 

 

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UN Global Compact Network USA Appoints Four New Board of Directors

UN Global Compact Network USA Appoints Four New Board of Directors

May 2, 2023

UN Global Compact Network USA(Network USA) welcomes four new members to its Board of Directors. They will work alongside current members of the Board in overseeing Network USA’s strategy in upholding the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact and advancing the Sustainable Development Goals in the US market.

“I would like to extend my sincerest welcome to the new members of the Board,” said Daniella Foster, Network USA Board Chair. “Their expertise and strategic guidance will help propel Network’s USA growth and strengthen its representation in the US market. I look forward to working with them in the years ahead.”

The new Board of Directors, comprising of equal numbers of women and men, is joined by:  

Paul Francisco, SVP & Chief Diversity Officer, State Street Corporation

Paul is State Street Corporation's Chief Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Officer. In this role, Paul leads the global implementation of State Street’s inclusion, diversity, and equity strategies. He also oversees State Street’s Affirmative Action program.

Gavin Power, Chief of Sustainable Development and International Affairs, PIMCO

Mr. Power is an executive vice president and chief of sustainable development and international affairs. Prior to joining PIMCO in 2018, he was the deputy executive director of the United Nations Global Compact. There he advised UN secretaries-general and oversaw sustainability initiatives in both developed and emerging markets.

Kristen Siemen, Chief Sustainability Officer and VP of Sustainable Workplaces, GM

Kristen Siemen was appointed vice president of Sustainable Workplaces and Chief Sustainability Officer of General Motors (GM) in February 2021. She will help lead GM to a future with zero emissions as the company continues to take bold actions against climate change, including GM’s commitment to become carbon neutral in its products and operations by 2040.  

Guly Sabahi, Senior Advisor, Climate Finance, NDC Partnership

Guly Sabahi is Senior Advisor on Climate Finance at the NDC Partnership, a coalition co-hosted by the World Resources Institute (WRI)and UN Climate Change (UNFCCC). Guly provides strategic advice and thought leadership on the NDC Partnership's climate finance efforts and engagement with its 200+ member countries and institutions, as well as with the private sector.

The full list of Network USA Board of Directors can be found here.

 

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1,000 Signatories Join the UN Global Compact Network USA in Advancing the Corporate Sustainability Initiative of the UN Secretary-General

1,000 Signatories Join the UN Global Compact Network USA in Advancing the Corporate Sustainability Initiative of the UN Secretary-General

May 2, 2023

NEW YORK, NY May 2, 2023- The UN Global Compact Network USA (Network USA), the American chapter of the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, is pleased to announce that it now has 1,000 signatories in its network. This milestone reflects the private sector’s commitment to advancing sustainable and responsible business practices in the US and the potential for American companies to drive progress.

Network USA was founded in 2007 as the local chapter of the United Nations Global Compact, a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General that calls on companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with the UN Global Compact Ten Principles and the ambition of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In the years since, Network USA has grown rapidly and scaled its work in the US market. Its participants now represent more than $5 trillion in revenue.

To help advance its mission, Network USA tapped David Fiss as Head of Engagement and promoted Claudia Herbert Colfer to Head of Programming. Colfer joined Network USA in 2020 and has been instrumental in helping the organization grow and enhance its programmatic offerings.

Fiss brings more than ten years of experience in corporate relations and sustainability. Previously, he served as Director of Corporate Relations, Partnerships & Strategy at Sustainable Brands. While there, Fiss worked with the board, membership and key brands to drive engagement and business transformation. In his new role, Fiss will design and manage Network USA’s engagement strategies with US companies and organizations.

“I’m looking forward to working with the private sector in aligning itself with the mission and principles of the United Nations,” said Fiss. "There are tremendous opportunities for US companies to lead in developing solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges. I'm eager to support their sustainability journey through the multi-stakeholder engagement and programmatic offerings that exist within the UN Global Compact."

Network USA supports its signatories with the tools, programs, and collaborative space to enable change. Its Accelerator Programs and Peer Learning Groups are specially designed to help companies further their corporate sustainability leadership.

To support this work, Network USA also hired the following specialists: Jessica Tuquero, Communications Manager; Christine Cavallo, Engagement Coordinator; Mallory Cannon, Climate & Environment Associate; and Jessica Feoli, SDGs & Events Associate.

“This is an exciting time to join Network USA,” said Adam Roy Gordon, Interim Executive Director of Network USA. “Our staff, signatories and partners are energized behind our shared mission of mobilizing a global movement of responsible companies to create the world we want. There is no better community to build a practical and ambitious frame work for a sustainable world, and there is no better time to do it than now.”

“Since joining the UN Global Compact in 2020, I have seen Network USA impressively increase participation by over 35 percent, which is a testament to the organization’s ability to engage with all industries and sectors of the economy,” said Sanda Ojiambo, Executive Director and CEO of the UN Global Compact. “Strong participation from US companies is crucial in accomplishing the ambitious goals set forth by the UN and aligning on our collective efforts of uniting businesses for a better world.”

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6 Ways Businesses Can Boost Their Sustainability Efforts on Earth Day

6 Ways Businesses Can Boost Their Sustainability Efforts on Earth Day

April 20, 2023

Earth will likely cross a critical global warming threshold within the next decade. Failing to address climate change could lead to the United States facing economic damages equivalent to 1-3% of GDP per year by2100.

“To reverse our course, a fundamental change of financing and investment is needed to place sustainability at the core of the global economic and financial system,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “Private sector leadership will be more important than ever.”

Undoubtedly, the American private sector—the largest in the world—will be critical to the transition to a net-zero, resilient future.

April 22 is International Mother Earth Day. As the world celebrates our incredible planet, UN Global Compact Network USA participants can boost their sustainability efforts by taking action in the following ways:

1.     Apply to take part in the Climate Ambition Accelerator, a six-month program designed to help companies accelerate progress towards setting science-based emissions reduction targets aligned with the 1.5°C pathway. Interested participants must act soon; the deadline to apply is April 30.

2.     Register for “What the COP15 Global Biodiversity Framework Means for Your Company,” a webinar on May 18 from 1:00–2:00 pm ET. You will hear from industry thought leaders Laura Donnelly, Global Lead, Nature at Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), and Janelle Meyers, Chief Sustainability Officer at Kellogg Company.

3.     Take part in the CEO Water Mandate – a commitment from business leaders worldwide to address global water challenges.

4.     Join 50+ leading companies in the “Open Call for Water Action,” a unified commitment by the corporate sector to Water Action. 

5.     Make progress by completing the UNGC Academy training on environmental and climate-related courses.

6.     Access our past webinars and online events, such as “Exploring the Role of American Business in the Future of Water” and “The Business Case for Water Resilience," to hear from experts in the field.

It will take a coordinated effort to mitigate the effects of climate change and other environmental risks, with American businesses playing a crucial role in developing a more sustainable future.

For more information, contact mallory@globalcompactusa.org.

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Global Compact Network USA Searches for Professionals Committed to Advancing the Sustainable Development Goals

Global Compact Network USA Searches for Professionals Committed to Advancing the Sustainable Development Goals

April 3, 2023

The UN Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, is looking to recognize a new class of Global SDG Pioneers, with applications opening on April 3, 2023. The annual SDG Pioneers program honors company professionals using business to advance and advocate for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Global Compact Network USA welcomes the leadership of companies participating in the UN Global Compact to nominate their employees to the program.

The program allows companies to highlight how their employees advance the SDGs and is indeed next-generation leaders. It also provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for professionals to push their vision forward within their organizations and create change. In addition, SDG Pioneers will receive visibility and be recognized for the great work that they have done to advance the SDGs.

Network USA will award two SDG Pioneers this year. One to represent small & medium-sized enterprises (<250 employees), and one to represent large national & multi-national companies. Please note that companies must have submitted at least 1 CoP and be a signatory since October 1, 2022, to be eligible for this opportunity. Network USA will award the two 2023 Global Compact Network USA SDG Pioneers at the local level, announced on June 30, 2023. The selected individuals will then be able to participate in the final search of global SDG Pioneers to be recognized during the 2023 UN General Assembly in September in New York.

Commenting on the launch of the global search, Sanda Ojiambo, CEO & Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, said:

“The SDG Pioneers program recognizes the dedicated professionals that drive and innovate solutions through new technologies, initiatives, and business models that can enable us to reach the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. We hope their work will inspire others to advance the Global Goals by implementing our Ten Principles on human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption.” said Sanda Ojiambo, CEO & Executive Director of the UN Global Compact.”

Employees of companies participating in the UN Global Compact are welcome to submit their own application on contributions towards sustainable development or nominate a colleague inviting them to submit an application here for consideration in the program before May 3, 2023, at 11:59 PM ET.

About the SDG Pioneers Program

As part of the UN Global Compact’s Making Global Goals Local Business campaign, each year, the UN Global Compact recognizes a class of SDG Pioneers — business leaders working at any level of their company who are using business as a force for good to advance the 17 SDGs. Through their own company or by mobilizing other businesses, they are helping to reach one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while also contributing to business success. In 2023 Local Networks, including those spanning all continents, will be hosting a country-level SDG Pioneers campaign to identify business leaders who will then be contenders for the global round to be recognized at the UN General Assembly in September 2023.

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US Companies Invest Nearly $140 Million into Water Access Fund 

US Companies Invest Nearly $140 Million into Water Access Fund 

March 21, 2023

The Water Resilience Coalition (WRC), a CEO-led initiative committed to reducing global water stress by 2050, product of the partnership between the UN Global Compact and the Pacific Institute, recently launched the WRC Investment Portfolio and unveiled an initial supported vehicle, the WaterEquity Global Access Fund IV. Announced ahead of World Water Day and the UN 2023 Water Conference, the WaterEquity Fund has attracted nearly $140 million in investments.

Five WRC member companies – Starbucks (the Fund’s corporate anchor investor at up to $25 million), Ecolab, Gap Inc., Reckitt, and DuPont – have come together to invest alongside a $100 million commitment from U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, the United States Government’s development finance institution. This marks a significant milestone in achieving the intended total of $150 million that the WaterEquity Global Access Fund IV expects to attract by mid-2023 with the goal of reaching 5 million people with access to water, sanitation, and hygiene.

Two billion people around the world currently live in water-stressed areas. Based on projected demand, if no action is taken, it is predicted that within the next ten years, the world will face a 40 percent shortfall in freshwater supply. By 2050 more than half the world’s population will live in water-stressed areas.

“Some $300 billion of business value is at risk due to water scarcity, pollution, and climate change. It is vital the corporate sector invest now to protect this natural asset.  Water is a shared resource, so we can only safeguard it to ensure the quality and quantity of its availability if we work together," said Sanda Ojiambo, CEO and Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact.

To address a challenge of such magnitude, the WRC Investment Portfolio charts a pathway for long-term sustainable investments in water—at a time when global stakeholders are calling for new investment strategies for water and increased investments from the private sector.

The pipeline identifies a diverse range of investment mechanisms that amount to at least $1 billion. Some examples include private equity investments, blended finance mechanisms, microfinance and impact bonds to drive investment into water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH); nature-based solutions; and water and climate resilience.

WaterEquity is the first asset manager exclusively focused on solving the global water and sanitation crisis. Its fourth fund, the Global Access Fund IV, will have a positive impact on households of at least eight countries in South and Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America who will gain access to microfinance loans for the purchase of WASH assets such as household toilets and sewage treatment systems.

“This innovative financing strategy is poised to help mobilize the corporate sector on the water in a radically new way—through investment collaboration,” said Jason Morrison, President of the Pacific Institute and Head of the CEO Water Mandate. “By bringing together leading companies in collective action and leveraging collective capital, the Water Resilience Coalition members will have more impact on the water together than they can on their own.”

WaterEquity’s next fund, the Water and Climate Resilience Fund, will focus exclusively on investing in municipal-level climate-resilient water and sanitation infrastructure for low-income populations in countries in South and Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America.

Through this fund, WaterEquity will provide financing for projects and companies to improve water sourcing, treatment, distribution, and reuse. Microsoft has reached a preliminary agreement with WaterEquity to be the first investor in the Water and Climate Resilience Fund, subject to the execution of final documents. Today, Starbucks also announced a total commitment of $50 million in investments to advance access to water, sanitation, and hygiene. Starbucks and Ecolab are exploring participation in this fund as part of each company's efforts to advance WASH.

“Water underpins every major global challenge. Addressing the global water and sanitation crisis is one of the best ways to build resilience to climate change, achieve global gender equality, and improve health and education,” said Matt Damon, Co-founder of WaterEquity and Water.org. “Our support from the Water Resilience Coalition helps us expand access to life-saving safe water at scale by mobilizing private companies to take collective action and put the needs of the most vulnerable front and center in their investment strategies. Through increasing access to water and sanitation, we can end the cycle of poverty once and for all.”

The WRC Investment Portfolio is the collective investment strategy of the Water Resilience Coalition, a partnership between the Pacific Institute and the UN Global Compact, to bring together CEOs of the world’s most influential companies to build a water-resilient future. Today, 28 leading global companies, as well as a range of partners, including WaterAid, Water.org, and Unicef, are currently part of the Coalition and commit to accelerating quantifiable positive water impact in 100 water-stressed basins, contributing to water security for 3 billion people, and enable equitable WASH access for more than 300 million people by 2030.

The launch of the WRC Investment Portfolio also offers a preview of a second major announcement by the CEO Water Mandate to mobilize the corporate sector during the first official Side Event of the UN 2023 Water Conference on 22 March in the UN Headquarters.

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Four Regional Climate Weeks in 2023 to Build Momentum for COP28

Four Regional Climate Weeks in 2023 to Build Momentum for COP28

March 19, 2023

Four Regional Climate Weeks will be held this year to build momentum ahead of COP28 and the conclusion of the first global stocktake, designed to chart how to fulfill the Paris Agreement’s key goals.

“The global stocktake is a critical turning point when it comes to efforts to address climate change – it’s a moment to take a close look at the state of our planet and to chart a better course for the future,” said the Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change Simon Stiell. “We need regional stakeholders to identify what works for them and to present plans and strategies at COP28 in Dubai which are regionally applicable. This will be a key role of the Regional Climate Weeks this year.”

The following Regional Climate Weeks are confirmed:

  • Africa Climate Week (ACW 2023), Nairobi, 4-8 September. Hosted by the government of Kenya, this event will be organized in parallel with the African Climate Action Summit (4-6 September), also hosted by Kenya.
  • Middle East and North Africa Climate Week (MENACW 2023), Riyadh, 9-12 October, and hosted by the government of Saudi Arabia.
  • Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week (LACCW 2023), Panama City, 23-27 October, hosted by the government of Panama.
  • Asia-Pacific Climate Week (APCW 2023) will also take place in the second half of 2023, with the venue and dates announced shortly.

Regional Climate Weeks bring together a diverse range of stakeholders for regional collaboration on climate change. Participants include representatives of governments, the private sector, development organizations, youth groups, and civil society opening space.  The events provide numerous opportunities to engage in solution-oriented dialogues, build new partnerships and collaborate on climate action projects.

This year’s Regional Climate Weeks aim to cluster key events ahead of COP28, which governments have mandated but are not part of the formal negotiating agenda.

All the Regional Climate Weeks will be delivered in close cooperation with global partners of UN Climate Change - the UN Development Program (UNDP), the UN Environment Program (UNEP), and the World Bank groups - as well as regional partners.

Information for event organizers and participants

Organizations wishing to propose to organize an event at one or several climate weeks will have the opportunity to do so when the UN Climate Change secretariat launches the call for expressions of interest in April.

Registration for participants in the regional climate weeks will also open closer to the climate weeks when further information about the program and logistics will be available on the Regional Climate Weeks website.

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Small businesses are key to a more sustainable and inclusive world. Here's why

Small businesses are key to a more sustainable and inclusive world. Here's why

March 15, 2023

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are a force to be reckoned with. They makeup 90% of businesses globally, create two out of every three jobs worldwide, support the livelihoods of over two billion people, and are indispensable to the smooth functioning of global supply chains.

Despite their enormous impact, many are not yet fully engaged on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. It is easy to understand why. The EU, for example, classifies small businesses as those with 11-49 people and revenues below €10 million a year. A medium-sized business has 50-249 people and annual revenues of up to €50 million.

Owners and managers in such firms have a lot on their plate, and fewer resources than their larger rivals. They may feel they lack the time, knowledge, capacity or funds to tackle problems like the climate crisis or discrimination against minorities. Others simply do not know where to start. But we do need SMEs to work for a better world – for their own sake and for everyone.

Why measuring up on ESG matters for SMEs

Despite the jargon, ESG is about doing all you can to stop or minimize any harmful effects of your business on the environment. It’s about treating your staff and your customers fairly, without discrimination. And it’s about obeying laws and doing the right thing for the places and the people where you operate throughout your supply chain.

These are guiding principles that any business should strive to work by. And they can deliver a raft of benefits, from reducing costs to managing the risk that things will go wrong, meaning the company will be forced to close.

Change is coming for SMEs whether they like it or not. ESG reporting standards and regulations are evolving fast. For example, the German Act on Due Diligence in Supply Chains, effective since January 2023, and a parallel EU initiative, the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive, are part of a growing global drive to oblige companies to carry out human rights and environmental due diligence across their supply chains. If required, companies must show they have identified actual or potential risks to people and the environment. The evidence must be obtained from suppliers or the suppliers’ own suppliers.

As a result, SMEs that fall behind on ESG risk losing valuable opportunities with big companies, particularly where regulation or capital depends on it, unless they can match the ESG standards of their customers.

To remain on the right side of clients, business partners, and regulators, SMEs must show they are meeting society’s social and governance expectations – and reducing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

But presenting smaller companies with a long ESG checklist and making compliance mandatory is not the best approach.

Making the business case for ESG

The right way is to frame ESG as a driver for innovation, impact, and growth, rather than as a compliance issue. At present, most SMEs view ESG programs as an unnecessary expense and don’t see the benefits. In UN Global Compact surveys, fewer than half of companies with a turnover under $25 million report on their sustainability performance. Among big groups with revenues above $1 billion, 94% do.

SMEs need to be shown the business case for adopting ESG: how it reduces risks and can help cement relationships with important clients. This is where larger companies with their greater access to technology, knowhow, and resources, can help. Indeed, some are already doing so.

The Italian energy group Eni, for example, has made an open-to-all digital platform, Open-es, available so companies can learn to measure and report their sustainability data in a way that is comparable and shareable. The platform has a social network built in to help companies find new partnership opportunities along the supply chain. To date, more than 4,000 companies from 76 countries have joined, and 80% are SMEs.

