“Time is of the essence,” urged Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director of the United Nations (UN) Global Compact, to an audience of more than 300 local and global leaders from business, finance, civil society, government and the UN. He was speaking at the conclusion of the two-day event, ‘UN Global Compact, Making Global Goals Local Businesses – India’, in New Delhi. The objective of the programme was to focus on opportunities for driving transformational change and using breakthrough innovation to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“The first movers to align their businesses with the global goals will have a five-to-fifteen year advantage. The best minds from the world of sustainability are coming together with those at the forefront of innovation to generate new technologies,” said Kingo. The event brought together local and global leaders and focused on how businesses can create solutions to address the challenges of sustainable development, advance responsible business practices, and tap into new opportunities found within the SDGs through innovations.
An objective of this event was to facilitate a multi-sectoral dialogue to contribute to the development of the UN Global Compact’s new suite of action platforms, launched this year with partners from business, civil society, governments, academia and the UN. These action platforms seek to promote responsible business activities and fill emerging gaps in meeting the global goals.
Highlights of Lise Kingo’s speech
l The SDGs offer a compelling growth strategy, opening up at least $1 trillion of market opportunity for the private sector in India. This is out of a total global value of $12 trillion that could be unlocked by sustainable business models in four key areas, namely, food and agriculture, energy, cities, and health.
l Over 72 million new jobs could be created in India by 2030. One market hot spot, namely, the low-income food markets could create around 11 million of these jobs.
l Indian business leaders are already using innovative technology and business models to enter global goals-related markets.
Participants and speakers also advocated a holistic approach to SDG leadership, empathising both the opportunities and responsibilities presented by the SDG agenda. They discussed their company’s efforts to align with the ten principles of the UN Global Compact, which ask businesses to meet fundamental responsibilities in the areas of human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption.
A special partner session co-hosted by the UN Global Compact, Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), World Resources Institute (WRI), and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), presented insights on the Science-Based Targets initiative.
Kingo also announced the launch of the search for the 2017 class of SDG pioneers, seeking out individuals who are taking bold actions for the SDGs. She called on individuals to submit their story to the UN Global Compact by May 26, 2017.