2020 SDG Pioneers

The Sustainable Development Goals lay out a clear vision for a sustainable future, representing an opportunity to shape a new era for responsible business. As part of our Making Global Goals Local Business work, each year the United Nations Global Compact celebrates a group of SDG Pioneers — business leaders who are doing an exceptional job to advance the Global Goals through the implementation of our Ten Principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. In our search for the 2020 cohort of SDG Pioneers, we encourage professionals working at any level of a UN Global Compact participating company who are leveraging a principles-based approach to set ambitious, scalable and impactful SDG targets to apply.

National SDG Pioneers submission period opened 17 February 2020

As part of the UN Global Compact SDG Pioneers programme, Global Compact Local Networks spanning all continents launched on 17 February 2020 a national search for professionals who are committed to achieving the Global Goals. Selected national-level Pioneers will be locally recognized and advance to the global round which will open on 11 January 2021 (more information on the global round is available below).

Employees of companies participating in the UN Global Compact are welcome to submit their own stories describing their contributions towards sustainable development or nominate a colleague for consideration in the SDG Pioneers programme.

Interested candidates from companies headquartered in any of the countries listed below must submit their applications through the respective Local Network before the global round opens.
















South Africa


Questions? Until the opening of the global round on 11 January 2021, please address questions regarding national-level SDG Pioneer selections directly to the relevant Local Network. Additional information is available in the Frequently Asked Questions here.

Our global campaign

Global SDG Pioneers submission period opens 11 January 2021

The global submission period and search for the 2020 cohort of UN Global Compact SDG Pioneers will be open from 11 January to 15 March 2021. Professionals working at any level of a UN Global Compact participating company headquartered in a country not listed above are welcome to apply during this time. The 2020 cohort of UN Global Compact SDG Pioneers will be announced in at the Leaders Summit in June 2021 in New York.

Selection Process

A multi-stakeholder SDG Pioneers Selection Group votes on the nominees based on a set of criteria, including the individuals' commitment to embedding the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact into their companies' core strategies and advancing the Global Goals, as well as their engagement with the UN Global Compact and its Local Networks. This Selection Group is comprised of representatives of the UN Global Compact Board and Expert Network, alongside previous SDG Pioneers and representatives from the Global Compact Network Council, academia and UN agencies.

Sustainable Development Goals

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 related targets represent a bold new path to end extreme poverty and hunger, fight inequalities and address climate change by 2030 — ensuring that no one is left behind.