Online summit addresses health, inequality and climate change
Last month, more than 20,000 sustainability advocates from over 180 countries attended the UN Global Compact’s 20th anniversary Leaders Summit. Held online due to the ongoing global pandemic, the event addressed the private sector’s response to three global, interconnected crises – health, inequality and climate change.
The summit, which saw heads of state join CEOs and UN Chiefs was the “largest-ever” UN meeting of global business leaders. Attendees addressed the unprecedented societal challenges of health, inequality and climate change, and reflected on how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) could be advanced in our increasingly uncertain times.
Centred around the theme of Recover Better, Recover Stronger, Recover Together, the event marked the 20th anniversary of the UN Global Compact which was formed to encourage businesses worldwide to align strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and take actions that advance societal goals (UN Global Compact).
“I am encouraged to see so many companies, of so many sizes and from so many sectors and countries, recognising the urgent need for global unity and international cooperation,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres in his opening remarks from UN Headquarters in New York. “Our shared aim is to see businesses integrating the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact into their core strategy and operations, taking strong steps to support the SDGs, and reporting publicly on progress.”
The summit marked the release of:
Key findings from the UN Global Compact 20th Anniversary Report: Uniting Business in the Decade of Action include:
Welcome Sanda Ojiambo
The Leaders Summit also marked the appointment of a new leader for the UN Global Compact, with Sanda Ojiambo of Kenya taking over from Denmark’s Lise Kingo as Executive Director.
Reflecting on her five-year leadership role as the UN business chief, Ms. Kingo said, “The Ten Principles and the SDGs must inform every decision and action — big and small, in every part of business. All the way into the supply chain. We need many more businesses to adopt this approach, so it becomes the new normal.”
“While the COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented global crisis, let us not forget that climate change and growing inequalities continue to shake the very foundations of business and of humanity,” said Ms. Ojiambo in her concluding remarks. “Now more than ever, business can and should play a central role in societal transformation.”
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A participant in the UN Global Compact, CourtHeath seeks to raise awareness about the Sustainable Development Goals and the principles of the Global Compact with business and government organisations in Victoria.
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IMAGE: Used under licence from shutterstock.com
[global compact, sustainable development goals, SDGs]