Ikea is another global company that works with its suppliers to create sustainable value chains. It helps SMEs access renewable energy by negotiating bundled clean power contracts for groups of suppliers. Ikea expects all of its suppliers to sign a code of conduct that takes its cue from the 10 Principles of the UN Global Compact. This sets clear expectations for environmental, social, and working conditions, as well as animal welfare. But the group also has a “staircase model” that helps suppliers continually improve their ESG performance.

The UN Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, also stands ready to help SMEs through its “Local Networks”. These operate in 69 countries and are uniquely positioned to help companies understand what responsible business means within different national, cultural, and language contexts. Its SME engagement strategy is developing specific resources and programs tailored to the needs and interests of SMEs.

SMEs must seize every opportunity to embrace and advance ESG because there is no time to waste. We only have a few years left to alter the trajectory of our GHG emissions, reduce global inequalities, and achieve the substance of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Individually, the contribution of each SME might be modest, but collectively they could make a whole world of a difference.

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“Mental Help” — free psychological assistance for Ukrainians

“Mental Help” — free psychological assistance for Ukrainians

March 15, 2023

To make psychological help available and convenient for Ukrainians, the UN Global Compact Network Ukraine has launched the “Mental Help” project. It aims to provide free psychological services to people affected by Russia’s war against Ukraine. The project has been developed with UKRSIBBANK BNP Paribas Group, Schneider Electric Corporation, Foundation de France, and the UN Global Compact Network France. 

The war in Ukraine has caused irreparable consequences not only to the physical but also to the psychological health of Ukrainians. According to the Minister of Healthcare, 15 million Ukrainians need psychological assistance. Unfortunately, not all Ukrainians can afford the services of a professional psychologist. However, everyone needs psychological support and care. After the end of the active phase of the war, the number of traumatized people will only increase.

Available online consultation platforms can partly address the challenge of psychological support and target those who are open to such assistance and have access to digital technologies. Consequently, it is essential to continue implementing the project in the future, assisting as many people as possible. That is why Network Ukraine started working on the community project centers, assisting all categories of people. In 2023, UNGC Ukraine aims to launch two community centers in Zaporizhzhia and Kryvyi Rih to provide psychological assistance offline and help Ukrainians overcome the trauma of the war.

The community centers aim to work with people who lost their loved ones or were injured, veterans, and their families to allow people to return to everyday life and be a practical part of the economy. The “Mental Help” project has gathered a team of professional psychologists ready to work with all Ukrainians experiencing the psychological impacts of the war. The project not only helps Ukrainians cope with the trauma of the war and regain psychological health but also provides a job for dozens of psychologists supporting the well-being of their fellow citizens. 

History of the project 

The “Mental Help” project was launched in March 2022. Its target audience was the employees of the UN Global Compact Network Ukraine’s Participants. During the first three days, specialists provided professional psychological assistance to over 300 people in therapy sessions. Psychologists also conducted several group training on self-support and parenting. In addition, they also offered private counseling to adults and children who left the war zones. Thanks to the support of partners, the project has been expanded to allow as many Ukrainians as possible to overcome traumas, restore psychological health, and return to full-fledged life. 

If you would like to support and become a partner of the “Mental Help” project, please get in touch with UN Global Compact Ukraine: help@globalcompact.org.ua.

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What Businesses Need to Know About the UN 2023 Water Conference

What Businesses Need to Know About the UN 2023 Water Conference

March 10, 2023

The UN 2023 Water Conference and the Water Action Agenda will take place at UN Headquarters in New York, March 22-24, 2023. Water is inextricably linked to the three pillars of sustainable development and integrates social, cultural, economic, and political values. It is crosscutting and supports the achievement of many SDGs through close linkages with climate, energy, cities, the environment, food security, poverty, gender equality, and health. With climate change profoundly affecting our economies, societies, and environment, water is the biggest deal breaker to achieving the internationally agreed water-related goals and targets, including those in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The UN Water Conference, co-hosted by the Governments of Tajikistan and the Netherlands, will feature an opening and closing ceremony, six plenary meetings, and five multi-stakeholder interactive dialogues. It will also feature several high-level special events and side events organized by Member States, the UN system, and other stakeholders. More information about the UN 2023 Water Conference can be found here.

Network USA is hosting multiple in-person events during the UN Water Conference (March 22-24) in NYC. For more information about these offerings, please contact Network USA’s Head of Programs, Claudia Herbert Colfer, at claudia@globalcompactusa.org.  

Network USA will also host the “The Business Case for Water Resilience” webinar on March 27 at 1:00 pm ET. This webinar will focus on key outcomes from the UN 2023 Water Conference and the ethical and business case for adopting water resilience and sustainability strategies. Participants will gain insight from leading companies and acquire practical tools and resources to implement water strategies. You can register here.

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New E-learning Course: How to be a male ally for gender equality

New E-learning Course: How to be a male ally for gender equality

March 8, 2023

The evidence is clear: Companies with a higher representation of women in the workforce have higher annual returns, greater share prices, and better acquisition and retention. Yet women remain underrepresented in all levels of the organization.

Men* have a critical role in fighting gender bias and giving women a seat at the table, and they have much to gain themselves from advancing equal rights in the workplace.

Developed by gender equality experts with the male leader in mind, this UN Global Compact Academy e-learning course will help you understand why and how you can be a male ally for gender equality. Access the new UN Global Compact e-learning course here.

By completing this 45-minute course, you will:

  • Understand the business case for male allyship
  • Discover what it means to be a male ally
  • Learn what concrete actions you can take
  • Hear from other male allies already taking action for gender equality

*Individuals who do not conform to these genders or pronouns are still encouraged to take this course to understand better how those in power positions can advocate for traditionally underrepresented or marginalized groups. For more information, please consult the UN guidelines for gender-inclusive language (in English).

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Applications Are Now Open for the 2023 Climate Ambition Accelerator

Applications Are Now Open for the 2023 Climate Ambition Accelerator

February 26, 2023

UN Global Compact Network USA is delighted to announce that applications are now open for the 2023 Climate Ambition Accelerator, a six-month program designed to help participating companies of Network USA set and advance ambitious science-based emission targets. Click here to apply to participate in the 2023 Climate Ambition Accelerator round.

Ambitious business leaders recognize that they don’t have to choose between climate action and to have strong economies and bottom lines. On the contrary — taking climate action is the best way to build healthier and thriving people, communities, businesses, and economies. The Climate Ambition Accelerator is a six-month program designed to equip companies with the knowledge and skills to accelerate progress towards setting science-based emissions reduction targets aligned with the 1.5℃ pathway, putting them on a path towards net-zero emissions by 2050. 

By partnering with the UN Global Compact Network USA, you’ll gain access to best practices, peer-to-peer learning opportunities, capacity-building sessions, and on-demand training.

2023 Timeline

Company registration: 22 February - 30 April 2023

Program begins: May 2023

Program ends: November 2023

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OCHA Business Brief: Türkiye/Syria Earthquake

OCHA Business Brief: Türkiye/Syria Earthquake

February 24, 2023

On 6 February 2023, two devastating earthquakes, measuring 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude on the Richter Scale, struck Kahramanmaraş, Türkiye. The initial earthquake was followed by over 3,100 aftershocks. Impacts have been felt across ten provinces in Türkiye as well as ten governorates in Syria, with the most severe impacts in Hatay, Kahramanmaras, and Gaziantep in Türkiye as well as Aleppo and Idleb in Syria.

The earthquakes and aftershocks have caused catastrophic devastation, with at least 9.1 million people directly impacted in Türkiye and an additional 8.8 million in Syria. As of 16 February, more than 41,000 people have been reported killed and tens of thousands more injured. These numbers likely under-represent the true scale of needs, which will become clearer as further assessments are concluded.

The earthquakes hit communities at the peak of winter, leaving hundreds of thousands of people —including small children and the elderly — without access to shelter, food, water, heaters and medical care in freezing cold temperatures.

This Business Brief provides guidance on how businesses can contribute to the humanitarian efforts underway. The brief is available for download here.

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UN Global Compact Network USA Releases SDG Innovation Report

UN Global Compact Network USA Releases SDG Innovation Report

February 17, 2023

On February 14, 2023, UN Global Compact Network USA released their SDG Innovation Report titled, "Aligning Business Innovation with the Sustainable Development Goals: Success Stories," at an invite-only launch event at ASU Thunderbird in Phoenix, AZ. The SDG Innovation Report is available for download here.

Adam Roy Gordon, Interim Executive Director of UN Global Compact Network USA, delivered the opening remarks, followed by Cynthia Muffuh, Head of Human Rights and Gender, UN Global Compact, who gave the introductory remarks. Next, Mary Teagarden, Deputy Dean of Knowledge Enterprise and Professor of Global Management at Thunderbird School of Global Management, provided an overview of the SDG Innovation Report.

In addition, Network USA  hosted a panel discussion highlighting Network USA's SDG Innovation Program for Young Professionals. Shirley-Ann Behravesh, Assistant Professor of Global Sustainable Enterprise at Thunderbird School of Global Management, moderated the discussion. Panelists included Olivier Lazar, Vice President of Youth and Social Impact, PMI; Vance Merolla, Vice President of Global Sustainability, Colgate-Palmolive Company; and Victoria Emerick, Executive Director and Global Head of Corporate Sustainability Strategy and Operations, Bristol-Myers Squibb.

The SDG Innovation Report discusses the importance of innovation in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals and offers guidance to companies on how they can innovate to reach the United Nations Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. Through years of operating this program with many of the world's largest companies, Network USA has identified several universal best practices that companies can employ to become sustainability change agents. In this report, Network USA shares the design logic, discusses rich implementation examples, shares its learnings, and recommends actionable steps companies can take to lead their businesses into a future as a force for good.

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Welcome Network USA's New Board Officers

Welcome Network USA's New Board Officers

February 15, 2023

UN Global Compact Network USA proudly welcomes our new slate of board officers. Daniella Foster of Bayer was elected the new Board Chair; Ann Tracy of Colgate-Palmolive was named Board Secretary; and Shobha Meera of Capgemini stepped in as interim Treasurer. They will join Gayle Schueller of 3M, the Vice Chair, on the executive committee.

Foster, an executive board member and senior vice president, and global head of public affairs, science, sustainability, and consumer health at Bayer, is in her sixth year of service to the Network USA board. She had previously served for two years as the board Secretary.

"I'm honored to be elected as the chair of Network USA and look forward to working with the entire board to advance the organization's growth," said Foster. "As one of the largest UNGC networks in the world, we have a great opportunity to help even more US companies embody and lean into the principles of the Global Compact and the Sustainable Development Goals."

Tracy is the chief sustainability officer at Colgate-Palmolive and is in her third year on the Network USA board. Meera is Capgemini's chief corporate social responsibility officer and has served on the board for two years.

"I'm confident that Ann will do a great job in her new role as Secretary, and I thank Shobha for stepping up to fill the Treasurer's position," said Foster.

Network USA currently has more than 900 signatory participants and works with them to identify sustainability challenges and opportunities, provide practical guidance, and promote action to support broader UN goals. In addition, it works closely with the UN Global Compact Office to ensure that its members have access to all programs and learning tools to help them progress against the Ten Principles and SDGs.

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UN Global Compact Network USA Appoints Two New Board Directors and Announces New Slate of Board Officers

UN Global Compact Network USA Appoints Two New Board Directors and Announces New Slate of Board Officers

February 14, 2023

UN Global Compact Network USA, today announced a new slate of board officers, as well as the appointment of two new directors.  Daniella Foster of Bayer was elected the new board chair; Ann Tracy of Colgate-Palmolive was named Secretary; and Shobha Meera of Capgemini stepped in as interim Treasurer.  They will join Gayle Schueller of 3M, the Vice Chair, on the executive committee. In addition, Michael Okoroafor of McCormick & Company and Brian Tippens of Cisco, have joined the board.

Foster, an executive board member and senior vice president and global head of public affairs, science, and sustainability, and consumer health at Bayer, is in her sixth year of service to the Network USA board.  She had previously served for two years as the board Secretary.

“I’m honored to be elected as the chair of Network USA and look forward to working with the entire board to advance the organization’s growth,” said Foster.  “As one of the largest UNGC networks in the world, we have a great opportunity to help even more US companies embody and lean into the principles of the Global Compact and the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Tracy is the chief sustainability officer at Colgate-Palmolive and is in her third year on the Network USA board.  Meera is the chief corporate social responsibility officer at Capgemini and has served on the board for two years.

“I'm confident that Ann will do a great job in her new role as Secretary, and I thank Shobha for stepping up to fill the Treasurer's position,” said Foster.  “Adding Brian and Michael to our board will only strengthen us in the years ahead, as they both bring great experience from their careers leading corporate sustainability programs and are passionate about the work of the Global Compact.”

Okoroafor is the chief sustainability officer at McCormick, a global leader in flavor that manufactures, markets, and distributes spices, seasonings, condiments, and other flavor products to the entire food industry. He has spearheaded the company’s Purpose-led Performance journey and its inclusion on several well-known indices and lists, including the Corporate Knights Global 100 Sustainability Index, where McCormick has been ranked as the top company in the food industry for the past seven years;  the FTSE4Good Index Series; and Fortune’s 2022 Change the World list.  Additionally, Okoroafor has helped McCormick obtain recognition as one of America’s Most JUST Companies by JUST Capital.  In 2020, he was named an Environment & Energy (E&E) Leader 100 honoree. In 2023, he will receive a Maryland International Business Leader Award for his work to promote Maryland as a global business hub. Okoroafor also serves on the board of Charter Next Generation and AMERIPEN (American Institute for Packaging and the Environment.) He previously served in various leadership roles at PPG, Coca-Cola, and Heinz.

Tippens is in his first year at Cisco, an American-based multinational digital communications technology corporation. He serves as Cisco’s senior vice president and chief social impact officer. He is a World Economic Forum contributor and a member of the Executive Leadership Council. He previously served as chief sustainability officer at HPE and was president of the HPE Foundation.  Earlier in Tippens’ career, he worked in the legal group at Intel.

In addition to the four executive committee members, Okoroafor and Tippens join Jennifer Leitsch of EY and Eunice Heath of CRH as current Network USA board directors.

Network USA currently has more than 900 signatory participants and works with them to identify sustainability challenges and opportunities, provide practical guidance, and promote action to support broader UN goals.  It works closely with the UN Global Compact Office to assure that its members have access to all programs and learning tools to help them make progress against the Ten Principles and SDGs.

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IMPACT STORY: As conflict rages in Ukraine, SEED program aims to revitalize entrepreneurial spirit

IMPACT STORY: As conflict rages in Ukraine, SEED program aims to revitalize entrepreneurial spirit

February 13, 2023

The global community has stood in admiration of the resilience and strength of Ukraine and its people under fire.

But such determination should come as little surprise after meeting Ukrainian agrarian entrepreneurs who have built businesses and realized dreams as part of the SEED educational project of the UN Global Compact.

Under the slogan “Ukraine needs agrarians,” SEED – which stands for Sustainable, Empowering, Ethical, and Diverse – supports small businesses working in agricultural entrepreneurship and sustainable development. It offers up-to-date knowledge of business processes and tools to entrepreneurs creating jobs for themselves, their families, and their communities.

The SEED program, launched in September 2021, helps promote Sustainable Development Goal 8, which calls for decent work and economic growth, SDG 9, which advocates for sustainable industrialization and SDG 12, which includes responsible and sustainable production, as well as the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact which promote human rights, labor rights, anti-corruption, and the environment. SEED grants are funded by the PepsiCo Foundation, MHP, Syngenta in Ukraine, and the UN Global Compact Network Ukraine. 

From all over Ukraine, 150 participants were selected for the SEED program. These businesses underwent a month of interactive training and strategic expert sessions with experienced specialists and managers from leading companies, studying project management, social media marketing, communications, financial literacy, investment, and legal issues. They also had individual mentoring sessions.

The project has taken on particular significance with the full-scale invasion by Russia, which has caused considerable losses to Ukrainian businesses, including those in the SEED project, said Tatiana Sakharuk, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact Network Ukraine.

Describing the preservation and well-being of Ukraine as “a common cause,” Sakharuk said: “The task of entrepreneurs now is to ensure Ukraine’s economic performance.

“It is the modernization of the Ukrainian agricultural sector that will allow it to overcome today's tough challenges,” she said.

After the training, companies pitched their best projects, and 15 received SEED grants to help fund their development.

One of the entrepreneurial business leaders benefitting from SEED is Victoria Kryveshchenko, who built a thriving quail poultry and egg company called Charivnyi Ptah (or “Magic Bird”) with her husband and family in the village of Peremoha, near Kyiv, starting in 2008. Their company was one of the top five producers of quail products in Ukraine and sold its fresh produce to French, German, and Ukrainian supermarket chains.

That came to a terrifying halt when Russian soldiers occupied their farm in March 2022.

The Russians decimated the business, and 70,000 birds died, shot by soldiers or felled by blasts of shelling. Soldiers destroyed the premises and ruined the equipment, the furniture, the car, and more, Kryveshchenko said. 

“They tried to steal everything,” she said through a translator. Only 2,000 birds survived.

But the company stayed put and is rebuilding its stock; now it is up to 15,000 birds.

“The Russian soldiers at our place said Ukrainians are crazy that they can stand this situation. They expected us to run away, to surrender,” Kryveshchenko said.

The tiny quail chicks are raised in incubators powered by a generator because the region often does not have electrical power for more than 10 hours a day. But running the generator is expensive, given the war-time cost of fuel.

The staff of 16 wants to work, but there’s not enough birds or business to keep them  busy.

“Step by step, we are trying to sell, but with small portions, not with the numbers before the Russians occupied,” she said.

A grant from the SEED programme in November provided funds to buy much-needed feed for the birds, which eat a mix of corn, wheat and vitamins.

“We try to live day by day, just to survive, to stay a bit normal,” Kryveshchenko said.

“We are very strong,” she said of her fellow Ukrainians. “We can survive even under such circumstances.”

Photo caption: Victoria Maslova and her mother Inna Skarzhynska started their skin care business in 2015.

Russian forces’ occupation of Bucha, about 30 km northwest of Kyiv, in March forced Victoria Maslova and her family to abandon the gardens, lab and manufacturing facilities where they produced herbal skin care products. Their business is called VESNA, which means ‘Spring.’

Maslova and her mother Inna Skarzhynska started VESNA in 2015, hoping to find solutions to skin problems they saw in their family and others, such as acne and pregnancy pigmentation.

