Executive Director Update: Q4 2023
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 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.
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 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.
Adam Roy Gordon
UN Global Compact Network USA