Demand for business and human rights education is growing worldwide. Academic institutions are well positioned to prepare future business leaders to manage the human rights impacts of their companies.
The UN Global Compact in collaboration with the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) are asking companies to sign an open letter calling on academic institutions to integrate business and human rights into their curriculum.
The second edition of the “Business & SDGs High Level Meeting” was held at the Edison SpA headquarters in Milan on 18th May. It was sponsored by the GCNI Foundation as an opportunity to encourage a shared reflection at the highest level amongst prominent actors in the national sphere, regarding the role the private sector is called upon to play in support of the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Agenda. People from the highest offices (Presidents, Managing Directors, Leading Managers) of large and medium-sized Italian companies from various production sectors, with a solid sustainability profile, met together around the table: A2A, AirPlus International, Alcantara, BNL – Gruppo BNP Paribas, Borsa Italiana, E&Y, Enel, Edison, Gruppo Hera, Saipem, Salini Impregilo.
The second appointment of the "Business & SDGs Workshops" cycle promoted by the Global Compact Network Italy Foundation - as part of the 2017 Activities Program in support of the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development - will be held on July 12th in Milan at the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, Corso Magenta 63, from 1.30 pm to 5.00 pm. The meeting is organized in collaboration with Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei and Fondazione Sodalitas.
In pursuing the Sustainable Development Goals, the 2030 Agenda poses an unavoidable challenge: "to intensify multilateral partnerships that develop and share knowledge, skills, technological and financial resources" (SDG 17) into a collective action logic. Only through close collaboration between the different actors who are mutually and voluntarily engaged in innovative relationships to pursue shared goals is it possible to embark on an inclusive and sustainable growth program.
Multi-stakeholder partnerships have proven to be a strategic and essential tool in boosting the corporate world’s contribution to sustainable development. By putting together common skills and resources, they have created projects, actions and experiences of great value for the people and the needs that they aim to protect and promote.
On 18th May, the first of the four “Business & SDGs Workshops” to be promoted by the Global Compact Network Italy Foundation in 2017 was held in Milan, as part of the activities program aimed at supporting the implementation of United Nations 2030 Global Goals. This first event, dedicated to the theme of "Sustainable Finance in Support of SDGs", was organized together with UNEP Inquiry and kindly hosted by Edison SpA.
The Global Compact Italy Foundation has joined the UNGC Action Platform "Pathways to Low-Carbon & Resilient Development" which was launched in March 2017 by the United Nations Global Compact with the dual purpose of providing support to the National Plans for the Paris Climate Agreement and specifically to promote the advancement of 3 of the 17 UN Global Goals: SDG7 – Affordable & Clean Energy, SDG9 – Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure, SDG13 – Climate Action.
The world leaders in sustainability will be meeting again in New York on 21st September at the initiative of the United Nations Global Compact.
At the UNGC Leaders Summit 2017, particular attention will be paid to the theme of public private partnerships for achieving the 2030 Global Goals. A consideration shared at the highest level on the ways to ensure a wider, more meaningful and effective engagement of businesses, institutions and stakeholder organizations in global action for sustainable development will be promoted and developed within the Summit.
The second edition of the Italian Business & SDGs Annual Forum will be held on September 27th 2017 from 9.00 am to 4.30 pm, in the town of Lucca at the prestigious Palazzo Pfanner. The Forum is promoted by the Global Compact Network Italy Foundation in collaboration with Sofidel Group, which kindly hosts the event, and it is organized with the support of A2A SpA and Edison SpA. The initiative will be held under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Municipality of Lucca, Confindustria Toscana Nord - Lucca, Pistoia, Prato.
In March five new companies with a CSR/sustainability profile already characterised by specific goals related to their business sector: BNL GRUPPO BNP PARIBAS (as “Founding Member”), than Autogrill Group, Ledvance SpA, San Servolo Servizi Metropolitani di Venezia and Tridente Immobiliare (as “Participants”) became part of the Global Compact Network Italy.
With the exception of BNL SpA (present for years in the UN Global Compact), for the other companies mentioned above joining the Global Compact Network Italy Foundation is the start of a process of getting closer to and more progressively involved in the UN initiative for corporate sustainability and its Ten Principles on human rights, labour, the environment, and anti-corruption.
From the launch of the 2030 Agenda (September 2015) until now, the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) have become a guide for businesses in countries around the world. Globally, in the political, economic and social spheres, the reaction of leaders to new challenges and priorities for sustainable development as set out by the United Nations has been impressive. A new awareness has gradually spread leading to new strategies, policies and initiatives in support of peace and world prosperity and the protection of the planet.