“We couldn’t find it in the supermarkets, so we started doing it ourselves,” she said. “We had no money. We had only an idea. We started in the kitchen.”

Maslova studied cosmetology and marketing, and her mother learned chemistry. They grew coriander, nettle, rose amaranth, turmeric, and even algae. The business combined ancient recipes with modern techniques. It expanded to 10 employees producing plant-based facial care, body care, hair care, and a children’s line as well as private label products for other brands.

The last year before the full-scale war erupted, VESNA had three branded stores and more than 50 partners. It was distributing cosmetics in beauty salons and hotel complexes and selling its products on the international online marketplace Etsy.

VESNA was based in Bucha, invaded and occupied by Russian forces early in March 2022. The company managed to distribute all its goods to families hiding in nearby bomb shelters just one day before the Russians destroyed its store, office, laboratory and production facilities.

“After the occupation, everything was stolen. All the equipment was destroyed,” Maslova said.

She said that the business has relocated to Lviv, but the rebuilding process is difficult.

Equipment needs to be replaced for making cosmetics. That is very specific and very expensive, she said, and the business needs production facilities and trained staff. Many distribution and retail partners have closed or moved abroad, and delivery logistics are troublesome, she said.

Maslova said SEED funding helped VESNA replace equipment for making essential oils, a key component of its products.

When the war began, Maslova said she expected to pare production down to making  healing ointments and hand creams for Ukrainian troops, including skin care for female soldiers.

“They want to be beautiful, even in the army,” she said.

But she said that customers who took VESNA products in their luggage when they fled the invasion are now asking for more.

“They say their skincare care helps them. The beauty routine helps them psychologically,” she said.

In rebuilding, VESNA is not only making all its previous items but has added products called for by the circumstances, like aroma candles in demand by so many Ukrainians without electricity; she said

Then there's a new men's skincare line, designed especially for those in the military, she said.

The line is called “I need ammunition, not a ride” after the resolute statement by Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky when he rejected offers for him to leave the country at the start of the invasion.

Other SEED nominees and winners in Ukraine include the brand "Berry Side of Life," which grows produce in the Kyiv region. In the spring of 2022, its village fell under Russian occupation, and the planting of berries was delayed.

In the Kherson region, Volodymyr Zhdanov’s family-owned business of loofah cultivation, another SEED winner, also was thwarted by occupying forces. The family could not reap its loofah crop and suffered losses, but Zhdanov is anxiously hoping for his native village to be liberated to begin business again.

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UN Global Compact Network USA Helps US Companies Elevate Their Sustainable Development Goals Agenda

UN Global Compact Network USA Helps US Companies Elevate Their Sustainable Development Goals Agenda

February 1, 2023

NEW YORK, NY: (Feb. 1, 2023) – Progress against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) have stalled over the course of the past two years. There are myriad causes for this in the United States, including lack of environmental regulation, food shortages and deserts, and widening inequalities. Rather than progress, global greenhouse gas emissions are set to increase by almost 14% over the current decade, even with current national commitments. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a multiplying effect that continues to exacerbate these issues.

The US private sector is a critical lever for generating much-needed solutions globally. Agenda 2030 envisions a secure world free of poverty, hunger and an end to environmental degradation, and achieving this will require companies to increase their ambition on the SDGs. The US private sector must have a trusted partner to navigate these complex issues, making the value of a partnership with the UN Global Compact’s Network USA even more critical to our nation's business community.

"I encourage any organization that has not yet signed the Compact to join now because we need you," said Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. “Resolution of the intractable problems we face cannot come from governments alone. We need non-government organizations (NGO) and civil society, we need academics and scholars, and we most certainly need the business community."

Network USA is the Local Network chapter of the United Nations Global Compact, supporting US businesses and subsidiaries of multinational corporations in implementing the UN Global Compact’s Ten Principles and SDGs. Network USA currently has more than 900 signatory companies and works with them to identify sustainability challenges and opportunities, provide practical guidance, and promote action supporting broader UN goals.

Member companies often take advantage of the Accelerators: educational programs designed to train internal teams to help generate behavior change across companies. These Accelerators help companies understand and implement practical solutions to integrating the 17 SDGs into core business management‍, and train future business leaders to develop, drive, and scale innovative solutions through new technologies and inclusive business models. Network USA is growing its staff in 2023 and developing additional accelerator programming in diversity, equity, and inclusion to meet the growing demand for guidance and support from the private sector.

During last September’s UN General Assembly, Network USA hosted SDG Summit USA. This sold-out event welcomed over 400 attendees and brought together nearly 200 US companies who actively support the UN Secretary General's call to align their strategies and operations with universal principles. In addition, Network USA showcased the actions of the US private sector through a series of panel discussions highlighting steps companies can take to increase ambition, innovation, and implementation of the SDGs into core business operations. 

"Businesses have become increasingly more trusted on the global stage; therefore, expectations for companies to do more for society have increased. Businesses are seen and expected to take a positive leadership role in all elements," said Sanda Ojiambo, Assistant Secretary-General, Executive Director, and CEO of the UN Global Compact.

She emphasized the need for US companies to integrate sustainability throughout their operations. "We have also seen a shift in how the private sector views sustainability and its role in securing a company's future," said Ojiambo. "We took a recent survey of signatories, and it told us that companies are becoming more interested in sustainability as one of the critical drivers for responsible business and strengthening their brand perception."

Achieving Agenda 2030 and meeting the demands of the present moment for future generations will require accelerating our collective efforts. Therefore, companies must identify and strategically prioritize actions that will advance their contribution to global goals and set aggressive targets with absolute benchmarks. Network USA is committed to working with American companies to drive this progress forward.

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Letter from Sanda Ojiambo, Executive Director & CEO of the UN Global Compact

Letter from Sanda Ojiambo, Executive Director & CEO of the UN Global Compact

January 24, 2023

With 2023 underway, there’s no doubt we live in a fragile, fractured world. The war in Ukraine, energy and food crises, climate change, extreme weather, threats to democracy, the ongoing pandemic, and many other headwinds like inflation, currency fluctuation, and looming recession undermine our efforts for a sustainable world.

These are global challenges we must rally behind addressing. Let’s make sure that 2023 is a year that turns the tide back to progress. Solutions are always near. We have several important opportunities that can contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive world.

With the world facing extraordinary crises, the UN Global Compact and its 62 Local Networks are supporting companies to take measurable, accountable actions for a sustainable world. It’s the right thing to do and good for business.

This year, I’d particularly like to call on CEOs and challenge them to be bolder and more ambitious in how they lead their companies. Indeed, many of our participating CEOs are already making major contributions. We must recognize and appreciate these efforts in difficult times. However, we need everyone to give an extra push.

For business, taking a principles-based, sustainable approach improves long-term business outcomes and competitiveness while assuring greater inclusion and equality.

The UN’s 2023 SDG Summit in September will mark the halfway point of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and take stock of where we are and need to be. This will be a critical milestone and a significant opportunity for companies and stakeholders to announce ambitious and credible actions and targets.

We have a real opportunity to revive efforts toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Now is the time for leadership. With governments and other stakeholders, the private sector must be bold. We expect our participants to drive positive impacts across the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact. This year, we believe it is especially important for businesses to take action to address five areas:

1. living wage

2. climate change

3. gender equality

4. water stewardship

5. sustainable finance

These are the five areas we believe the private sector can make the greatest impact on accelerating progress across the Global Goals. Acting on these areas can also drive business opportunities through inclusivity, better business, and mobilizing capital.

Climate change remains the existential threat to this planet, threatens the global economy, and impedes progress on the Sustainable Development Goals. That’s why UN Secretary-General António Guterres has also announced the Climate Ambition Summit in September and called on every leader to step up and bring new, credible, serious climate actions.

This includes a call to companies to set science-based targets and support the achievement of the Paris Agreement. Let’s not forget we need to do this for the young people and future generations calling for action to achieve the Paris Agreement.

Last year’s report, Integrity Matters, by the UN High-Level Expert Group on Net-Zero Commitments, provides a how-to guide to ensure credible, accountable net-zero pledges. Actions by the private sector and others around these recommendations will be vital to the Climate Ambition Summit and the next steps we take as we look to COP 28.

We need strong, at-scale private sector leaders ready to be ambitious, innovative, and partner. In the year ahead, it will be critical for participants of the UN Global Compact and the broader private sector community to do even more.

At the UN Global Compact, we work towards building a global cohort of responsible businesses that are a force for good. In 2022, 90% of participant companies surveyed confirmed that the UN Global Compact helped them advance corporate responsibility policies and practices.

Last year, we went from being present in 69 countries to 96 countries, and our participants surpassed 17,000 companies and 3,000 non-business participants, representing nearly every sector and size.

We launched our 12th CEO Study earlier this month, drawing on insights from more than 2,600 CEOs across 128 countries and 18 industries.

According to the study, CEOs face an enormously challenging global context, with the vast majority (93%) experiencing ten or more simultaneous challenges to their businesses, and most (87%) warning that current levels of disruption will limit delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals.

But there is room for hope. Nearly all CEOs surveyed (98%) agree that sustainability is core to their role. They increasingly recognize they can build credibility and brand value by committing to the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact and the Sustainable Development Goals throughout their operations.

This is one of the reasons why we are excited to launch our enhanced Communication on Progress for participants this year.

The enhanced Communication on Progress will support decision-making processes and help businesses measure progress in a standardized way that supports recognition, transparency, and comparability of corporate actions. We will require all participants to disclose progress using a new digital platform to add value and streamline reporting on the Ten Principles.

Now, more than ever, we must pair our ambitions with credibility and accountability to ensure we make real change.

Together, we can address many challenges we face in 2023 and beyond. I’m excited about the opportunities before us. I look forward to your continued participation in the UN Global Compact and helping to drive progress towards a more sustainable world.

Sincerely,

Sanda Ojiambo

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The 12th United Nations Global Compact–Accenture CEO Study

The 12th United Nations Global Compact–Accenture CEO Study

January 18, 2023

CEOs are facing an enormously challenging global context, with the vast majority (93%) experiencing ten or more simultaneous challenges to their businesses and 87% warning that current levels of disruption will limit delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) finds the most extensive CEO study on sustainability ever conducted by the UN Global Compact and Accenture (NYSE: ACN). While CEOs are increasingly concerned about these headwinds, nearly all (98%) agree that sustainability is core to their role. This sentiment has grown 15 percentage points over the last ten years of the study.

The 12th United Nations Global Compact-Accenture CEO Study draws on insights from more than 2,600 CEOs across 128 countries, 18 industries, and over 130 in-depth interviews—making this the largest-ever sampling of executives, including the biggest group of CEOs from the Global South, since the start of the CEO study program in 2007. In the study, CEOs forewarn the impact of converging setbacks for business and society, from faltering multilateralism and socioeconomic instability to supply-chain interruptions and the immediate effects of climate change.

“In a world categorized by conflict, energy shortages, rising inflation, and the threat of recession, this year’s study shows CEOs do not believe the world is as resilient to crises as we may have hoped. Businesses continue to be impacted by multiple shocks. As a result, on a broad range of issues, from runaway climate change to widening social and economic inequalities, business action right now does not match the ambition and pace needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030,” said Sanda Ojiambo, Assistant Secretary General, CEO and Executive Director UN Global Compact.

As these challenges stack up, CEOs point to global issues that traditionally lie outside the corporate sphere—such as climate change or socio-political conflicts—as reasons for worry about over-delivering value and impact for all stakeholders. With only eight years left to rescue the SDGs, nearly half (43%) of CEOs globally say their sustainability efforts have been hampered due to the geopolitical environment. That number is even higher for CEOs from developing countries (51%). When examining net zero targets set by the world’s largest companies, Accenture also found that nearly all will miss their targets unless they double the rate of carbon emissions reductions by 2030.

However, some CEOs continue to make a significant impact and show clear pockets of success that deliver shared stakeholder value and competitive advantage in their industries. They are reshaping the future of sustainable development through innovation and collaboration. Two-thirds of CEOs (66%) say their companies engage in long-term strategic partnerships to build resilience. These leaders are reconfiguring underlying supply chains, reskilling their workforces, reassessing their relationship with natural resources, and reimagining planetary boundaries through technological breakthroughs spanning physical, digital, and biological solutions.

“Not meeting the promise of the SDGs is a real concern but, at the same time, an enormous opportunity for companies that reinvent their enterprises and harness sustainability as one of the key forces of change in the next decade,” said Peter Lacy, Accenture’s global Sustainability Services lead and chief responsibility officer. “CEOs are concerned about resilience, but one leader’s resilience is another leader’s growth opportunity. New waves of technology investments and breakthrough innovation can put the SDGs back within reach – but only if leaders turn to sustainability for resilience to help create new markets, products, and services that can correct the current trajectory and drive growth amid times of disruption.”

CEOs also identify a clear need to focus on technology to find solutions to tackle global challenges and drive growth. Leading CEOs are already embedding sustainability into their businesses through launching new products and services for sustainability (63%), enhancing sustainability data collection across their value chains (55%), and investing in renewable energy sources (49%). In addition, nearly half (49%) are transitioning to circular business models, and 40% are increasing R&D funding for sustainable innovation.

In their interviews, CEOs identify key initiatives to build resilience for companies, from establishing science-based climate targets and investing in their workforce’s diversity to engaging in cross-industry partnerships on technology solutions, enhancing supply chain visibility, and advancing more incredible biodiversity. In addition, CEOs continue calling for government engagement on policy changes1 that prioritize measurable long-term objectives such as standardized ESG reporting frameworks, a global market for carbon, and incentives for sustainable business models.

“Despite setbacks, there is room for hope. The CEOs we surveyed increasingly recognize they can build credibility and brand value by committing to the Ten Principles and the Sustainable Development Goals throughout their operations– not only because it’s the right thing to do but also because it is a good business sense,” added Ojiambo.

About the CEO Study Program

The CEO Study program, developed by the UN Global Compact and Accenture, aims to enhance understanding and commitment between the United Nations and the private sector. The program is an extensive review of the advancing corporate sustainability movement, and the publications coalesce dominant views of CEOs, business leaders, and UN executives to track developments in sustainability.

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Network USA Events at GreenBiz 23

Network USA Events at GreenBiz 23

January 17, 2023

Today's sustainability professional is under pressure to do more, and faster than ever before. Over 1,600 sustainable business leaders will gather for GreenBiz 23 (February 14-16, Scottsdale, AZ) to harness the knowledge of experts, peers, and new voices that will help achieve net zero, advance the circular economy, elevate social justice, safeguard biodiversity, build resilient supply chains and more. 

GreenBiz 23 will address social and environmental sustainability within the business context, focusing on large, mainstream companies. The event will also engage leaders beyond the sustainability function, including CEOs, CFOs, COOs, CIOs, heads of the legal, supply chain, human resources, investor relations, and others. The GreenBiz 23 program will focus on "looking around corners" to understand near- and longer-term risks and opportunities across the sustainability landscape. Mainstage keynotes and targeted breakouts address the race to net zero; finance and ESG; circularity; supply chain resilience; storytelling, and how to effectively lead change. By attending, you'll gain access to inspiring keynotes, engaging breakout sessions, and valuable networking that will help you address the complex issues on your plate at the scale, scope, and speed required. Network USA is pleased to offer companies a 20% discount code to attend the conference (use code GB23UNGC at checkout).

During GreenBiz 23, UN Global Compact Network USA will host several events. On Tuesday, February 14, 2023, from 9:00 AM -11:00 AM (MT), Network USA will launch its SDG Innovation Report at ASU Thunderbird in Phoenix, AZ. This report discusses the importance of innovation in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals and offers guidance to companies on how they can innovate to reach the United Nations Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. In-person tickets to Network USA's SDG Innovation Report launch event are limited and available on a first-come, first-serve basis. You can request an in-person ticket here or register to join the event online here

In addition, Network USA will host a series of invite-only roundtables at GreenBiz 2023 throughout the day on February 15, 2023. Companies will share their views on the UN Global Compact to help inform how the United Nations engages US companies on corporate sustainability. Companies interested in attending this event can request an invitation here.

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What Business Needs to Know about COP15

What Business Needs to Know about COP15

January 17, 2023

Biodiversity, the variety of life in the natural world, is declining at the fastest rate in human history. The last crisis of this scale led to the extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago. The survival of ecosystems, whether it’s coral reefs, deserts, or rainforests, depend on a diverse array of insects, plants, and animals. These organisms function like a complicated web, creating the processes upon which all life depends. Biodiversity underpins the global food system, soil and air quality, medicine, pollination and pest control, and climate regulation. Currently, over a million plants and animals are at risk of extinction, posing an existential threat to the natural environment and the human species. In the words of the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, “We are committing suicide by proxy.”

While humans are behind every significant driver of biodiversity loss—overfishing, hunting, mining, logging, climate change, and pollution- humanity also has the power to reverse course and restore our planet’s diverse ecosystems.

The scale and stakes of the biodiversity crisis prompted nearly 200 countries to convene last month in Montreal, Canada at the Biodiversity Conference of the Parties (COP15). Following two weeks of tense negotiations, delegates adopted the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), the most ambitious international conservation effort to date. Likened to the 1.5°C temperature target set out by the Paris Agreement, the GBF outlines four overarching goals and 23 specific targets to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030.

Key outcomes from the Global Biodiversity Framework include:

  • 30x30 target. One of the most highly publicized and ambitious targets, within the GBF, aims to conserve 30% of the world’s land and 30% of its oceans by 2030. 
  • Financial packages promising $30 billion per year to support developing countries’ conservation initiatives by 2030. Funding for biodiversity efforts in developing nations sparked a contentious debate. After weeks of negotiations and disagreements, developed countries agreed to provide $25 billion in annual financial support, starting in 2025 and ramping up to $30 billion annually by 2030.
  • Pledge to protect the rights of indigenous communities and recognize the role of indigenous persons as stewards of the natural world. Indigenous lands contain 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity. Acknowledging the wisdom of indigenous communities and safeguarding land rights distinguishes this framework from historic conservation agreements. It also lays the foundation for greater participation of indigenous voices in decision-making processes and conservation work.
  • Efforts to increase funding from public and private sector sources to at least $200 billion per year for biodiversity efforts.
  • Measures to address unsustainable consumption and production, including a target to reduce global food waste 50% by 2030.

The United States was one of two countries that did not sign the GBF (the other being the Holy See). Despite this, the United States’ biodiversity envoy attended the conference and pledged $600 million in monetary support to the UN fund for climate and biodiversity over the next four years. President Biden also passed an executive order to mirror the GBF, committing to protect 30% of the United States’ land and waters.

