LEAD Activities

To guide the transformation of business everywhere, innovation, experimentation and genuine leadership are needed. Building on the expertise and issue specific work of the UN Global Compact, LEAD focuses on the development and implementation of cross-cutting management approaches to advance full integration of corporate sustainability. 

LEAD projects are demand-driven, action-oriented and designed to run on an annual basis. While much of LEAD activities are designed to engage senior managers, LEAD also provides high-level representatives of LEAD companies with visibility and voice vis-à-vis global decision-makers through exclusive opportunities related to the Global Compact Leaders Summit, UN Private Sector Forums and events during the World Economic Forum in Davos. 
To accelerate the integration of sustainability within their organizations, LEAD companies are encouraged to engage relevant colleagues across corporate functions and business units for the different LEAD projects and activities. 

Deeply Integrated within the UN Global Compact 

LEAD is deeply integrated into the structure of the Global Compact including the Global Compact Local Networks and through LEAD companies’ strong engagement across all of the Global Compact’s issue areas, working groups and special initiatives such as the Human Rights and Labour Working group, Caring for Climate and the CEO Water Mandate.  

Core to all of LEAD’s work, is the ability to inspire and spearhead sustainable leadership practices across different issues and geographies. The dissemination of learnings and outcomes from LEAD to all Global Compact participants is therefore an integral part of the design of all LEAD projects. 

Unique Collaboration with Strategic Partners 

LEAD aims to go above and beyond existing initiatives within the Global Compact and elsewhere, and seeks to involve collaboration with the UN system, the UN-supported Principles of Responsible Investment (PRI) and the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) whenever relevant. 

LEAD serves as the key vehicle for bringing the voice of sustainable business to the Post-2015 Development Agenda, and through ongoing close collaboration with UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes, LEAD supports and fosters opportunities for more effective partnerships between business and the UN.

A long standing collaboration with PRI and its global network of more than 1300 investors, plays a critical role in LEAD’s effort to change how markets value sustainability performance. In working closely with PRME, LEAD has a unique opportunity to impact the next generation of corporate leaders, and benefits from access to academic research from around the world.

Focus in 2015

Create a Roadmap for Integrated Sustainability. The LEAD Roadmap will serve as a practical guide for integrating sustainability across business functions (i.e. Research & Development, Human Resources, Marketing, Supply Chain, IT). LEAD participants will collaborate to identify and prioritize business functions, share experiences and learn from effective approaches to integrate sustainability, with a view to developing a comprehensive platform for accelerating best practices and performance. The LEAD Roadmap aims to illustrate how full integration of sustainability, into every functional area of the organization, will enable companies to lead the way to a sustainable future.

Spearhead the mobilization of global business to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In parallel to continued engagement with global policy makers on the post-2015 development agenda, LEAD will shape the tools and standards that will guide business action to advance the expected SDGs for the next fifteen years and will showcase examples of how business strategies and goal setting can fully align with global sustainable development priorities.  This work builds upon the unique opportunity that LEAD companies had in 2014 to provide recommendations to the UN Secretary-General and member states regarding the post-2015 development agenda. 

Work with investors in PRI to realize long-term financial value from corporate sustainability. LEAD will work – together with investors engaged in PRI – to better analyze, quantify and communicate (both internally and to investors) the impact of corporate sustainability on future growth, productivity and risk management, and to address short-termism in capital markets. These efforts include the facilitation of internal workshops for sustainability, IR and finance professionals, as well as the development of an innovative training program specifically for CFOs. 

Move sustainability issues from the backroom to the boardroom. LEAD will continue its focus on the need to integrate sustainability into the agenda of Boards of Directors. Through the roll out of the new Global Compact Board Programme, LEAD equips Directors to effectively oversee and drive a strategic approach to corporate sustainability, with a view to protect and support financial value creation.  

Partner with business schools in PRME to help generate the business leaders of tomorrow. Through close collaboration with PRME, LEAD will support the development of students with a view to both attracting and recruiting future business leaders with a sound knowledge of sustainability issues and responsible management values.



(Last Update 22 December 2014)