In late April two important events promoted by the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) will be held in New Delhi in India as international-scale initiatives in support of the Global Goals 2030 and of the role of Local Networks within the governance system UNGC.
► “Making Global Goals Local Business – India” (New Delhi, 26th-27th of April)
The two days will bring together over 300 local and global leaders with the aim of promoting the development of innovative business models to support the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Collection of "experiences and business practices related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)" is taking shape. The collaboration that was initiated with the first 10 companies that will be the key actors in the collection already profiles an interesting opportunity for future readers to explore from the review processes of strategy and business in order to integrate SDGs at corporate level, to the projects started to concretize specific objectives.
In fact the intention of the document is to analytically report the different approaches, visions and instruments adopted by the key companies with the common aim of "making the global goals opportunities for business at local level."
The Italian CSR Manager Network promoted the EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION OF SUSTAINABILITY PROFESSIONALS (EASP), a network of CSR practitioners from European organizations, with the aim to share each other's experience for the benefit of those who are interested in promoting sustainability as a development factor.
Activities started at the beginning of 2017 with a virtual meeting, the webinar "Stakeholder management & its impact on performance and reporting" which aims to understand how multinational enterprises are adapting their stakeholder management processes and explore different institutional contexts in which they operate in.
During 2016, in light of the new commitments which were adopted at international level with the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement on Climate, the GCNI Foundation worked to progressively assume an increasingly active role in terms of support to businesses in the integration processes of the SDGs to business strategies and enhancement of the experiences implemented within the network. A multi-year activities plan for firms, open to stakeholder organizations, was launched and has registered the first important results.
In particular, the first editions of the Business & SDGs High Level Meeting and the Italian Business & SDGs Annual Forum have highlighted three fundamental aspects: the private sector is widely recognized as the main actor of sustainable development and, for this reason, all the stakeholders (primarily, consumers and institutions) are called upon to encourage an orientation towards SDGs by businesses; the implementation path of the SDGs must necessarily be characterized as a participatory process to be managed through a collaboration between the parties; the new partnerships will involve all the actors of sustainable development in a coordinated way and by capitalizing on the specificities of each of them.
With the intention of making further progress, in the new year even more ambitious scenarios will open up, oriented firstly towards the launching of a shared project on the SDGs, to the promotion of a more widespread and effective involvement of SMEs in sustainable development, to the presentation of the SDGs Best Practice Collection in national and international spheres which is reserved for our members and which we are already working on.
(Marco Frey, President - Global Compact Network Italy Foundation)
With the aim of giving value to, illustrating and expanding knowledge with respect to the private sector’s contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals, the Global Compact Network Italy Foundation (GCNI Foundation) has launched the "Collection of experiences and business practices related to the Sustainable Development Goals" project.
In the final months of 2016, the Global Compact Network Italy Foundation (GCNI Foundation) will be engaged in an intense promotion of the United Nations Global Compact or, more generally, to make its own contribution in the context of national and international initiatives organized by partner agencies and aimed at a deepening study of sustainability issues, to the production of new knowledge or the sharing of good practices.
In October 2016 two new small and medium enterprises, Intesys Srl and Rebaioli SpA, became part of the Italian Network of the Global Compact Foundation (GCNI Foundation) coordinated by the Global Compact Network Italy. The first one is a Technological Digital Agency based in Verona. The second one is a firm located in the province of Brescia and involved in the construction of power lines, telecommunication towers and technological systems in general.
With over 2,000 participants, 1,500 users for the live stream, about 80 Italian and international speakers, on 9th November at Ecomondo - Rimini Fair - the fifth edition of the States General of the Green Economy in Italy drew to a close. The introductory session on 8th November morning was about the presentation of the Report on the State of the Green Economy dedicated to the Italian green economy in Europe and in the world in addition to other authoritative sources and the presence of the Environment Minister Gian Luca Galletti.
The UN Global Compact is calling on companies everywhere to take action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in partnership with the UN, governments and civil society. The Partnership Passport is your guide to finding new partnerships and enhancing existing ones. With 10 inspiring examples of UN-Business collaboration, tips to plan your own partnerships, and directions for finding UN partners to work with, your journey awaits you.
Last week the United Nations Global Compact convened over 600 leaders from business, civil society, the UN and Government in Dubai to drive business awareness and action in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the region. Hosted by Global Compact Network UAE, the four-day series of events entitled Making Global Goals Local Business – Dubai explored the actions and partnerships needed to advance the SDGs at the local level, particularly in the realm of peace and the humanitarian agenda.
“Already in the first year since the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals, we are seeing companies around the world – and here in the UAE – responding to the vision of the global goals. The SDGs are helping to outline new markets and opportunities for companies to contribute to improving our world,” said Lise Kingo, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact.
