New York, United States of America
(New York, 24 June 2015) – Starting yesterday, three days of events marking the 15th anniversary of the UN Global Compact are underway at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
With over a dozen focused meetings taking place on 23-24 June, the event will culminate with a plenary meeting in the UN General Assembly Hall on 25 June. The GA session will bring together over 1,000 global leaders from business, Government and civil society to take stock of fifteen years of corporate sustainability, and to map out pathways for the future.
Participants will be discussing key environment, social and governance issues, as well as highlighting progress and continuing challenges across a variety of industries, sectors and Local Networks. Additionally, the Global Compact+15 event will launch a handful of new programmes and a comprehensive report assessing the impact of the corporate sustainability movement.
Following is an overview of events and notable outcomes:
Today, the Caring for Climate initiative and the Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations hosted a special session on the mounting importance of carbon pricing as an effective tool to address climate change. The session highlighted the business case and strategies for implementing the Business Leadership Criteria on Carbon Pricing. The Criteria sets a high bar for companies to commit to three dimensions: 1) integrate carbon pricing into corporate long-term strategies and investment decisions; 2) publicly advocate the importance of carbon pricing; and 3) communicate their progress over time on the criteria in public corporate reports. Since the UN Climate Summit in September 2014 over 40 companies have committed to align with the criteria, including major oil and gas, utility, consumer goods, chemical and energy companies from all over the world.
A separate meeting will also discuss the relationship between business and biodiversity, with an objective to provide guidance on how the Global Compact can bring private sector contributions to the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 14 and 15.
A meeting on Tuesday, Children’s Rights and the Post-2015 Development Agenda, was co-hosted by the UN Global Compact, UNICEF, Save the Children and the ILO. Speakers elaborated on how business can support the implementation of relevant SDGs, particularly through the Children's Rights and Business Principles and the Child Labour Platform.
Tuesday afternoon focused on trends, progress and reporting in the areas of human rights and labour. Organizations like Shift, GRI and Unilever shared early lessons from applying the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework, and plans were announced to release an enhanced UN Global Compact - Oxfam Poverty Footprint tool later this year, with the adoption of the SDGs.
Today, the UN Global Compact Advisory Group on Supply Chain Sustainability will hold its Ninth meeting, with supply chain experts and other stakeholders. The group will also launch the second edition of the Practical Guide to Continuous Improvement and the UN Global Compact Call to Action: Support Your SME Suppliers.
Yesterday, the 2nd Annual Business for Peace Event announced collaboration with the Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region to host a conference on responsible investment next February in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Greater collaboration was explored on education in high-risk areas, as well as opportunities to engage business in humanitarian response, particularly in the lead-up to the World Humanitarian Summit next year. A session was also held on how to measure the private sector contribution to SDG 16 on peace, inclusion and access to justice for all.
Two new Governance programmes were launched at the Global Compact’s headquarters this morning, pushing corporate responsibility further into the purview of the legal profession, and highlighting the role of in-house lawyers in driving their companies’ sustainability agendas. Closely related to the proposed SDG 16, the Business for the Rule of Law Framework and Guide for General Counsel on Corporate Sustainability were introduced to an audience comprised of legal experts and compliance officers.
This afternoon, the 16th Meeting of the Working Group on the 10th Principle against Corruption will convene private sector, civil society and Government representatives to discuss areas of mutual cooperation for promoting integrity and transparency, particularly in relation to the proposed SDG16 and the UN Convention against Corruption.
Industry & Sectoral
A number of industry and sectoral events are also underway, including the Principles for Responsible Management Education’s (PRME) Global Forum, which commenced yesterday and continues through Wednesday. Welcoming over 400 participants from higher education institutions and a range of stakeholder groups, the meeting will set goals for advancing the SDGs through commitment to the six PRME Principles and better management education.
Wednesday will also hear the Business Association Forum on Sustainable Development launch a new initiative with leading standards and qualification body RICS, aimed at advancing responsible business practices in land, construction and real estate use and investment. Co-convened with the International Chamber of Commerce, the meeting will bring together supply chain experts and industry associations to discuss key activities and challenges.
Local Networks & Leadership
Throughout Wednesday, the XIII Annual Local Network Forum (ALNF), will bring together over 100 Local Networks Representatives from 60 countries to discuss subjects related to the governance of the local networks, with the objective of enhancing inter-network collaboration in the future. The Annual Forum will focus on the forthcoming SDGs and the important role that the Local Networks can play in advancing corporate sustainability through national action plans. The ALNF will also see the election of the Local Networks Advisory Group for the period 2015 – 2017, and the adoption of the Local Network Progression Model and three MOUs to regulate the governance and management of the Global Compact and Local Networks.
Today, the UN System Private Sector Focal Points Network Annual Meeting is convening a closed-door session to highlight trends and recent developments in UN-business collaboration, share partnership innovations, challenges and opportunities, and develop plans for the network’s initiatives in the coming year. Over 60 UN personnel from more than 30 different UN entities will take stock of progress made and outstanding efforts required to advance implementation of General Assembly Resolution no. 68/234 (“Towards Global Partnerships”).
The Global Compact’s exclusive forum for corporate sustainability champions, LEAD, will also host two meetings today. The first meeting will focus on integrating sustainability across business functions, with LEAD companies convening for a consultation. Additionally, a second meeting will bring together representatives from Global Compact LEAD companies and PRME Champions schools for a discussion on shaping future business leaders.
THURSDAY JUNE 25: General Assembly and Plenary Sessions
Thursday will open with a roundtable session gathering over 400 participants in interactive discussions focusing on identifying the key obstacles to greater private sector action in support of the SDGs. A key outcome of the session will be to define pathways to enhance impact, including through innovative models of partnership.
At 10:45AM, the Global Compact’s outgoing Executive Director Georg Kell will hold a press briefing alongside CEO of DNV GL, Henrik Madsen, to launch a new report assessing 15 years of corporate sustainability and the impact of the Global Compact.
From 11:30-1:00PM, a unique gathering of all participants and special guests will take place in the historic UN General Assembly Hall. Participants will demonstrate to Governments the private sector’s critical role in solving our world’s greatest challenges and show how the UN Global Compact’s work is at the heart of the United Nations agenda.
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About the United Nations Global Compact
The United Nations Global Compact is a call to companies everywhere to voluntarily align their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and to take action in support of UN goals and issues. The UN Global Compact is a leadership platform for the development, implementation and disclosure of responsible corporate policies and practices. Launched in 2000, it is largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world, with 13,000 corporate and non-business signatories based in 170 countries. www.unglobalcompact.org