NGO News Desk :: Over a thousand CEOs and C-suite executives drawn to New York for the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit are expected to endorse an architecture for engagement unveiled by the United Nations Secretary-General this morning.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that Building the Post-2015 Business Engagement Architecture is designed to “drive and scale up corporate actions to directly advance United Nations goals”.
The plan to link business engagement with global priorities is a milestone in the growth of the UN Global Compact since its founding in 2000, when UN-business ties were scarce, to its current status as the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, with the participation of 8,000 companies and 4,000 civil society organizations from 145 countries.
It also comes, the Secretary-General noted in his address, only days before Governments meet at the UN to assess progress on the world’s Millennium Development Goals and plan for follow-through after MDG targets expire in 2015.
Complementing ambitious plans for companies aligning long-term business interests with overall social and environmental progress was the announcement by the Secretary-General of three new platforms for business on education, agriculture and peace.
The portfolio of UN Global Compact programmes also includes issue platforms on women’s empowerment, children’s rights, climate, water and anti-corruption. There are Local Networks organized in 101 nations, with the capacity to act as hubs for country-based sustainability strategies.
A report launched today at the Summit by the UN Global Compact and Accenture found widespread CEO agreement on the strategic nature of sustainability. The vast majority are calling for action by Governments, investors and consumers to unlock the full potential of corporate sustainability.
A panel of chief executives shared views on taking sustainability to a higher level, including: Robert Collymore, CEO of Safaricom Limited; Fu Chengyu, Chairman of Sinopec Group; Jacqueline Novogratz, Founder and CEO of Acumen Fund; Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever; Güler Sabancı, Chairman and Managing Director of Sabanci Holdings; and Dov Seidman, CEO and Founder of LRN.
Responding to the CEO panel were representatives of labour, investors and civil society, respectively: Philip Jennings, General Secretary of the UNI Global Union; Erika Karp, CEO and Founder of Cornerstone Capital, Inc.; and Pierre Sané, President of Imagine Africa International.
Also on the agenda for the 20 September Leaders Summit, which is held every three years, is a Private Sector Forum on Africa.
About the UN Global Compact
Launched in 2000, the United Nations Global Compact is both a policy platform and a practical framework for companies that are committed to sustainability and responsible business practices. As a multi-stakeholder leadership initiative, it seeks to align business operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and to catalyze actions in support of broader UN goals. With 8,000 corporate signatories in 145 countries, it is the world’s largest voluntary corporate sustainability initiative. www.unglobalcompact.org
About the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit
Chaired by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit 2013: Architects of a Better World (19-20 September) brings together chief executives with leaders from civil society, Government and the United Nations to unveil a new global architecture for corporate sustainability. As the Millennium Development Goals 2015 deadline approaches, the Summit will set the stage for business to shape and advance the post-2015 development agenda – putting forward an architecture for business to contribute to global priorities, such as climate change, water, food, equality, decent jobs, and education, at unprecedented levels. www.leaderssummit2013.org