The Global Compact Network UAE is one of the fastest growing country networks in the global initiative, reflecting the rising interest of business in the region on sustainability. Ms. Kingo urged more companies in the Gulf and MENA regions to join the UN Global Compact and determine how their operations, products and services can support the planet and better serve markets today and in the future.
Representing the Global Compact Network UAE, Mahmoud El Burai laid out the crises afflicting the world – including conflict, poverty, inequality and climate change – and the urgency of taking action right away. “It is a long way to go, and the SDGs are our starting point,” he said. “We are here to transform our world and we have to leave a legacy. We must unite and be one voice: the voice of wisdom and the voice of making a difference.”
Peace and the SDGs
A central focus of the week was the UN Global Compact’s Annual Business for Peace Event, recognizing the fundamental role of peace in advancing all of the SDGs. Held on 26 October, the event convened 250 participants across sectors to help move the peace agenda from aspiration to action and identify opportunities for companies to align their strategies with SDG 16 – the new universal goal on peace and good governance.
Addressing the peace event, H.E. Dr. Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment in the UAE, emphasized the deep connection between peace and sustainable development and outlined the work underway in the UAE around the SDGs.
On the role of business, Minster Al Zeyoudi said, “We see business as an important partner in realizing the ambitious 2030 Agenda as governments alone cannot undertake all that is required. But this not to be taken as a mere charity or to be ticked off as a corporate social responsibility item on the list. Business should consider engagement with the SDGs as a business opportunity because they make business sense.”
Moderated by Zainab Salbi, author and media commentator, the Business for Peace event showcased how companies are taking actions to support peace and humanitarian crises in all regions of the world. Multi-national and domestic companies shared their experiences promoting rule of law and inclusive societies, empowering women and fighting corruption to support the achievement of SDG 16. With respect to humanitarian crises, the need for private sector support was emphasized by UN entities and NGOs to help respond to the large movements of refugees and migrants. Education, employment and basic needs were identified as key areas for business action.
Global Compact Local Networks from Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Germany, Indonesia, Nigeria, Uganda, Ukraine, Turkey also shared their efforts to mobilize the private sector around issues such as violence containment, refugees, interfaith and intercultural understanding, and peace negotiations.
Additional Dubai events included:
24-25 October: Global Compact Local Networks from nearly 60 countries and representatives from over 30 UN agencies, funds and programmes focused on building private sector action on the SDGs country by country. Discussions centered on how to accelerate collaboration among business, the UN Global Compact and UN partners in local contexts, and in coordination with national SDG action plans. Participants shared examples of successful and scalable UN-Business partnerships, as outlined in the recently released UN Global Compact Partnership Passport.
25 October: Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) Business for Peace Forum was hosted together with the American University of Sharjah, bringing together academics, practitioners, civil society, international organizations and NGOs to discuss cutting-edge academic research on how business can advance peace with a focus on peacebuilding and conflict-sensitive due diligence in alignment with SDG 16. PRME is a sister initiative of the UN Global Compact.
27 October: 2nd Regional Forum on Sustainability in Action: Business and the Sustainable Development Goals was hosted by the Pearl Initiative, Global Compact Network UAE and the UN Global Compact. Bringing together over 600 senior representatives from public and private companies, state-owned entities, government, the UN, civil society and academia across the MENA region, the Forum explored opportunities to provide solutions and innovate around the SDGs and the global goals’ themes of prosperity, people, planet, peace and partnership.
On 26th October 2016, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) launched the SDG Knowledge Hub in Geneva. It is a digital platform for the dissemination and sharing of information, knowledge and best practices to do with SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). This project will also be presented during a webinar on 3rd November. The platform aims specifically to publicise the objectives of the various States along their path towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and to communicate their progress, as it happens, about the SDGs to those interested.
As stated by Scott Vaughan – the President of the IISD - knowledge sharing and constant monitoring are necessary commitments to successfully achieve the 2030 Agenda objectives. It was with this in mind that the SDG Knowledge Hub was created. The SDG Knowledge Hub, accessible from the IISD site, suggests that the user selects a particular SDG, about which the Platform will provide several key data such as the number of news items, the number of events, the number of articles and the number of policies detected for the given goal. In addition, for each category of information (news, events, articles, policies) all the material produced so far is made available. IISD experts are responsible for selecting the information published, as participants in the events, while experts from partner organizations publish articles as external contributors. The user friendly platform allows the user to have immediate access to information from trusted sources and worthy of interest relating to the steps taken so far towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.
For further information, visit the website: http://sdg.iisd.org/