(Mersin, 01 April 2014) – Global Compact Network Turkey, together with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Turkey and the Mersin Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MTSO), organized the first Business for Peace (B4P) country-level launch in the Mediterranean region. Attended by over 130 representatives from business, chambers of commerce, business associations, Government and civil society, the event sought to align and scale corporate sustainability efforts to advance peace in the region.
Global Compact Network Turkey, as an inaugural signatory of Business for Peace and a member of the B4P Steering Committee, organized the event to highlight private sector opportunities, collaborative actions and contributions in support of peace through responsible business practices and community stakeholder engagement. Emphasizing the importance of business as a primary driver of innovation, investment and job creation, Kamal Malhotra, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Turkey, said that there is no longer any doubt that business can play an integral role in delivering economic and social progress.
Şerafettin Aşut, President of the Mersin Chamber of Commerce and Industry – one of the first Chambers of Commerce in the region to endorse B4P – stated that the Mersin business community is ready to become a competitive player in the global market, while respecting the Global Compact principles. “We in Mersin are not looking to grow and advance our businesses while overlooking any possible negative consequences. We do not look to grow and expand at the expense of human rights, environment, or with corrupt practices. The Global Compact principles are indispensable within our philosophy of growth,” Aşut said.
Since understanding the local context is essential to advancing peace, Global Compact Local Networks serve a critical role in rooting the B4P platform in local communities and supporting companies in making significant contributions to peacebuilding. Dr. Yilmaz Argüden, Chair of the Global Compact Local Network Advisory Group and Member of the B4P Steering Committee, commented on the importance of launching this platform in Mersin. Noting that 11 companies in Mersin have joined the UN Global Compact in the last three months, and the first annual meeting of B4P will take place in Istanbul in September 2014, he hoped that Turkey’s important role in these issues would be highlighted.
Melissa Powell, Head of Strategy & Partnerships and the Business for Peace platform at the UN Global Compact, congratulated Turkey on joining the ranks of the 17 Local Networks around the world who have publicly committed to B4P. Powell welcomed Turkey’s leadership as part of one of the Global Compact’s fastest growing platforms, with nearly 100 companies having joined since B4P’s launch in September 2013.
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