“Profit and Protection Go Hand-in-Hand”

An overarching theme of the summit recognized the vital role businesses play in achieving biodiversity goals. The lofty objectives set out in the GBF require more than conservation initiatives; halting and reversing biodiversity requires widescale socio-economic transformation toward sustainable consumption and production models. Businesses must redefine their relationship with nature in a way that “recognize(s) that profit and protection go hand-in-hand.” A record number of private sector parties (between 700 and 1,000) responded to this call-to-action by attending the summit in Montreal. According to Elizabeth Mrema, the head of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, "[Business are starting to understand]… the impact of their operations on nature, the nature biodiversity which we all depend on and (they) also depend (on) for their businesses. If they are not part of the framework, their businesses will also suffer."

For the first time in a multi-lateral agreement, the BDF commits businesses to specific targets aimed at preserving the natural environment, a first step in redefining the corporate-nature nexus. While the United States is not a signatory, the GBF impacts Network USA businesses both directly and through their value chains. Businesses within Network USA have a responsibility to align with international efforts and set an example of corporate environmental stewardship within the U.S marketplace.

The Global Biodiversity Framework includes several targets specific to business:

  • A mandate for large transnational companies and financial institutions to assess and disclose their risks, dependencies, and impacts on biodiversity across their operations, supply chain, and value chain. Businesses are also expected to provide consumers with information encouraging sustainable consumption patterns.
  • Pressure on governments to phase out and reform $500 billion per year in subsidies that harm the environment (i.e., money for oil and gas, agriculture, fisheries, and more). At the same time, the target seeks to ramp up incentives to encourage companies to choose nature-positive outcomes.

Outside of formal negotiations, businesses and organizations collaborated on efforts to rally corporate ambition for nature. Initiatives include:

  • Nature Action 100, which launched as a way for investors to engage with the companies most dedicated to preventing the loss of nature and biodiversity.
  • Climate Fund for Nature, launched by Kering and L’Occitane, invests $300 million in nature-based solutions.

The landmark agreements at COP15 mark a turning point in global ambition to restore the natural world. The success of the GBF, however, depends on the implementation of these targets moving forward.

How can your business support the planet and reverse the decline in biodiversity?

  • Invest in nature. Overhauling a market system from one that exploits nature to one that rebuilds and restores biodiversity, will take an estimated $900 billion per year. The role of business is fundamental in funding these targets. At COP15, Eva Stabel, Executive Director of Business for Nature, stressed, "There will be no economy, there will be no business on a dead planet." Nature is businesses’ most important asset, and thus companies need to start investing in nature as capital.
  • Set goals, then measure and report the impact of your business on biodiversity. Business for Nature, a group of 330 businesses, is calling for a disclosure framework for businesses to report their impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity. While momentum is growing considerably around carbon and climate change reporting, an assessment by the World Benchmarking Analysis found that under 5% of corporations understand their impact on nature. To “make peace with nature,” businesses must first develop a deep understanding of how their operations, supply and value chain, and portfolios impact the natural world.

COP15 provides a framework to begin healing humanity’s relationship with nature. COP16, the next United Nations Biodiversity Conference, will take place in Turkey in 2024 and evaluate global progress on the GBF. For the world to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, the next year and a half is critical. Between now and 2024, businesses must make strides to transform the socio-economic system toward one that restores and protects our ecosystems.

Network USA will host programming in 2023 to engage businesses on this important topic. These programs will equip businesses with tools, resources, and partnerships to start integrating the targets of the GBF into business practice. Stay tuned for more details and information on Network USA’s upcoming biodiversity events.

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New E-learning Courses: Biodiversity, Anti-corruption and Transformational Governance

New E-learning Courses: Biodiversity, Anti-corruption and Transformational Governance

January 17, 2023

Start the new year by honing your foundational corporate sustainability skills with three new e-learning courses from the UN Global Compact Academy.

Biodiversity fundamentals: 

The business case for action Developed in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme - World Conservation Monitoring Centre, this 60-minute e-learning course will help you transition to nature-positive business practices by learning from pioneering companies already taking action. Click here to learn more. 

Taking Collective Action for Anti-corruption: 

This 30-minute course introduces you to the Collective Action methodology, a six-step approach to addressing corruption challenges and mitigating potential business risks. Click here to learn more. 

Transformational Governance: 

Driving responsible business conduct In this 30-minute e-learning course, learn about transformational governance — a hands-on framework for business leaders to address these rising demands by adopting a broader approach to their internal and external governance. Click here to learn more.

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A New Way to Communicate your Progress is Coming 2023

A New Way to Communicate your Progress is Coming 2023

December 5, 2022

We are excited to announce the launch of a new Communication on Progress (CoP) platform in 2023. The enhanced Communication on Progress offers many benefits to participants.

With the introduction of the new Communication on Progress, we will transition from a narrative format to a standardized questionnaire supported by a digital platform. All participants must disclose their progress using the new Communication on Progress system beginning in 2023. Prepare now by reviewing the new CoP Guidebook, designed to help you complete the questionnaire portion of the CoP.

Why the new CoP is better

The new Communication on Progress will result in improved data that drives sustainability progress and enables participating companies like yours to:

Build credibility and brand value by showing their commitment to the Ten Principles and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Measure and demonstrate progress to stakeholders on the Ten Principles and the Sustainable Development Goals in a consistent and harmonized way.

Receive insight, learn, and continuously improve performance by identifying gaps, accessing guidance, and setting sustainability goals.

Compare progress against peers with access to one of the largest sources of free, public and comparable corporate sustainability data.

We will also introduce a universal submission period from 1 March through 30 June each year starting in 2023.

What’s in the Guidebook

●        Information on calculation methodologies and rationale

●        Linkages to relevant sustainability reporting standards

●        Glossary of terms used in the CoP questionnaire

●        Answers to frequently asked questions

About the Enhanced Communication on Progress

1.       What is the enhanced Communication on Progress (CoP)?

To add value to business participants and align with the latest reporting trends, the CoP has been enhanced to strengthen transparency and help companies improve performance on the Ten Principles. To this end, the enhanced CoP now consists of two requirements: A CEO statement of continued support and a new standardized CoP questionnaire. The CEO statement is a standardized template, electronically signed, and signals a participant's commitment to the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact at the highest level. The CoP questionnaire spans five topic areas and is designed to help participating companies monitor and guide progress against the Ten Principles. The CEO statement and questionnaire will need to be completed annually via the new CoP digital platform.

2.       When can I report with the enhanced CoP?

The Universal Submission Period will be from 1 March to 30 June annually. Business participants must report and submit their CoP during this period to retain their “active” Global Compact status. See the new CoP policy for details.

3.       What resources are available to help me prepare?

We encourage participating companies to become familiar with the enhanced CoP questionnaire by reviewing the questionnaire template and CoP Guidebook. The Guidebook contains information and rationale for each question, a data checklist to help prepare and organize company data before reporting, and a glossary that defines terms used throughout the questionnaire. Business participants can also access recordings of this summer’s information sessions that review the CoP policy, requirements, and section deep dives for additional information.

4.       Where will I report the enhanced CoP?

Participants are required to complete and submit their CoP digitally through the new CoP platform, available through their participant dashboard. The platform will be accessible to participants on 1 March 2023.

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Information for Small and Medium Enterprises in Network USA

Information for Small and Medium Enterprises in Network USA

December 1, 2022

 UN Global Compact Network USA (Network USA) is one of 69 Local Networks offering support to companies who seek to advance the 10 Principles of the UN Global Compact around the world via their business practices. Companies that join the UN Global Compact receive best practice guidance, tools, resources, training that considers the US market and our footprint in the global business landscape, and support that equips them with the foremost sustainability knowledge as they pursue their sustainability efforts.

This document was created to provide you with a reminder of the wide range of benefits you receive as a participant of the UN Global Compact and details of your mandatory annual contribution.

About Your Participation

- Understanding companies’ resource constraints, we offer numerous benefits as a participant, including:

- Unprecedented networking access with UN Global Compact participants from more than 160 countries

- Access to partnerships with a diverse set of stakeholders.

- Programming support, which includes  Webinars, Events, Accelerators, Academy Resources, and Thought Leadership pieces.

- Ability to build trust and transparency with employees and other stakeholders.

- A chance to help shape the global corporate sustainability agenda.

About Your Contribution

Participating companies in the UN Global Compact must make a financial contribution based on company revenues, as communicated in January 2022 via the 2022 Annual Letter to UN Global Compact Participants from UN Global Compact Executive Director and CEO Sanda Ojiambo. Details on payments and invoicing have been sent to you by our finance department. The following is important information about your contribution:

- All companies must pay their invoice before December 1, 2023.

- The contribution requirements are as follows: $1,250 (company revenue between $25M-$50M) or $625 (company revenue between $5M-$25M)

- Update your revenue and points of contact on your UNGC Participant Profile, ensuring that the right individuals within your organization have access to your profile and receive updates in a timely manner.

Your Investment Matters

We are committed to supporting your sustainability journey and encourage you to get involved with our extensive resources. Your investment directly contributes to this growth and development.

For more information and updates, please visit our website or contact our team at engage@globalcompactusa.org. For invoicing questions, please contact finance@globalcompactusa.org

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COP 27: Companies Overcoming Climate Change

COP 27: Companies Overcoming Climate Change

November 28, 2022

The UN Global Compact brought together representatives from the United Nations, governments, and the private sector at the 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) in Sharm El Sheikh to galvanize the private sector and industry to assess better environmental risks and opportunities, set and deliver ambitious climate targets, and adopt responsible practices for the transition to a net-zero and resilient world.  

During COP27, the world reached a critical milestone: the UN reported last week that the global population hit the 8 billion mark. That's the number of people who now call this planet home, and 8 billion lives are at risk from climate change and its catastrophic impacts. Those in poor, climate-vulnerable countries are hit the hardest.

  "The voices of those on the frontlines of the climate crisis must be heard," stressed United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. Speaking from Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt after the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 27), he affirmed, "This COP has taken an important step toward justice."

 According to Edelman's second annual Trust Barometer Special Report: Trust and Climate Change, a global survey of 14,000 people in 14 countries, there are fears that as the climate crisis worsens, business is not trusted to do what is necessary to respond.

 Sanda Ojiambo, Assistant Secretary-General, and CEO, of UN Global Compact, speaking during the global climate conference, emphasized the importance of private sector action to tackle the climate crisis:

"We have less than ten years left to shift the world onto a 1.5C trajectory, reduce global inequalities and achieve the substance of the SDG Agenda. Our changing climate means, more than ever, that we are running out of time. It really is now or never for the private sector to turn their bold commitments into tangible solutions to protect our planet and our collective future. The UN Global Compact looks forward to continuing our work with businesses all over the world to accelerate our transition to net-zero."

During COP27, over 50 leading CEOs from across the African continent who are part of the Africa Business Leaders Coalition (ABLC) presented the Africa Business Leaders' Climate Statement outlining key commitments companies can make to galvanize climate action. The signatories also called for the global community to fulfill their climate commitments and create an enabling environment for the private sector to unlock climate finance and invest in bankable projects. 

The UN Global Compact, the UN Environment Program (UNEP), and the UN Climate Change (UNFCCC) also brought together senior executives of business, industry, finance, civil society, the United Nations, and Government at the High-Level Meeting of Caring for Climate. Those present discussed how to bring forward a strong business message of climate ambition and discussed tangible solutions that lead to sustainable economic growth to realize the goals of the Paris Agreement. 

The UN Global Compact also hosted its third annual Uniting Business Africa event with the Africa Hub and Local Networks in Africa. The event focused on how the private sector can accelerate and support climate change initiatives across Africa. Discussions addressed the challenges, successes, and next steps towards implementing green supply chain policies and practices, the importance of food security and adaptation for the region, and renewable energy access and climate resilience. 

After marathon negotiations, COP 27 concluded with a long-sought agreement on a fund to help developing nations with loss and damage inflicted by a crisis they did little to cause. While the deal was historic, efforts to keep polluters in check and the goals of the Paris Agreement within reach fell short – signaling that it will take new levels of ambition to ensure a livable future for all 8 billion of us and future generations.

In a follow-up to COP27, the UN Global Compact, in collaboration with UN Global Compact Network USA, will be hosting a webinar titled "COP27 Debrief: What's Next for the Private Sector?" on December 6, 2022, at 9:00 am 10:00 pm ET. This special debrief will help companies understand the key outcomes of COP27 for the private sector. In addition, climate action champions and senior advisers from the UN Secretary-General's Climate Action team will provide context and nuance to the main headlines and share priorities for corporate action to drive progress leading up to COP28 in Dubai next year. 

To Register, click here. 

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CEQ Launches Global Net-Zero Government Initiative

CEQ Launches Global Net-Zero Government Initiative

November 21, 2022

At the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP27), the United States launched the Net-Zero Government Initiative, inviting governments to lead by example and achieve net-zero emissions from national government operations by no later than 2050. During a COP27 event with partner nations, Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory and U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry announced that 18 countries have joined the United States in this new Initiative.

Countries joining the United States in committing to net-zero government emissions include: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Lithuania, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

“The Net-Zero Government Initiative demonstrates that there is a growing global consensus about the role of governments in the transition,” said Secretary Kerry. “Through this Initiative, countries’ governments lead by example and send multi-market demand signals for clean technology, products and services that will spur markets.”

“The United States is proud to launch the Net-Zero Government Initiative and welcomes the partnership of each nation that has joined us,” said Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory. “There is much that governments can learn from one another—and inspiration we can draw from each other’s successes as we work to accelerate progress towards net-zero emissions across the globe.”

By joining this Initiative, countries are collectively underscoring the critical leadership role governments can play. National governments are frequently the largest employers, electricity consumers, vehicle fleet owners, real estate holders, and purchasers of goods and services in their countries. Governments committing and acting to reduce their own emissions can play a catalytic role in accelerating economy-wide actions, driving zero-carbon technologies and markets, and lowering decarbonization costs across all sectors.

Countries that participate in the Net-Zero Government Initiative commit to achieving net-zero emissions from national government operations by no later than 2050, developing a roadmap by COP28 that outlines the pathway for achieving the net-zero commitment with interim targets, and publishing the roadmap upon completion.

Many countries are already taking steps to green their government operations by transitioning to clean vehicle fleets, advancing energy efficient and sustainable government buildings, expanding carbon-free electricity for government operations, pursuing resilience and nature-based solutions, and advancing sustainable public procurement policies. For example, President Biden’s Federal Sustainability Plan directs the U.S. government to achieve net-zero emissions across its operations by 2050 by transitioning Federal infrastructure to zero-emission vehicles and energy efficient buildings powered by carbon pollution-free electricity.

Watch the livestream of the event here.

Throughout COP27, the United States announced several new steps to help reach President Biden’s Federal sustainability goals:

  • On November 16, 2022, the United States announced additional countries committing to the Zero-Emission Government Fleet Declaration, which was launched by the United States under the Clean Energy Ministerial’s Electric Vehicle Initiative at the Global Clean Energy Action Forum in September 2022.

WHAT Net-Zero Government Initiative PARTNER COUNTRIES ARE SAYING

“President Biden raised our government’s climate ambition by setting the historic goal for all Federal operations reaching net-zero emissions by 2050,” said White House Federal Chief Sustainability Officer Andrew Mayock. “The U.S. Government is now joined by 18 national governments committed to attaining net-zero government emissions by 2050. Through this Initiative, national governments will work together to steadily curb emissions in ways that meet the urgency of the climate crisis.”

“The Albanese Government has new ambitious targets and we’ve set the bar high for the Australian Public Service to help drive down emissions across the Australian economy and open up economic opportunities,” said Australia’s Minister for Climate Change and Energy, the Honorable Chris Bowen MP. “Australia has the potential to be a renewable energy superpower and the Australian Public Service will be supporting the development of new industries and strengthening international trade relations.”

“Austria will be climate neutral by 2040,” said Austria’s Minister of Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology, the Honorable Leonore Gewessler. “To serve as a role model for broader society, we adopted an ambitious national sustainable public procurement plan in 2021.”

“Countries around the world are taking action to achieve net-zero government operations and drive down national GHG emissions,” said the Honorable Mona Fortier, President of the Treasury Board, Government of Canada. “Canada is proud to join the Net-Zero Government Initiative. Through this important initiative, we are taking action together on climate change and contributing to a healthier planet.”

“Reducing emissions from public administrations is a priority for France and government must be exemplary in this respect, as planned in the French plan for sufficiency,” said France’s Minister for Energy Transition, the Honorable Agnès Pannier-Runacher. “We have therefore set a temperature limit of 19 degrees Celsius in government buildings for this winter. In addition, 100% of new government buildings must comply with the strictest emissions standards. Ultimately, our objective is net carbon neutrality for all the State’s public services in 2050.”

“Leading by example creates credibility for climate protection,” said Germany’s Parliamentary State Secretary, the Honorable Stefan Wenzel. “This applies above all to public administration. It can act as a driver for sustainable change with its purchasing power alone. This is exactly what we have set out to do in Germany: Our federal administration aims to become climate neutral by 2045.”

“Government leadership is key to climate action in Ireland and across the world,” said Ireland’s Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications, the Honorable Eamon Ryan. I am pleased to lend my support to this initiative which highlights the catalytic role played by the public sector in mobilizing energetic pursuit of the achievement of our climate targets.”

“It is deeply meaningful for Korea to join the Net-Zero Government Initiative, which emphasizes the leading role of governments in countries’ efforts for a net-zero future,” said the Republic of Korea’s Minister of Environment, the Honorable Han Wha-jin. “Korea will work towards its vision of 2050 carbon neutrality through the 20-year national plan on carbon neutrality and green growth.”

“We are proud to join the Net-Zero Government Initiative to share best practice and support countries to achieve net-zero from their government operations,” said New Zealand’s Minister of Climate Change, the Honorable James Shaw. “New Zealand’s Carbon Neutral Government Programme is already underway. Our goal is for New Zealand government emissions to reach net zero by 2025.

“Recognizing the role of governments as leaders in climate action, Singapore has set a target for our public sector to achieve net zero emissions around 2045, ahead of the national net zero target in 2050,” said Singapore’s Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, the Honorable Grace Fu. “We look forward to sharing best practices with and learning alongside like-minded partners to proactively green the public sector.”

