Secretary-General Highlights Global Compact With Seattle Business Leaders

Seattle, United States of America

( Seattle, 26 October 2009 ) – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today met with leading business executives in Seattle, USA, encouraging them to continue to advance environmental sustainability through initiatives such as the UN Global Compact. 

In a luncheon with more than 120 business and civic leaders, organized by the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, the Secretary-General emphasized that climate change poses both a crisis and an opportunity to retool the global economy. 

"I am encouraged to know that the city of Seattle and you as business and civic leaders are helping to show the way forward", the Secretary-General said. “I understand that the Seattle Climate Action Now initiative is helping to reduce emissions from homes, workplaces and roads. I am told that many of you have begun to shift to low-carbon solutions in how you operate and in the products and services you offer. I look forward to more such progress". 

During the luncheon, business executives from a number of companies shared their perspectives on the importance of environmental responsibility -- including Mr. Clifford Burrows, President of Starbucks; Mr Billy Glover, Senior Vice President of Boeing; Mr Craig Mundie, Chief Strategy Officer at Microsoft; Ms Sara Kendall, Vice President at Weyerhaeuser; and Mr Karl Krug, CEO at MTI Worldwide Logistics. 

The Secretary-General noted that three Seattle-area companies are participants in the UN Global Compact -- Microsoft, MTI Worldwide Logistics, and Starbucks -- and he urged other companies to join the Compact as well as its special program "Caring for Climate". The UN Global Compact is today the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world with over 7000 business participants and stakeholders, the Secretary-General noted. 

Phil Bussey, President and CEO of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce said: "Coming six weeks before the climate negotiations in Copenhagen, this was a historic opportunity for the local business community to participate in the dialogue about global sustainability, which is so critical to the health of our community and our economy". 

The Secretary-General was visiting Seattle as part of an on-going effort to raise awareness in U.S. cities of United Nations' priorities, including climate change. While in Seattle, he also received an honorary degree from the University of Washington.