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

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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