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US Government Proposes Rule for Requiring Science-Based Targets for Federal Suppliers

US Government Proposes Rule for Requiring Science-Based Targets for Federal Suppliers

November 14, 2022

On November 10, 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration took historic action to address greenhouse gas emissions and protect the Federal Government's supply chains from climate-related financial risks. In support of President Biden's Executive Orders on Climate-Related Financial Risk and Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability, the Administration proposed the Federal Supplier Climate Risks and Resilience Rule, which would require major Federal contractors to publicly disclose their greenhouse gas emissions and climate-related financial risks and set science-based emissions reduction targets.

As the world's single largest buyer of goods and services—purchasing over $630 billion in the last fiscal year alone—the Federal Government faces significant financial risks from climate change. Supply chain disruptions over the past year have impacted every sector, including the Federal Government and its critical contractors and subcontractors. The new Federal Supplier Climate Risks and Resilience Rule would strengthen the resilience of vulnerable Federal supply chains, resulting in greater efficiencies and reduced climate risk.

Under the proposed Federal Supplier Climate Risks and Resilience Rule, "major" Federal contractors receiving more than $50 million in annual contracts would be required to publicly disclose Scope 1, Scope 2, and relevant categories of Scope 3 emissions, disclose climate-related financial risks, and set science-based emissions reduction targets. Additionally, "significant" Federal contractors with more than $7.5 million in annual contracts but less than $50 million would be required to report Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. Federal contractors with less than $7.5 million in annual contracts would be exempt from the Federal Supplier Climate Risks and Resilience Proposed Rule.

Fact Sheet: Biden-Harris Administration Proposes Plan to Protect Federal Supply Chain from Climate-Related Risk

Federal Register Notice: Disclosure of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate-Related Financial Risk

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Mapping a Maritime Just Transition for Seafarers

Mapping a Maritime Just Transition for Seafarers

November 9, 2022

At the 27th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP 27), the first global task force dedicated to a just transition in the maritime industry has launched a ten-point action plan to upskill seafarers and meet shipping’s decarbonization goals. Read 'Mapping a Maritime Just Transition for Seafarers' here

The Maritime Just Transition Task Force was established during COP26 in November 2021,by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), the United Nations Global Compact, the International Labour Organization (ILO)and the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The Task Force has the aim of supporting a just and human-centered decarbonization of the shipping industry.

The Task Force is grateful to its primary funder, Lloyd’s Register Foundation, and its programme partner, the Singapore Maritime Foundation. The Task Force is also grateful to its Phase 1 Project Supporters: Anglo-Eastern Ship Management, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company SA, Ocean Technologies Group, Ocean Network Express, and Philippine Transmarine Carriers(PTC).

More information on the Maritime Just Transition Task Force and its Global Industry Peer Learning Group can be found on the UN Global Compact website, the International Chamber of Shipping website and the International Transport Workers’ Federation website.

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Reformation of SBTi Technical Advisory Group (TAG)

Reformation of SBTi Technical Advisory Group (TAG)

November 7, 2022

The SBTi is undertaking a process of strengthening its governance to ensure the growing number of companies and financial institutions within the SBTi can be held to the highest level of climate ambition. As part of this, the SBTi is reforming and expanding the Technical Advisory Group (TAG).

The TAG is a permanent advisory group of SBT-setting experts providing practical technical development advice. They also have a Scientific Advisory Group (SAG) that guides our interpretation of climate science. These groups are not decision-making bodies.

What are the benefits?

  • Streamlined engagement: Currently, the SBTi relies more on their project-specific Expert Advisory Groups and undertakes processes to form new groups at the outset of every project. However, under the new model, TAG members will be committed to participating in 1-2 EAGs.
  • Better relationships: Dedicated SBTi management and quarterly meetings will mean they keep in better contact with TAG members.
  • Better recognition: Many EAG members spend a lot of time and effort providing advice on projects but get a different visibility than the TAG on the SBTi website.
  • Diversity: The current group is small and comprises mainly corporates/consultants. They are expanding the group to include Financial Institution experts and incorporating ambitious gender, organizational and regional diversity targets.

Details can be found in the Terms of Reference and interested applicants can apply here.

SBTi%20Technical%20Advisory%20Group_Terms%20of%20Reference_2211.pdf
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11th UN Forum on Business and Human Rights

11th UN Forum on Business and Human Rights

October 28, 2022

The 11th UN Forum on Business and Human Rights will take place November 28 – 30,2022, in a hybrid format, virtually and in person, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, subject to public health regulations.

Established by the UN Human Rights Council, the Forum is guided and chaired by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights. It is organized by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Since its creation in 2011, the annual UN Forum on Business and Human Rights has brought together thousands of participants from governments, international organizations, businesses, trade unions, civil society, communities, lawyers, and academia worldwide.

Centered on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) – the global framework for States and businesses to prevent and address the impacts of business-related activities on human rights – the Forum has provided a unique multi-stakeholder platform for discussing trends and challenges in implementing the UNGPs and realizing a more sustainable global economy.

As the UNGPs turned 10 in June 2021, the convergence of the COVID-19 and climate crises, amid a few other significant global challenges, underlined the need to bridge the gaps between economic actors, and respect for people and the planet is more pressing than ever. Set against this backdrop, and with the UNGPs as the central reference point for efforts toward bridging these gaps, the 11th annual Forum takes stock of efforts at securing accountability and access to remedy to focus on how the implementation of the UNGPs can be accelerated from a rights-holder perspective.

Click here to register for the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights.

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Applications Open: SDG Innovation Accelerator for Young Professionals

Applications Open: SDG Innovation Accelerator for Young Professionals

October 28, 2022

The application period to join the SDG Innovation Accelerator (formerly the Young SDG Innovators Program) for 2023 is now open. You can apply to join the SDG Innovation Program here.  

The SDG Innovation Accelerator is a 9-month program for Young Professionals. It is designed to engage young leaders working at UN Global Compact companies in driving innovation in their organization and delivering tangible solutions with potential market and social value for their company.

This Accelerator aims at fostering a new community of emerging leaders disrupting traditional ways of doing business and spearheading change for true SDG impact. The program connects entry- to mid-level managers –aged 35 and younger – across diverse business units to generate bold yet viable solutions that can positively impact the company and the SDGs. By focusing on young professionals from various business units, the program aims to mainstream SDG innovation and future business leaders and decision-makers to become advocates and working practitioners of SDG innovation and spread this practice across their companies at all levels.

Watch UN Global Compact Network USA's "An Introduction to the SDG Innovation Accelerator" webinar to learn more about the program and hear from past participants. Applications will be accepted until January 12, 2023. The program will start in late January 2023.

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 The 27th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP 27) & the UNGC

The 27th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP 27) & the UNGC

October 27, 2022

In November 2022, the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt will host the 27th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP 27), with a view to building on previous successes and paving the way for future ambition to effectively tackle the global challenge of climate change.

The meeting comprises the twenty-seventh session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 27), the seventeenth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 17), and the fourth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA 4).

The United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) will host a series of Blue Zone and Green Zone events this year. These events will showcase the changes the UN Global Compact and UN Global Compact Local Networks are driving by mobilizing businesses to assess environmental risks and opportunities, set and deliver ambitious climate targets, and adopt responsible practices to transition to a net-zero, resilient economy. You can learn more about these events on the UNGC’s COP27 Website, which will be continuously updated as and when events/details confirmed.

The UNGC’s 10th Annual High-Level Meeting of Caring for Climate will take place on Thursday, November 10. The meeting will bring together senior executives of business, industry, finance, civil society, the UN, and Government to act decisively to avert a climate catastrophe. The gathering is by invitation only to CEOs, and the UNGC will be able to provide a day pass for the Blue Zone for those who are invited.

All other UNGC Blue Zone events are open to all levels but will still require Blue Zone accreditation. Kindly note that the UNGC cannot assist interested participants in gaining Blue Zone accreditation. Events in the Green Zone are open to all levels and will not require special accreditation. However, in advance, company representatives must request Green Zone access on the COP27 Website.

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Network USA Celebrates UN Day 2022

Network USA Celebrates UN Day 2022

October 24, 2022

United Nations Day, on 24 October, marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter. With the ratification of this founding document by most of its signatories, including the five permanent members of the Security Council, the United Nations officially came into being.

There is no other global organization with the legitimacy, convening power and normative impact of the United Nations. No other global organization gives hope to so many people for a better world and can deliver the future we want. Today, the urgency for all countries to come together, to fulfil the promise of the nations united, has rarely been greater.

UN Day, celebrated every year, offers the opportunity to amplify our common agenda and reaffirm the purposes and principles of the UN Charter that have guided us for the past 77 years.

Secretary General's message 2022

The United Nations is the product of hope.

The hope — and resolve — following the Second World War to move beyond global conflict to global cooperation.

Today, our organization is being tested like never before.

But the United Nations was made for moments like this.

Now, more than ever, we need to bring to life the values and principles of the UN Charter in every corner of the world.

By giving peace a chance and ending conflicts that jeopardize lives, futures and global progress.

By working to end extreme poverty, reduce inequalities, and rescue the Sustainable Development Goals.

By safeguarding our planet, including by breaking our addiction to fossil fuels and kickstarting the renewable energy revolution.

And by finally balancing the scales of opportunity and freedom for women and girls and ensure human rights for all.

As we mark UN Day, let us renew our hope and conviction in what humanity can achieve when we work as one, in global solidarity.

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Business leaders urged to step up commitments to sustainability at Uniting Business LIVE 2022

Business leaders urged to step up commitments to sustainability at Uniting Business LIVE 2022

September 21, 2022

At the start of the high-level opening week of the 77th Session of the General Assembly week, Chief Executives from UN Global Compact companies and representatives from Governments, the United Nations and development agencies gathered in New York during Uniting Business LIVE to align on an urgent and collective course of action to put the world back on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 as progress stalls for the second year in a row.

Uniting Business LIVE connects the high-level multi stakeholder dialogues of the Private Sector Forum, the grounded local knowledge and implementation strategies of the Global Impact Forum, and partnership and leadership examples of the SDG Business Forum, into one inclusive, impactful and innovative all access global event.

António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, speaking during the three-day event, noted that the world and the Sustainable Development Goals are in trouble and called for the private sector to do more:

“We need the private sector to ramp up investments in the net-zero and climate-resilient transition of emerging economies. We need the private sector to support the full implementation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, providing the necessary financing, insurance, and logistical support. And we need to ensure that the trillions mobilized by the private sector lead to tangible progress on the Sustainable Development Goals. The Ten Principles of the Global Compact have never been more relevant. I urge and challenge you to bring the Global Compact to life through ambitious action across your companies, industries, and economies.”

Findings from the UN Global Compact 2022 Progress Report released during Uniting Business LIVE showed that companies across its networks are increasing their commitment to sustainability with 51 percent of respondents from the annual survey reporting that they were aligning their core business strategies with the SDGs. This is up from just 35 percent in 2019. The companies reported climate, fair labour practices, and gender equality as top priorities.

According to the report, corporate responsibility is also increasingly being developed by boards of directors and more companies are publicly disclosing sustainability progress and holding themselves accountable for their commitments. This is especially true on the environment, with an 11 percent increase in the reporting of emissions and strategic data.

Sanda Ojiambo, Assistant Secretary-General; Executive Director and CEO of UN Global Compact, spoke at the SDG Business Forum of her support for verifiable targets and called on companies to integrate sustainability throughout their operations:

“Achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will require that we all accelerate our efforts.

We need companies to build collaboration and knowledge sharing within their strategy and operations. We need to invest in a talent pool of changemakers who can leverage new technologies and business models to find sustainable solutions to stubborn problems. And it will require that you muster the wherewithal to implement the necessary solutions. Internal reviews and public sustainability reports are meaningless unless followed by concrete action.”

Ojiambo made her remarks following an announcement from the UN General Assembly in July which declared access to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment as a universal human right, paving the way for both businesses and governments to accelerate the implementation of their environmental and human rights commitments.

To spearhead this effort, the UN Global Compact announced the launch of a new Business and Human Rights Accelerator. This six-month programme is designed to help companies understand when, where and how they adversely impact human rights, while making clear how to prioritize the most salient issues for action. It was also announced that the Local Network USA has, in its first Climate Ambition Accelerator, guided twenty-nine of the largest U.S. companies through the science-based target methodology, helping them put in place an emissions reduction plan to achieve a net-zero footprint by 2050.

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SDG Summit USA

SDG Summit USA

September 20, 2022

As part of the United Nations Global Compact Uniting Business Live, UN Global Compact Network USA hosted SDG Summit USA on September 20. This event brought together US companies who actively support the UN Secretary General's call to align their strategies and operations with universal principles and showcase actions that they are taking to increase ambition, innovation, and implement the SDGs into their core operations.

Sanda Ojiambo, Assistant Secretary-General; Executive Director and CEO, UN Global Compact, delivered the opening keynote. She emphasized the need for companies to integrate sustainability throughout their operations:

"Businesses have become increasingly more trusted on the global stage; therefore, expectations for companies to do more for society have increased. Businesses are seen and expected to take a positive leadership role in all elements. We have also seen a shift in how the private sector views sustainability and its role in securing a company's future. The UN Global Compact did a survey last year, showing that companies are becoming more interested in sustainability as one of the critical drivers for responsible business and strengthening their brand perception.”

After Ms. Sanda Ojiambo's introductory remarks, three panels focused on SDG Ambition, SDG Innovation, and SDG Implementation were held. The SDG Ambition panel, moderated by Sebastian Steinhaeuser, Chief Strategy Officer, SAP, discussed the importance of setting ambitious corporate targets aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals. The panel on SDG Innovation, moderated by Richard Pearl, Senior Advisor, UN Global Compact Network USA, showcased actions American companies are taking to integrate the SDGs into their core operations and examined best practices in the innovation process. The final panel, moderated by Kristen Siemen, Chief Sustainability Officer, General Motors, concentrated on discussing how organizations can achieve tangible outcomes from their sustainability strategy. In addition, during this event, Network USA recognized its 2022 SDG Pioneer finalists, including Network USA's 2022 winner, Dianne Heiler, Senior Director of Packaging and Sustainability, Repligen.

The Summit closed with keynote speeches from Solitaire Townsend, Author and Co-Founder, Futerra, and Clinton Moloney, North American Sustainability Services & Strategy Lead, Accenture. Each spoke of the critical role the business community plays in forging a sustainable future and implored all in the room to consolidate around our shared values to accomplish the SDGs and create a more sustainable world.

For more information about 2022 SDG Summit USA, please contact Claudia Herbert Colfer.

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The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) Announces Latest Developments to Cement its Leading Position and Continue to Drive Exponential Growth

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) Announces Latest Developments to Cement its Leading Position and Continue to Drive Exponential Growth

September 6, 2022

The Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) is unveiling three important updates to accelerate the growth of corporate climate action. The initiative is:

  • Moving ahead with incorporation as a stand-alone entity.
  • Calling for nominations and applications for the new SBTi Technical Council and publishing its terms of reference.
  • Urging all stakeholders to help shape our future work by completing our survey.
Incorporation of the SBTi

In June 2022, the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) announced its intention to incorporate as a formal institution, linked to but separate from its founding partners CDP, World Resources Institute (WRI), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the United Nations Global Compact, and its collaborator the We Mean Business Coalition. Today, September 5 2022, the SBTi can announce that at its August meeting, the SBTi’s Executive Board approved this incorporation, with further details and a timescale to follow.

SBTi Technical Council

The SBTi is also starting the search for its new Technical Council.

The Council will oversee the SBTi’s normative technical decision-making and act as an independent authority to provide expert assessment, including on target setting methods. It will be accountable to the SBTi’s Executive Board and will comprise highly qualified individuals from diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise including greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting, climate mitigation, climate science and modeling, as well as social and environmental justice.

Applications for the Council will be open from Tuesday 6 September through Perret Laver, the executive search firm appointed to support this process.

SBTi cross-topic survey

In a further move to strengthen the SBTi framework through an open and participatory approach, the SBTi is asking stakeholders to respond to a survey to help shape important elements of its work. The survey will be open until 30 September 2022.

Chair of the SBTi’s Executive Board Lila Karbassi said:

“The Science Based Targets initiative’s Executive Board were delighted to approve plans for the SBTi’s incorporation and are excited about its future. I am impressed by the work Luiz Amaral, the SBTi leadership team and the whole initiative have done to lay the foundations for SBTi’s next phase and believe that the developments announced today go a long way into confirming the SBTi as the organization the world needs to drive the exponential growth of ambitious corporate climate action.”

Luiz Amaral, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the SBTi, said:

“Today marks another milestone in the SBTi’s evolution. Not only are we moving towards incorporation, which will enable us to work more effectively and agilely, but we’re unveiling plans for our Technical Council and inviting more people to have their say in the future of our work.

“The Technical Council will be pivotal to the SBTi’s work – and our success – so we’re looking for the very best of the best to serve on it. If you have the skills and experience wherever you are in the world, I urge you to apply.”

Other changes to the SBTi announced in June include the appointment of a Chief Impact Officer and a Compliance Director and the expansion of the SBTi Executive Board. Updates on these, along with further information about the incorporation and Technical Council, will be given in the coming months.

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Annual High-Level Meeting on Oceans - September 20, NYC

Annual High-Level Meeting on Oceans - September 20, NYC

August 30, 2022

With an unprecedented need for urgent action, the world is facing several crises profoundly affecting our ability to rapidly address climate change and global goals. The role of ocean industries has never been more critical to delivering solutions for the world we want.

The Annual High-Level Meeting on Oceans will be held on September 20 in NYC and will discuss important topics related to ocean. These include, but are not limited to:

  • The Ocean-Climate Nexus
  • A Just and Equitable Transition
  • Blue Finance, the new ICMA blue bond guide
  • Global and Local Oceans Solutions

This event is by invitation only. For enquiries, please email sofya@oceanstewardshipcoalition.org

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Nomi Network Corporate Summit

Nomi Network Corporate Summit

August 30, 2022

The Nomi Network Corporate Summit will be held on October 18th from 10:00am-4:00pm at The Star. Participants will hear from investors, corporate leaders, philanthropists, and survivor advocates, as they discuss the convergence of workforce development & ESG and how they apply “S” metrics in their investments and corporations. Attendees will also gain insight on how to optimize ESG guidelines to strengthen workforce development, eliminate trafficking risks in supply chains, and advance the careers of women and girls from disadvantaged backgrounds. Further details on the event can be found here and tickets can be purchased here.

There will be a VIP networking lunch and continental breakfast provided. All proceeds will go towards Nomi Network training centers that provide safe employment pathways for economically marginalized women and girls!  

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New UN Global Compact Academy Course for SMEs

New UN Global Compact Academy Course for SMEs

July 6, 2022

Take Action on Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact this new foundational Academy course!

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the engine of private-sector growth in both developing and developed economies, yet they face unique challenges in integrating the sustainability strategies that are critical to long-term business success and resilience.

Future-proofing your small and medium-sized enterprise’ is an interactive, 60-minute e-learning course designed to help you break down those barriers and get you started on your sustainability journey.  

This course consists of two short modules:

  • In Module 1, you'll explore basic concepts and why the Ten Principles are relevant to your business operations (30 minutes)
  • In Module 2, you'll dive deeper into the Ten Principles, by exploring what your business can do in relation to the four areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption (30 minutes)

By completing this course, you will learn to:

  • Understand the Ten Principles and the benefits of a principles-based approach
  • Recognize the link between sustainability and business success
  • Learn how to take six practical steps to integrate the Ten Principles into your business strategy and operations now, even with limited time and resources

Complete the two learning modules and fill in the survey to earn a certificate of completion to print or share on social media. You can do so here.

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Chief Financial Officers and global leaders discuss future of sustainable finance at UN Global Compact SDG Investment Forum 2022

Chief Financial Officers and global leaders discuss future of sustainable finance at UN Global Compact SDG Investment Forum 2022

July 4, 2022

The UN Global Compact SDG Investment Forum explored the future of corporate finance and investment as a catalyst for growth, value creation and social impact

Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) from leading companies across Europe who make up the CFO Coalition for the SDGs joined Assistant Secretary-General and CEO of the UN Global Compact, Sanda Ojiambo and other leaders from the United Nations, governments, civil society at the UN Global Compact SDG Investment Forum to share ideas and provide recommendations to help unlock private capital and create a market for mainstream SDG investments.

Speaking during the opening of the event, Sanda Ojiambo, Assistant Secretary-General and CEO of the UN Global Compact, noted the relevance of the discussions in the current global climate:

“Right now there are multiple crises buffeting our world. War, food shortages, energy shocks and inflation are causing havoc in nations both rich and poor [...] ​​ Instead of lurching from crisis to crisis, and from short-term fix to short-term fix, we will all benefit if we plan ahead and lay the foundations for a more resilient world [...] CFOs must take a leading role in setting and aligning sustainability and financial targets - not just for the good of their business, but for the good of our planet.”

Alberto De Paoli, CFO of Enel and Co-Chair of the CFO Coalition for the SDGs said:

“The leadership members of the Coalition are working together, and inside their companies, to promote further integration of the SDGs in corporate investment and finance. Understanding how corporates are acting to move towards sustainable businesses using the SDGs as a compass is key to defining ambitious pathways for all actors in the financial value chain.”

Marie Morice, Head of Sustainable Finance at the UN Global Compact said:

“CFOs have a crucial role to play in pushing the private sector towards more responsible and sustainable operations. Scaling and creating a global movement of CFOs through the CFO Coalition for the SDGs, both regionally and sectorally, will have a positive impact on the planet and society as well as on the bottom line.”

Nils Pedersen, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact France said:

“With new SDG-aligned opportunities and the rise of the sustainable investment market, estimated CFOs have a critical role to play in reshaping the future of corporate finance and investment as a catalyst to help achieve the SDGs.”

The UN estimates there is a $3 to $5 trillion annual financing gap for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With less than eight years to go, meeting the SDGs will require the sustained mobilization of large scale public and private resources. As stewards of trillions of dollars in corporate investments, CFOs are uniquely positioned to reshape the future of corporate finance by aligning corporate investments with the SDGs and linking corporate finance to relevant and credible SDG targets.

The conference featured a series of panel discussions and presentations from investment professionals, governments and Chief Financial Officers who discussed the central role of CFOs in accelerating an efficient transition; SDG aligned investments from macro-sectors including construction and real estate, telecom, media and technology, industrial goods, consumer products and energy and utilities; quantitative measures for ambitious change; the role of regulators including the EU Taxonomy on sustainable activities and the role of UN Agencies including the UN Capital Development Fund.

Speakers included: Alberto De Paoli, CFO, ENEL; Nils Pedersen, Executive Director, UN Global Compact Local Network, France; Jürgen Esser, CFO, Danone; Maria Carrasco, CFO, FCC Construccion; Géraldine Picaud, CFO, Holcim; Jill Klindt, CFO, Workiva; Fawaz Sabri, SDGs Financing Expert, UNDP Country Office, Afghanistan; Carole Ferrand, CFO, Capgemini;Maher Al-Haffar, CFO, Cemex; Miguel Viana, Sustainability and Investor Relations Director, EDP Group; Pedro Christ, CFO, Beontag; Lisa Remke, Deputy Coordinator, Sustainable Stock Exchange; Silvia Pavoni, Founding Editor, Sustainable Views, Financial Times; Emmanuel Buttin, Policy Officer, Sustainable Finance at the European Commission; Rahul Shosh, Managing Director, ESG Outreach and Research, Moody’s; Kjell S. Rakkenes, Executive Vice President, Sustainability, Society and Communications, Nortura; Xavier Michon, Deputy Executive Secretary UNCDF; Dena Assaf, UN Resident Coordinator, UAE and Karin Svensson, Financing for Development Coordinator, SIDA.

The event was hosted by business journalist and former CNN anchor, Maggie Lake.

The UN Global Compact will be launching an on demand Academy Session to learn more about the CFO Principles which support companies in the transition to sustainable development.

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More than 150 companies take principled stand at UN Ocean Conference

More than 150 companies take principled stand at UN Ocean Conference

June 27, 2022

At the Sustainable Blue Economy Investment Forum in Cascais, Portugal, a special UN Ocean Conference event, more than 150 major companies have signaled their commitment to a healthy ocean by signing onto the UN Global Compact Sustainable Ocean Principles.

In addition to the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact, the Sustainable Ocean Principles provide a framework for responsible business practices across ocean sectors and geographies. Companies signing on to the Sustainable Ocean Principles commit to assess their impact on the ocean and integrate ocean sustainability into their overall strategy.

The world depends on a healthy, productive and resilient ocean for food security, climate mitigation and economic livelihoods. Climate change, overfishing, pollution and unsustainable and inequitable development are damaging the health of our ocean and seas.

“Today’s commitment by 150 blue economy companies showcases the private sector’s willingness to support SDG 14. Healthy and productive oceans rely on all actors to do their part. I am encouraged by these companies and their commitment to integrate ocean health into their corporate strategies,” said Sanda Ojiambo, Assistant Secretary-General and CEO of the UN Global Compact.

Some of the largest blue economy companies, including Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), Orsted and SAP SE, have joined the 150 signatories of the UN Global Compact Sustainable Ocean Principles. Signatories span 30 industries, 35 countries and six continents, with a combined market capitalization of 1 trillion euros.

Several large shipping liners are amongst the companies committing. Accounting for around 80% of the volume of international trade and nearly 3% of global emissions1, shipping is increasingly under the global spotlight. Signatories of the Sustainable Ocean Principles include many of the largest shipping companies, such as A.P. Moller - Maersk, MSC, CMA CGM and NYK Line. These companies hold an estimated combined market share of 50%.

Major offshore energy companies, including Engie, EDP, SSE Renewables and Iberdrola are also amongst the signatories. Scaling up renewables is a key priority for global climate action, but offshore wind still faces market barriers and challenges slotting into busy marine spaces facing ecosystem pressures. Leaders from the seafood industry, including Sanford Limited and Thai Union, have also committed to the Principles. The global seafood industry is increasingly taking sustainability more seriously and represents a vital source of healthy and potentially sustainable protein.

Sustainable Development Goal 14 (Life below water) still has the lowest level of financial investment of any of the 17 SDGs2. There is a need for increased public, private and blended financing to foster a sustainable blue economy.

The UN Global Compact has also announced that five global stakeholders are developing a universal guidance for blue bonds—a commitment to provide the global market consistency and transparency in financing the sustainable blue economy. With "Bonds to Finance the Sustainable Blue Economy: a Practitioner's Guide”, the UN Global Compact, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the International Capital Markets Association (ICMA), UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) aim to provide market participants with clear criteria, practices and examples for issuances to advance the blue economy.  

The full of list of signatories to the Sustainable Ocean Principles can be found here.

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UN Global Compact Network USA's Leaders Summit Session

UN Global Compact Network USA's Leaders Summit Session

June 20, 2022

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) focus on promoting peaceful and inclusive societies, providing access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels. We currently face significant barriers to achieving a sustainable future aligned with the SDGs, ranging from racial and gender inequality to war and human rights abuses. To deliver the SDGs, all stakeholders, including the private sector, need to work together to advance peace and human rights. US companies have demonstrated their commitment to advancing human dignity with a robust response to the invasion of Ukraine, the killing of George Floyd, the gendered and family impacts of the pandemic, and many other pressing issues. These commitments are meaningful and business relevant.

Join the UN Global Compact Network USA at this session where you will learn what American companies are doing to contribute to the SDGs through contributions to peace and human rights. New ways in which businesses can contribute to overcoming these pressing challenges and create a more just and prosperous world are also discussed.

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Remarks by Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US Ambassador to the UN, at the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit

Remarks by Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US Ambassador to the UN, at the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit

June 2, 2022

UN Global Compact Network USA is pleased to share the remarks by Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US Ambassador to the UN, at the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit on June 1, 2022 below.

AS DELIVERED

Hi. My name is Linda Thomas-Greenfield, and I have the honor of serving as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

It’s my job to work with other Member States to advance human rights and democracy, tackle climate change and public health threats, address humanitarian crises and food insecurity, and, of course, prevent and end brutal conflicts, like Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine.

These are weighty challenges. And they’re challenges we cannot solve alone. That’s exactly why I’m so pleased to be speaking with all of you today. Because I firmly believe that the business community has a central role to play in all of this work. And I know you do, too.

You are here today because you understand that ethical business practices matter just as much as profits. That companies have a responsibility to prioritize the economic, environmental, and social impacts of their operations. And you are here today because you are committed to eliminating child and forced labor. Full stop.

In that vein, I urge all of you to stand up to the horrors we’re seeing in Xinjiang – where individuals of primarily ethnic Uyghur or Muslim backgrounds are being subject to forced labor through government programs. Economic pressure exerted from businesses helps deter these atrocities – and supplements political pressure and activism.

That’s true in the context of conflict, too. So, I also urge you to follow the lead of so many U.S. companies who have taken concrete action in response to Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. Nike, Starbucks, and McDonald’s announced they would close stores in Russia. Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase both said they would wind down business. And BP announced that it would sell its almost 20 percent stake in Rosneft, the Russian state-run oil company. You also now can’t get Netflix, or new Disney, or Warner Bros releases in Russia. And packages will be stuck there because FedEx and DHL also suspended services to the country. The list goes on. And the impact of these efforts is unquestionable.

And while you help us hold Moscow accountable, we also ask for your help in supporting the civilians who bear the burden of Moscow’s war. The United Nations has determined that nearly 16 million people need assistance due to the crisis. I met with some of these individuals during my recent travels to the region. Most were women and children. They long for peace; they long for a day when they can rebuild. But right now, they simply need food and other critical supplies. And the Global Compact has outlined in detail how businesses can help refugees and others affected by the crisis with financial assistance and in-kind donations.

I leave you with this: I believe wholeheartedly in your ability to bolster human rights and make change. Over 15,000 corporate signatures in the 160 countries are now part of the UN Global Compact. Your collective power is immense. Some of the United States’ largest and most influential companies are engaged in this initiative. And I encourage any organizations that have not yet signed the Compact to join now, because we need you. The intractable problems we face cannot come from governments alone. We need NGOs and civil society, we need academics and scholars, and we most certainly need the business community.

So let’s continue working together to implement and uphold our shared values and advance Sustainable Development Goals.

Thank you.

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Call for Comments: SEC Climate Disclosure

Call for Comments: SEC Climate Disclosure

June 2, 2022

On March 21, 2022, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed a rule that would compel climate-related disclosure for publicly traded companies: The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors. The public has a legal right to provide input on proposed government actions and public comments play a meaningful role in the government rulemaking.

To encourage more public input, the public comment period for this proposed rule has been extended and is now open until June 17, 2022.

Broadly, the proposed rule is in line with the UNGC's Ten Principles supporting transparency of how companies meet their responsibility to the environment, and those impacted by environmental degradation and climate change.

UN Global Compact Network USA encourages all participants to submit a comment to the SEC. While comments may be for or against, Network USA has developed a supporting template letter in partnership with UN PRI that commenters are welcome to use. By law, all comments must be considered by the Commission, and sharing UN Global Compact's principles with the Commission can help support and improve this proposal.

A few details for those participants who are not familiar with the SEC comment process:

  • The SEC has to consider all unique comments submitted to the comment file. Sign on letters with multiple signatures carry less weight in the consideration and review process.
  • All comments submitted to the SEC are made public and can be cited by the SEC in the final rule as a basis for certain revisions.
  • The proposed rule is long (500 pages) and includes some 200+ questions from the SEC. Do not feel obligated to answer all 200 questions, or any specific questions asked in the proposal. You are free to comment on as much or as little of the rule as you would like. You are also free to ignore the proposed questions entirely.
  • Comments can come from anyone designated by a company to submit, whether that's a CEO, Vice President, General Counsel, or anyone authorized.
  • The most useful comments for the SEC include detailed, data and evidence based recommendations on why a specific section of the rule would be most useful or impactful for the commenter.

The deadline to submit comments is June 17, 2022 COB. Comments can be accepted after the deadline, but risk being considered later in the review process and having less bearing. The easiest way to submit a comment is via email with a PDF attached to rule-comments@sec.gov. The subject line of your message must include the File Number for the rule: “S7-10-22". Please cc Adam Roy Gordon and Claudia Herbert Colfer when submitting your comments.

Please do not hesitate to contact Adam Roy Gordon or Claudia Herbert Colfer with any questions and/or comments.

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Leading CEOs launch Global Water Resilience Strategy to span 100 Water-Stressed Basins by 2030

Leading CEOs launch Global Water Resilience Strategy to span 100 Water-Stressed Basins by 2030

May 24, 2022

The Water Resilience Coalition, an industry-driven, CEO-led initiative that aims to put water stress at the top of corporate agendas and preserve the world’s freshwater resources, today announced its corporate sector-led 2030 strategy to increase global water resilience through collective action. By 2030, the strategy sets to achieve quantifiable positive water impact in 100 water-stressed basins, contributing to water security for 3 billion people. The plan also commits by 2030 to enable equitable access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for more than 300 million people.

The Water Resilience Coalition is part of the CEO Water Mandate, a partnership between the UN Global Compact and the Pacific Institute. The Coalition includes companies such as Ecolab, Microsoft, Starbucks, GSK, Danone, Gap Inc., and ABInBev, and partners such as WaterAid, water.org, UNICEF.

The Coalition’s 2030 strategy will be achieved through scalable collective action projects, which unite companies, NGOs and the public sector to act locally on water, leveraging member companies’ knowledge and unique capabilities, and developing innovative financing mechanisms. The strategy announced today calls for Coalition companies to rapidly scale collective action on water, initiating collective action in 100 basins by 2025 and fully scaling that work by 2030. Water Resilience Coalition member companies are currently engaged in 12 co-funded collective action water projects in 11 prioritized basins. These projects increase water resilience through investments in nature-based solutions, regenerative agriculture, wastewater recycling, water reuse and other resilient approaches.

As part of the strategy announced today, Water Resilience Coalition companies commit to achieve Net Positive Water Impact (NPWI), by 2050. Launched by the Coalition in 2020 as part of the UN Global Compact SDG Ambition, NPWI is a global framework for quantifying how companies ensure their contributions exceed their impacts on water stress in the same region. Achieving NPWI contributes to reducing water stress measured through water availability, water quality, and water accessibility.

More than 2 billion people currently live in water-stressed regions, more than 2.2 billion lack safe drinking water access and a 56 percent global water deficit is projected by 2030. According to the UN, we must quadruple the speed of action to achieve our global goals for water.

Speaking during the launch event, Sanda Ojiambo Assistant Secretary-General and CEO of the UN Global Compact said:

“Both public and private actors have begun to recognize that solving global water challenges is not a solitary endeavor. This awareness has led to increased interest in undertaking coordinated, collective action. This Global Water Resilience collective action strategy is a crucial first step in ensuring we work together to achieve more sustainable water management.”

“With a growing critical mass of the corporate sector on board, the Water Resilience Coalition is poised to be a game changer for water action against the backdrop of climate change,” said Jason Morrison, President of the Pacific Institute and Head of the CEO Water Mandate.

The Water Resilience Coalition today also announced its goal to increase membership to 150 companies by 2030. The Coalition has nearly quadrupled its corporate membership since being founded by seven companies in 2020.

“Global water use, storage and distribution, including the lack of wastewater treatment, contributes 10% of global greenhouse gases. Industry can no longer ignore the vital link between water and climate,” said Christophe Beck, Chairman and CEO of Ecolab. “Water scarcity represents a potential risk to every business and clean, safe drinking water should be available to everyone on the planet. Prioritizing smart water management, water stewardship, and a commitment to collective action starts within our operations and extends through our extensive customer network. As founders and active members of the Water Resilience Coalition, we will continue to demonstrate that companies can accelerate their growth while prioritizing superior water stewardship and the health of people and the planet.”

Water Resilience Coalition member companies include 3M, ABInBev, Cargill, Diageo, Dow, Ecolab, Gap Inc., Kurita, Microsoft, PVH, Starbucks, Bayer, Braskem, The Coca-Cola Company, Colgate, Cummins, Danone, Dupont, GSK, HEINEKEN, IHG Hotels & Resorts, Levi Strauss & Co., MARS, Reckitt, Phosagro, and Woolworths.

Notes to Editors

About the Water Resilience Coalition

The Water Resilience Coalition is an industry-driven, CEO-led initiative of the United Nations Global Compact CEO Water Mandate that aims to elevate the long-term mounting crisis of global water stress to the top of the corporate agenda and to preserve the world’s freshwater resources through collective action in water-stressed basins and ambitious, quantifiable commitments. For more information visit our website at www.ceowatermandate.org/resilience.

About the United Nations Global Compact

As a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General, the United Nations Global Compact is a call to companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with Ten Principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Our ambition is to accelerate and scale the global collective impact of business by upholding the Ten Principles and delivering the Sustainable Development Goals through accountable companies and ecosystems that enable change. With more than 13,000 companies and 3,000 non-business signatories based in over 160 countries, and 69 Local Networks, the UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative — one Global Compact uniting business for a better world. For more information, follow @globalcompact on social media and visit our website at unglobalcompact.org.

About the CEO Water Mandate

The CEO Water Mandate is a partnership between the UN Global Compact and the Pacific Institute that mobilizes business leaders on water, sanitation, and the Sustainable Development Goals for corporate water stewardship. Mandate endorsers commit to continuous progress against six core elements (direct operations, supply chain and watershed management, collective action, public policy, community engagement and transparency) and in so doing understand and manage their own water risks. Established in 2007 and implemented in partnership with the Pacific Institute, the Mandate was created out of the acknowledgement that global water challenges create risk for a wide range of industry sectors, the public sector, local communities and ecosystems alike. For more information, follow @H2O_stewards on Twitter or visit ceowatermandate.org.

About the Pacific Institute

Founded in 1987, the Pacific Institute is a global water think tank that combines science-based thought leadership with active outreach to influence local, national, and international efforts in developing sustainable water policies. From working with Fortune 500 companies to disenfranchised communities, our mission is to create and advance solutions to the world’s most pressing water challenges. Since 2009, the Pacific Institute has also acted as co-secretariat for the UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate, a global commitment platform that mobilizes a critical mass of business leaders to address global water challenges through corporate water stewardship. For more information, follow @PacificInstitut on Twitter and visit our website at www.pacinst.org.

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Companies Committed to Cut Emissions in Line with Climate Science Now Represent $38 Trillion of Global Economy

Companies Committed to Cut Emissions in Line with Climate Science Now Represent $38 Trillion of Global Economy

May 12, 2022
  • At the end of 2021, 2,253 companies across 70 countries and 15 industries, representing more than one third ($38 trillion USD) of global market capitalization, had approved emissions reductions targets or commitments with the SBTi.
  • Almost 80% of targets approved in 2021 were aligned with 1.5°C. Between 2015-2020, the majority of companies with 1.5°C targets cut emissions twice as fast as required.
  • The world has reached the 20% critical mass of science-based targets adoption among high impact companies.
  • Science-based targets are associated with a 12% emissions reduction across scope 1 and 2 emissions in 2020 and a longer term reduction of 29% since 2015. SBTi companies are delivering excess reductions at an accelerated rate compared to their peers.
  • The SBTi is calling on companies worldwide to align with its Net-Zero Standard to accelerate immediate corporate emissions reductions in line with 1.5°C - there are now 11 companies with approved net-zero targets and more than 1,000 companies committed.

‍A record number of companies are committing to and setting science-based climate targets, according to new research by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), the global body enabling businesses to set emissions reduction targets in line with science.

The SBTi today launches its third annual assessment of the initiative’s impact since its launch in 2015. The 2021 Progress Report ‘Scaling Urgent Corporate Climate Action Worldwide’ reveals that the SBTi has entered a period of exponential growth with SBTi companies now representing over a third of global market capitalization, worth $38 trillion USD - up from 20% in 2020. (SBTi companies refers to companies with science-based targets approved by the SBTi and companies with commitments to set targets. Global market capitalization is the total dollar value of publicly-traded companies' outstanding stocks. Global market capitalization has been estimated based on the MSCI ACWI Index which equals to around $93.76 trillion as of February 2022. Market capitalization data of SBTi companies was retrieved from Bloomberg with the date of 31 December 2021 for which data could be retrieved [53% out of 2,253 companies]).

Dr Luiz Fernando do Amaral, CEO of the SBTi, said: “The world today is faced with many challenges – there’s the devastating Russian war in Ukraine, the ongoing pandemic and the increasingly urgent climate crisis. At this critical time, we cannot let ourselves be divided. In the face of these existential crises, the SBTi will continue to work with governments, companies and NGOs, through strong collaboration, healthy debate and scientific research to reinforce 1.5°C corporate climate action as the new normal.

“The science is clear – we are already experiencing the impacts of climate change, and continuing on the current trajectory equals catastrophe. This report shows that the value the SBTi brings to society is more needed now than ever before – we must continue to drive the exponential growth of science-based targets and make them ‘business as usual’ for companies and financial institutions worldwide.”

A record year for new approved targets and commitments

Legend: Annual cumulative number of companies with approved targets and commitments between 2015 – 2021.

As the first assessment of the SBTi’s progress since the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, the report’s findings evidence a growing wave of international momentum towards science-based targets. The necessity of this momentum is reflected in the latest UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) WGIII report, which concluded that peak global emissions along with rapid and urgent reductions is required before 2025 to keep global heating under 1.5°C.

In October 2021, the SBTi launched the Net-Zero Standard, the world’s first framework for corporate net-zero target setting in line with climate science. It includes the guidance, criteria, and recommendations companies need to set science-based net-zero targets consistent with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C. The Standard has accelerated the shift towards 1.5°C aligned targets as the new normal for corporates. The report indicates almost 80% of 587 new targets approved in 2021 were aligned with a 1.5°C trajectory. In April 2022, the initiative celebrated a round of new, net-zero approved targets with the total number of companies committed to the Standard surpassing 1,000. The SBTi’s ‘ambition update’ also announced that the global initiative will only accept target submissions aligned with 1.5°C from July 2022, driving companies to go further and faster with their emissions reductions.

Lila Karbassi, Chair of the SBTi board and Senior Programme Officer at the United Nations Global Compact, said: “The global economy must halve emissions before 2030 to reach the Paris goal of 1.5°C - and it is currently not on track to do so. This goal is reflected in the most recent IPCC report, which poses a clear message - we must implement rapid and urgent emissions reductions or face planetary catastrophe. The climate action we’re seeing from companies is grounds for optimism, but we must all go further and faster to close the emissions gap.”

Increasing momentum for 1.5°C

Legend: Temperature alignment and growth of scope 1 and 2 targets between 2015 - 2021. (Scope 3 targets do not currently have a temperature classification and are therefore not included.)

The Progress Report indicates that a critical mass (>20%) of high-impact companies have now joined the SBTi globally (27%). While across key regions (Europe, North America, Latin America and Oceania) more than a quarter high-impact companies have committed to science-based targets. The Progress Report’s analysis is based on a sample set of high-impact companies. See the end of this release for more information about how this high impact sample was created.

Majority of world’s regions reached critical mass adoption

Legend: High-impact companies’ commitments and approved targets per region as of 31 December 2021.

In addition, science-based targets have delivered the biggest emissions reductions to date with SBTi companies reducing emissions at an accelerating pace. The analysis shows that in 2020, SBTi companies have exceeded global trends and collectively achieved 12% scope 1 and 2 emissions reductions, compared to a 5% global emissions reduction due to COVID-19. These emissions reductions as a result of the pandemic were anomalous as by the end of 2021, emissions bounced back alongside the global economic recovery.


These numbers clearly show the appetite, and the potential, for companies to tackle the climate crisis via science-based targets – but the report shows more action is still required. A very high proportion of targets are from companies in Europe, North America and Japan, with relatively few elsewhere in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Sectorally, heavy-emitting industries continue to be under-represented.

The SBTi is launching its Progress Framework, a new project to provide a standardized mechanism to track organizations’ progress against science-based targets, in early 2023. This measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) framework will build on the SBTi annual Progress Reports to deliver increased transparency and accountability of companies’ progress against their science-based targets. Technical details will be released later this year.

The SBTi invites corporates to commit to the Net-Zero Standard- and set near- and long-term 1.5°C aligned targets - and make their critical contribution to limiting the worst impact of climate change.

The SBTi Progress Report 2021 can be accessed here. The Progress Report is released annually, previous reports can be accessed here.

HIGH-IMPACT SAMPLE METHODOLOGY

The high-impact sample has been created following these criteria:

  • Companies with the highest scope 1,2 and 3 GHG emissions (being looked at separately) GHG emissions (>80th percentile of the total universe - where the total universe is the full investors requested sample of CDP companies).
  • Scope 1 + 2 <80th percentile: 1.364.309 GT
  • Scope 3 >80th percentile: 6.644.512 GT
  • MSCI ACWI constituents with the highest market capitalization (>85th percentile of the total universe - where the total universe is the full MSCI ACWI sample): $34.263.308.698.
  • Companies meeting the dual criteria of:
  • Having among the highest market capitalization in its country of headquarters (>85th percentile by country) of total universe - where total universe is the CDP investor requested sample.
  • Having among the highest GHG emissions for its industry (>85th percentile by sector GICS) or above 70th percentile of all samples.
  • The 20 largest private US companies and the 15 largest private EU companies by revenue.

For more information, including interviews and comment, contact:

Madeleine Lynch at madeleine.lynch@greenhouse.agency or +44 (0) 7446 054146

María Dolben at maria.dolben@greenhouse.agency or +44 (0) 7408 809839

Notes to editors

About the Science-Based Targets initiative

The Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is a global body enabling businesses to set ambitious emissions reductions targets in line with the latest climate science. The SBTi’s goal is to accelerate companies across the world to support the global economy to halve emissions before 2030 and achieve net-zero before 2050.

The initiative is a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and one of the We Mean Business Coalition commitments.

The SBTi defines and promotes best practice in science-based target setting, offers resources and guidance to reduce barriers to adoption, and independently assesses and approves companies’ targets.

Website: www.sciencebasedtargets.org

Twitter: @sciencetargets

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Congratulations to Our 2022 SDG Pioneers Winner and Finalists!

Congratulations to Our 2022 SDG Pioneers Winner and Finalists!

April 15, 2022

UN Global Compact Network USA is pleased to announce the winner and finalists of the 2022 SDG Pioneers initiative. SDG Pioneers recognizes business leaders who are doing an exceptional job in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the implementation of the UN Global Compact’s Ten Principles on human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption. SDG Pioneers help advance one or more of the SDGs while also contributing to business success.

UN Global Compact Network USA is please to recognize Dianne Heiler, Senior Director of Packaging and Sustainability, Repligen as its 2022 SDG Pioneer. Dianne has worked diligently with her leadership team and cross-functional colleagues to embed relevant SDGs into Repligen's business processes. She played a critical role in starting the conversation around the UNGC’s Ten Principles and translating them into tangible examples that their executive leadership team could support and build on. She leveraged the UNGC's many resources, tools, and publications and she laid out a sensible yet ambitious path forward using the Ten Principles and 17 SDGs as a guide and helped to identify 7 core SDGs most relevant to Repligen. She is leading the effort to build Repligen's Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions inventory and identify areas for improvement through conversations with suppliers and service providers both up- and downstream their value chain.

Network USA would also like to recognize its inspiring SDG Pioneers finalists who have demonstrated their commitment to and leadership in advancing the SDGs in their respective companies. Each finalist has introduced new and innovative ideas to help drive its company sustainability journey forward.

  • Daniel Akinmade Emejulu, Program Manager UN Affairs, Microsoft
  • Carla Joan Gonzalez, Business Development and Marketing Director, AD&V
  • Monica Bauer Mengelberg Lopez, Vice President Corporate Affairs, PepsiCo

Our 2022 SDG Pioneer was selected by an external review committee. We would like to recognize and thank our review committee for strongly supporting our work.

  • Sanjeev Khagram, CEO, Director-General & Dean, Thunderbird School of Global Management
  • Lisa Kurbiel, Head of Secretariat, United Nations Joint SDG Fund
  • Shobha Meera, Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, Capgemini
  • Paul Rice, Founder & CEO, Fair Trade USA
  • Gayle Schueller, Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer, 3M

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UN Global Compact Academy Deep Dive Sessions: Deepening Human Rights Due Diligence

UN Global Compact Academy Deep Dive Sessions: Deepening Human Rights Due Diligence

April 13, 2022

The UN Global Compact Academy is offering a 3-part series, delivered in collaboration with Shift and UN Human Rights (OHCHR), designed to deepen your understanding of human rights due diligence, and develop an actionable plan to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for your company’s human rights impacts.

When and where?

The Deep Dive series starts on 4 May 2022 and is available in English or Spanish. The series is divided into three sessions and will be available in three time zones for your convenience. 

  • Europe / Middle East / Africa / North America (English language)
  • AsiAustralia / New Zealand (English language)
  • Spain and Spanish-speaking Latin America and the Caribbean (Spanish language)

Please sign up for your preferred sessions below:

Academy Sessions (in English)

Academy Sessions (in Spanish)

Please note that this is a three-part series of workshops. The first session will focus on foundational content for the second and third sessions. Participants who attend all three sessions of this Deep Dive series will receive a certificate of completion.

Target audience?

The series is open to all companies participating in the UN Global Compact, with a focus on professionals within the company with roles and responsibilities related to human rights and sustainability.

How to prepare for these sessions?

To prepare for your participation in the Deep Dive Series, we encourage you to first complete the Academy e-learning course developed by the UN Global Compact and UN Human Rights (OHCHR) in collaboration with Shift: Business and Human Rights: How Companies Can Operationalize the UN Guiding Principles. Through four interactive, 30-minute modules, this course provides you with the foundational understanding and skills needed to get the most out of your participation in the Deep Dive Series.

Additional reminder: 

The next Academy Changemaker session featuring Sir Mark Moody-Stuart is taking place next week on 21 April 2022 at 9.00AM (New York) / 2.00PM (London) and 22 April 2022 at 8:00AM (Bangkok) / 12:00PM (Melbourne) respectively.

Find the registration links below:

Academy Platform
Session 1 - Zoom
Session 2 - Zoom

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United Nations Global Compact Network USA names Jacqueline Grace Inaugural Executive Director

United Nations Global Compact Network USA names Jacqueline Grace Inaugural Executive Director

April 7, 2022

Global Compact Network USA’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce the selection of Jacqueline Grace as its inaugural Executive Director. In this new role, Grace will work closely with more than 700 companies and organizations across the United States that have pledged their commitment to the goals outlined in the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). She will lead initiatives to support their sustainability efforts and grow the size and impact of Network USA.

Grace’s appointment concludes a rigorous, national search led by a Search Committee comprised of Global Compact Network USA Board Directors in collaboration with Koya Partners, an executive search firm that specializes in partnering with mission-driven clients.  

“Jacqueline’s vision, strategic leadership experience, relationship building skills and passion for our mission make her the ideal candidate to lead Global Compact Network USA at this exciting and pivotal moment,” said Chris Gray, Chair of the Global Compact Network USA Board of Directors. “She will be an ideal partner to our signatory companies and to the United Nations community as we work together to grow Network USA and advance the goals of the UN Global Compact.”  

Grace brings more than two decades of corporate and non-profit leadership experience to the role, including work in the fields of environmental restoration, food justice, and female empowerment.

“There is no more important or exciting work to be done than to help build a global movement to advance environmental sustainability, institutional accountability, and human rights for all,” said Jacqueline Grace. “I am honored to serve as the inaugural Executive Director of Global Compact Network USA at this critical moment and I look forward to working with our talented team, the UNGC community, and companies across the United States to further the goals of the UN Global Compact.”

Grace joins United Nations Global Compact Network USA from Keep America Beautiful, where she most recently served as Chief Development Officer. At Keep America Beautiful, her portfolio included working with national and local affiliates, corporations, donors, and other constituents to build and enhance partnerships, launch strategic initiatives, and grow and diversify revenue streams.

Prior to joining Keep America Beautiful, Grace was Chief Development Officer at Wholesome Wave, a national nonprofit focused on affordable access to fruits and vegetables for people in need. Grace has also held senior leadership positions at Girl Scouts of the USA, Save the Children, and Relationships First, where she was the organization’s inaugural Executive Director.

Grace began her career in publishing at Simon & Schuster and held senior roles at Scholastic Inc., the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books and educational materials. Grace was also the founder and President of LifeTime Media, a book publishing and packaging company whose authors included Billie Jean King, Gary Kasparov, and Chaplain of the United States Senate, Barry C. Black.

Grace served on the board of Every Child a Reader and currently serves on the board of the Rye Arts Center.

Grace was educated at the University of Pennsylvania, where she played varsity basketball and rowed lightweight crew.

Launched in 2007, United Nations Global Compact Network USA is a nonprofit 501c3,independent, self-governed local network chapter of the United Nations Global Compact. As the primary point of contact for UN Global Compact signatories in the United States, Global Compact Network USA represents and supports all US businesses as well as subsidiaries of multinational companies.

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Business Guide: Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis

Business Guide: Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis

March 2, 2022

The UN Global Compact has worked with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on a Business Guide to urgently respond to Ukraine’s humanitarian crisis. The Guide provides concrete action for businesses to support the Secretary-General’s three-month Flash Appeal for people in Ukraine, and a Regional Refugee Response Plan for the situation outside, under the leadership of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Find the guide here.

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Ukraine Humanitarian Relief Fund

Ukraine Humanitarian Relief Fund

February 28, 2022

In light of recent developments, the UN Global Compact has received an increased number of inquiries about how corporations can support relief efforts for the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. At this time we direct you to the Ukraine Humanitarian Relief Fund.

Global Compact Network USA will share further opportunities for corporate donations to the UN as options become available.

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Statement on Ukraine by UN Secretary General

Statement on Ukraine by UN Secretary General

February 24, 2022

Below is a Statement from UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

We are seeing Russian military operations inside the sovereign territory of Ukraine on a scale that Europe has not seen in decades.

Day after day, I have been clear that such unilateral measures conflict directly with the United Nations Charter.

The Charter is clear: “All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

The use of force by one country against another is the repudiation of the principles that every country has committed to uphold.

This applies to the present military offensive.

It is wrong.

It is against the Charter.

It is unacceptable.

But it is not irreversible.

I repeat my appeal from last night to President Putin:

Stop the military operation.

Bring the troops back to Russia.

We know the toll of war.

With deaths rising, we are seeing images of fear, anguish and terror in every corner of Ukraine.

People – everyday innocent people – always pay the highest price.

That is why the United Nations is scaling up our humanitarian operations in and around Ukraine.

Today I am announcing that we will immediately allocate $20 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund to meet urgent needs.

We and our humanitarian partners are committed to staying and delivering, to support people in Ukraine in their time of need.

United Nations staff are working on both sides of the contact line, always guided by the humanitarian principles of neutrality, impartiality, humanity and independence.

We are providing lifesaving humanitarian relief to people in need, regardless of who or where they are.

The protection of civilians must be priority number one.

International humanitarian and human rights law must be upheld.

The decisions of the coming days will shape our world and directly affect the lives of millions upon millions of people.

In line with the Charter, it’s not too late to save this generation from the scourge of war.

We need peace.

Thank you.

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New UN Global Compact Academy E-Courses on Gender Equality

New UN Global Compact Academy E-Courses on Gender Equality

February 22, 2022

The Academy is the UN Global Compact’s digital learning platform providing business leaders and practitioners with actionable skills to help companies move further faster in implementing the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Through innovative learning experiences across key topics and languages, the Academy offers companies actionable insights and best practices relevant to your specific challenges and needs, regardless of corporate function or where you are on your sustainability journey. All employees of companies participating in UN Global Compact have unlimited access to the Academy.

The Academy has recently launched two e-courses on gender equality: How to Increase Gender Balance in Boardrooms and Gender Equality: How Business Can Accelerate the Pace of Change.

Completing the How to Increase Gender Balance in Boardrooms e-learning course will help participants learn:

  • Why board diversity is critical to business performance and sustainability
  • How to set, meet and stay accountable to ambitious targets
  • How increased government and investor expectations, as well as stock exchange listing requirements, are incentivizing business to prioritize board diversity
  • Diverse examples of strategies that companies have adopted to secure parity on boards and ensure that women’s perspectives are equally valued in decision-making

Completing the Gender Equality: How Business Can Accelerate the Pace of Change e-learning course will help participants learn:

  • Why gender equality and women’s empowerment is a prerequisite to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals
  • How your company can contribute to the achievement of  SDG 5
  • How to build the business case for gender equality in your company
  • How the Women’s Empowerment Principles and other key frameworks, Tools and resources can support your business
  • Concrete steps that your business can take to mainstream gender equality into strategy and operations

Explore more of the Academy here.

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2022 UN Ocean Conference & UNGC Events

2022 UN Ocean Conference & UNGC Events

February 11, 2022

The 2022 UN Ocean Conference will be held in Lisbon, Portugal, from June 27 to July 1, 2022. The UN Global Compact is planning several events during the Conference to bring the strong voice of the business community to the proceedings, including the Innovathon Hackathon Youth Forum, where participants will innovate solutions around our 5 Tipping Points for a Healthy and Productive Ocean and a high-level meeting on Private Sector Driving Ocean Solutions.

In the lead-up to the Conference, the UN Global Compact aims to accelerate the pace of companies signing on the Sustainable Ocean Principle. The current list of signatories to date will be announced at the Conference to demonstrate how businesses are committing to take action for a healthy, productive ocean. 

Additionally, the UN Global Compact, alongside partners at UN DESA, will be supporting private sector accreditation. Relevant stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, academic institutions, the scientific community, the private sector and philanthropic organizations, can request special accreditation to participate as observers in the Conference. Information about accredited organizations is available here.

A final round of special accreditation for the 2022 UN Ocean Conference is now open, and organizations can apply using this platform until February 28, 2022. Kindly note that registration is a separate process, which will open in due course. Please also check the Frequently Asked Questions and the information flyer for additional information. Private sector organizations can reach out to unocean@unglobalcompact.org should any questions related to the Conference or accreditation arise.


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2022 Annual Letter to UN Global Compact Participants from Sanda Ojiambo

2022 Annual Letter to UN Global Compact Participants from Sanda Ojiambo

January 24, 2022

Below is a letter from UN Global Compact's CEO & Executive Director, Sanda Ojiambo.

Dear Participants of the UN Global Compact,

As we enter the third year of the global coronavirus pandemic, we cannot help but recognize the changing world of work and the impact this has had – on businesses, to be certain, but also on society as a whole as we continue to navigate our way through the changing realities of the COVID crisis.

Yet we face these challenges with optimism, knowing there is opportunity in every crisis. The opportunity to take stock of our current global realities and begin to implement the changes we must make to steer ourselves, our organizations and our planet on a more sustainable course.

At the United Nations Global Compact, we continue to move forward – not just in spite of the global challenges we face, but because of them. And I am encouraged that our growing list of participating companies, sponsors and patrons  – and their commitment to sustainability and our Ten Principles – remains stronger than ever.

The power of public-private partnerships

Throughout this pandemic we have seen the benefits of public-private partnerships. They have been instrumental in the provision of personal protective equipment, testing, humanitarian relief and vaccine production and distribution. Yet equity remains a huge challenge. The disparities in vaccine distribution between the Global North and the Global South are glaring and unconscionable. We cannot move towards a post-COVID world if we do not do so collectively, with full vaccine access and equity.

Grounded as we are in United Nations values and our Ten Principles, the Global Compact is in a unique position to support widespread recovery, working in partnership with businesses in every community and country.

Our new Africa and China strategies, for example, aim to unleash the potential of the world’s largest growth market and the global impact of the Chinese economy.

Advancing the Sustainable Development Goals

Leveraging the power of the private sector to engage responsibly and advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is at the heart of our work.  Businesses large and small have a key role to play in accelerating the ambitious actions we need to secure a future where people and planet can thrive.

As articulated in our 2021-23 strategy, our ambition is to accelerate and scale the global collective impact of business by upholding the Ten Principles and delivering the SDGs. To this end, we are focusing our efforts on solving the world’s most pressing challenges through seven focus areas where businesses have an outsized effect on outcomes:  Anti-corruption, Climate Change, Human Rights, Labour and Decent Work, Gender Equality, SDG Integration, and Transformational Governance.  

New engagement opportunities

Wherever our participating companies are on their sustainability journey, our new engagement opportunities will help them connect, learn, lead, communicate, moving them faster and farther in demonstrating progress on corporate sustainability.  

This new UN Global Compact programmatic portfolio will be funded through a simpler, one tier Engagement Model giving all business participants access to the entire range of our programmes, including the Academy.

A majority of participants will not see any significant change in the level of their financial contributions. However, the very large companies with annual revenues of more than US$10 Billion that do will also receive enhanced value and stronger engagement opportunities across their countries of operations and their value chains. The revised financial contributions, which will become effective for existing business participants only in 2023, will help us to deliver on our mission and enable:

  • Strong Local Networks and Regional Hubs to increase impact at the national level;
  • New and improved programmes backed by a strong digital infrastructure.
  • Increased support to SMEs that will help us to work with value chains of MNCs and many national and local businesses.

Looking ahead, we know that our foundation is sound. It is not the issues that stand between us and a sustainable planet; it is our agility. We must act on a scale and at a pace we have not tried before. But I am confident that the Global Compact is best suited to enable the private sector to do the right thing. We are, in my opinion, ahead of the curve – not only in terms of our steadily rising number of participating companies committed to sustainability, but in forging the kind of relationship that fosters two-way communication. We do not just guide our participating companies; we listen to them and support them.

Fortunately, there is growing recognition among investors and governments that there are enormous opportunities for businesses to play a critical role in the transition to a sustainable, climate-safe future. The private sector has a critical role to play in reshaping the future of corporate finance and investment as a catalyst to help achieve the SDGs by 2030 and halve carbon emissions by 2050.

Communicating on Progress

In an effort to add value and streamline sustainability reporting for all participating companies, the UN Global Compact is delighted to announce the launch of an enhanced Communication on Progress platform coming in 2023.

Our new Communication on Progress will help companies set goals and track their sustainability progress, validating the business case for aligning their business practices with the Ten Principles and the SDGs. This year, we are inviting 500 participating companies to join our Early Adopter programme giving them early access to the platform, tools and resources to support their transition.

Whether that means realigning investments with the SDGs, addressing climate adaptation, or broadening efforts to address social equity gaps, I am confident that, working together, we will not only be able to future proof the planet, but strengthen business resilience for decades to come.

Thank you for your continued participation in the UN Global Compact and strong support. Let’s keep moving forwards together, united in the business of a better world.

Sincerely,

Sanda Ojiambo

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Welcome Network USA's New Board Officers

Welcome Network USA's New Board Officers

January 10, 2022

UN Global Compact Network USA welcomes our new Board Officers: Chris Gray, Head of ESG, Pfizer as Board Chair, Gayle Schueller, Chief Sustainability Officer, 3M as Board Vice Chair, and Joe Cahill, Chief Customer Officer, Project Management Institute as Board Treasurer.

About Chris Gray

Board Member since 2018

Chris Gray is head of environmental, social, and governance strategy and operations at Pfizer Inc. He is responsible for developing and implementing an enterprise-wide approach to enhance ESG performance metrics and outcomes, co-chairs the Sustainability Steering Committee, and leads efforts to embed the ESG discipline into Pfizer business strategies. He also leads external ESG engagement and efforts to align Pfizer’s Purpose and ESG strategy with the Sustainable Development Goals and works closely with governments and civil society on strategic initiatives to improve global health and development.

About Gayle Schueller

Board Member since 2020

Gayle Schueller is Chief Sustainability Officer at 3M. She started in 3M’s corporate laboratory as a product development engineer and has over 25 years of technical and business leadership experience. Her career spans a broad range of businesses from electronics to healthcare to consumer industries. She has led technical and business teams from around the world including Europe, Asia, Latin America and North America. Gayle’s previous assignments include vice president of New Platforms for Growth and Commercialization, directora general for 3M Mexico, and vice president of research and development and design for 3M’s Consumer and Office Business.

About Joe Cahill

Board Member since 2021

Joe Cahill is responsible for all of PMI's Global Customer Group. He oversees the Global Customer Engagement Team, the Global Customer Experience Team and PMI's eight geographic regions. Joe previously held the positions of COO, Interim CEO and SVP of Finance and Administration in his time with PMI.

Joe has over 20 years of senior leadership experience including digital transformation, strategic planning, enterprise system implementation and new business development. Across technology, manufacturing and energy sectors, he has effectively helped build companies and lead change in large organizations.

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UN General Assembly Reaffirms Global Compact Mandate

UN General Assembly Reaffirms Global Compact Mandate

December 20, 2021

United Nations Member States have reaffirmed their support for the UN Global Compact’s mandate to engage the private sector in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals with a renewed resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly.

The resolution, under General Assembly agenda item 27 — Towards global partnerships: A principle-based approach to enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and all relevant partners — reiterates the mandate of the UN Global Compact, which is “to advance United Nations values and responsible business practices within the United Nations system and among the global business community.”  UN Member States also welcomed “the commitment of the Secretary-General to continuing to retain the integrity and unique role of the United Nations Global Compact.”

The resolution is an expression of broad-based support by governments of the north and south for the work of the UN Global Compact. The General Assembly expressed support for the implementation of the UN Global Compact Strategy 2021-2023, including the Africa Strategy 2021-2023 and SME Strategy 2021-2023.

Furthermore, Member States referred to UN Global Compact flagship “Uniting Business Live” events that occurred in the margins of the General Assembly. These events include the annual United Nations Private Sector Forum, the Global Impact Forum, the Young SDG Innovators Summit, and the SDG Business Forum.

UN Member States recognized “the importance of the private sector, multi-stakeholder engagement, innovative partnerships and a conducive policy environment in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. They also  recalled multilateralism as a necessity.  In this context, the resolution supports the work of the UN Global Compact to “raise ambition and achieve stronger private sector engagement, accountability and partnerships, in support of a sustainable, resilient and inclusive recovery from COVID-19.”

UN Global Compact CEO & Executive Director Sanda Ojiambo commented: “We thank the UN Member States for reaffirming their strong support for the UN Global Compact. We will continue to expand our global reach by mobilizing businesses and engaging in strategic partnerships to accelerate progress towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.”

The progress of the UN Global Compact in engaging the private sector to implement responsible business practices and support UN goals will next be reviewed in 2024.

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Applications Open: 2022 UN Global Compact Network USA SDG Pioneers

Applications Open: 2022 UN Global Compact Network USA SDG Pioneers

December 2, 2021

As part of the 2022 UN Global Compact SDG Pioneers program, UN Global Compact Network USA  is searching for professionals to recognize who are committed to advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Through their own company or by mobilizing other businesses, SDG Pioneers help advance one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals while also contributing to business success.

UN Global Compact Network USA will award the 2022 Global Compact Network USA SDG Pioneer at the local level. The selected individual will then have the opportunity to participate in the final search of global SDG Pioneers to be recognized during the 2022 UN General Assembly in September in New York. ​​         

              

You can apply or nominate someone here.

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Leading International Organizations Launch Platform to Address Calls for Clarity on How to Improve Sustainability Impacts

Leading International Organizations Launch Platform to Address Calls for Clarity on How to Improve Sustainability Impacts

November 30, 2021

Leading international providers of sustainability standards and guidance have come together to create the Impact Management Platform, a collaboration to mainstream the practice of impact management. As a first product, the ‘Platform’, whose steering committee brings together a set of multilateral organizations, has launched a web tool that outlines the core actions of impact management and links to the resources to help organizations and investors implement them.

Over the past decade, there has been significant growth in demand for organizations to improve their impacts on people and the planet, and to contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Core to making this possible is effective impact management. However, the growing number of initiatives supporting different aspects of impact management have been difficult for enterprises and investors to navigate. With the climate crisis and COVID-19 pandemic demonstrating the fundamental interdependencies between markets and sustainability issues, the urgency to build a coherent and complete system of principles, standards and guidance for how to improve sustainability impacts has never been greater.

Through the Platform, partnering organizations will work together to identify opportunities to consolidate existing sustainability resources, collectively address gaps, and coordinate with policymakers and regulators to support the mainstreaming of impact management. This effort represents the next phase of a global collaboration that, until now, was facilitated by the Impact Management Project (IMP), a five-year consensus-building forum designed to run until 2021. Earlier work included facilitating sustainability disclosure initiatives to agree a shared vision for corporate reporting to meet the needs of all stakeholders, and supporting the consolidation of the investor-focused disclosure initiatives into the IFRS Foundation and its new International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB). The Platform, whose Steering Committee includes multilateral organizations that will also advise the ISSB, provides a complementary forum for the broader task of supporting practitioners to manage their sustainability impacts.

Partners planning to work together through the Platform include B Lab, Capitals Coalition, CDP, Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB), Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG), International Finance Corporation (IFC), Impact-Weighted Accounts Initiative at Harvard Business School (IWAI), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), Value Reporting Foundation, Social Value International, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Environment Programme - Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), UN Global Compact (UNGC) and World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA).

A joint launch webinar at 10am EDT / 3pm GMT / 4pm CET on Tuesday 23 November will share the vision and future of the Platform with representatives of the Platform Partners. This will include a keynote dialogue with Mathias Cormann, Secretary General of the OECD, and Inger Andersen, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme. Click here to register for the event.

The Impact Management Platform website can be accessed at www.impactmanagementplatform.org

About the Impact Management Platform

The Impact Management Platform (‘Platform’) is a collaboration between leading providers of public good standards and guidance for managing sustainability impacts. Through the Platform, partnering organizations aspire to:

  • clarify the meaning and practice of impact management;
  • work towards interoperability and fill gaps as needed; and  
  • have coordinated dialogue with policymakers.

The Impact Management Platform website supports practitioners to manage their sustainability impacts – including the impacts of their investments – by clarifying the actions of impact management and explaining how standards and guidance can be used together to enable a complete impact management practice. The website can be accessed at https://impactmanagementplatform.org/

About the founding Partners

Partners planning to work together through the Platform include:

B Lab

Capitals Coalition  

CDP

Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB)

Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN)

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG)

International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Impact-Weighted Accounts Initiative at Harvard Business School (IWAI)

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)

Social Value International (SVI)

United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA)

UN Development Programme (UNDP)

UN Environment Programme - Finance Initiative (UNEP FI)

UN Global Compact (UNGC)  

Value Reporting Foundation (VRF)

World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA)

Descriptions of all these organizations and their logos can be found here.  

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United Nations Global Compact to Advance Collective Action Against Corruption

United Nations Global Compact to Advance Collective Action Against Corruption

November 29, 2021

New project aims to expand and build upon the activities under the UN Global Compact project, Scaling up Anti-Corruption Collective Action within Global Compact Local Networks

The United Nations Global Compact announced the launch of a global project, Advancing Collective Action against Corruption through Global Compact Local Networks, to support Collective Action initiatives and to promote public-private cooperation in fighting corruption.

In signing up to the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact, companies commit to “work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.”  The UN Global Compact engages with businesses all over the world to develop policies and programs to address corruption and to realize a more transparent global economy.

Commenting on the launch of the project, Sanda Ojiambo, CEO & Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, noted:

“The challenge of combating corruption has become even more important as the pandemic has proven to be a test for governance, public trust and the rule of law. The private sector has a key role to play in supporting international anti-corruption efforts and implementing the UN Convention against Corruption.”

Advancing Collective Action against Corruption through UN Global Compact Local Networks aims to build and expand on current activities within the four-year UN Global Compact project, Scaling up Anti-Corruption Collective Action within UN Global Compact Local Networks, by (1) advancing the adoption of the Uniting against Corruption: A Playbook on Anti-Corruption Collective Action as a global resource, (2) enabling UN Global Compact Local Networks to initiate and facilitate local and regional Collective Action initiatives and (3) scaling the UN Global Compact's engagement in public-private policy dialogues to bring the private sector voice to the global anti-corruption agenda.

To this end, the project adopts a three-pronged approach:

  • Transform the Collective Action Playbook into an e-learning course to increase the understanding and uptake of the Collective Action methodology
  • Support 10 UN Global Compact Local Networks in developing and carrying out Collective Action initiatives
  • Strategically engage with governments and other relevant stakeholders on current global thematic focus areas to enhance public-private cooperation in the fight against corruption.

Advancing Collective Action against Corruption through Global Compact Local Networks is supported under the Golden Stretch Funding Round of the Siemens Integrity Initiative.


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COP 26 Recap: Business Ambition for Climate Action - Live from COP 26

COP 26 Recap: Business Ambition for Climate Action - Live from COP 26

November 22, 2021

The UN Global Compact organized its Business Ambition for Climate Action - Live from COP 26, a day-long virtual experience on 10 November 2021. The conference featured leading Chief Executives, corporate sustainability experts and business leaders, plus heads of UN agencies and civil society organizations, who came together to showcase concrete actions for a net-zero economy, to increase society’s resilience and highlight strategies to unlock climate finance. 

UN Global Compact Network USA was pleased to contribute a session to this event highlighting US Corporate Climate Ambition, featuring high-level US government, civil society, and corporate speakers. A recording of the event can be found here.

Speakers included:

  • Ann Tracy, Chief Sustainability Officer, Colgate-Palmolive Company
  • Katie McGinty, Chief Sustainability, Government and Regulatory Affairs Officer, Johnson Controls
  • Evan Harvey, Global Head of Sustainability, Nasdaq
  • Kerry Adler, CEO, SkyPower Global
  • Charles E Schumer, United States Senate Majority Leader
  • Ateli Iyalla, Managing Director, CDP North America
  • Adam Roy Gordon, Engagement Director, UN Global Compact Network USA

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