Environment & Climate Change, News

Annual Letter to United Nations Global Compact Participants from Lise Kingo, Executive Director

UN Global Compact Network Australia | February 4, 2016

Are you ready to make the Sustainable Development Goals work for you?

The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris climate agreement in December have ushered in a new era for business.  Last year’s truly historic agreements lay out a clear path and vision for a sustainable future, and have received unprecedented support across governments, business, civil society and citizens alike.

Now, the time has come to turn these frameworks into a global movement for more responsible and sustainable business. Here, the private sector plays a unique and vital role in translating the SDGs into new sustainable markets, services and products.

It will be the most forward-thinking companies that will find the investments and innovations needed to meet global ambitions around health, education, or environment, for example. The companies of tomorrow recognize that finding solutions to challenges opens new markets and creates new opportunities.

The task ahead is grand. Looking back on 2015, it was another year with mega challenges putting pressure on our societies. Poverty, climate change, corruption and inequality are root problems, the results of which we see in unacceptable violence and conflicts, and the largest number of refugees since World War II. It is these challenges that the Sustainable Development Goals seek to address.

The UN Global Compact is ready to spearhead business engagement in this global movement of sustainable development. We begin 2016 by inviting you to put the SDGs to work by translating them into concrete local business opportunities all over the world.

Turning global goals into local business

Businesses everywhere play a key role in shaping the future, and UN Global Compact participants lead the way.  The SDGs give important new direction to the UN Global Compact’s founding mission to encourage companies to do business responsibly – based on our ten universal principles – and to provide solutions to global challenges.

By activating our 13,000+ signatories and our 85 local networks on the ground, we will mobilize our global network through local action. Throughout 2016, Global Compact Local Networks will host local workshops and conferences with the aim of translating the global goals into local business action.

A number of steps will be taken across our initiative to connect our issue work and partnerships to the SDGs, while better supporting our participants in their efforts.

At the same time, we will begin our worldwide campaign to identify the entrepreneurs, innovators and thought-leaders from around the world who exemplify business as a force for good. If you already know a pioneer within the intersection of sustainable development and business, you can nominate them on our website in the coming weeks.

UN Global Compact Leaders Summit – June, New York

Our UN Global Compact Leaders Summit on 22-23 June in New York will be an important milestone for jump-starting business action on the new sustainable development agenda. At the Summit, companies of all sizes and from across the world will show how they are innovating their operations and strategies to advance the SDGs. A highlight will be recognizing the most inspiring SDG Pioneers who are turning global goals into local business.

The Summit will connect, co-create and communicate the opportunities that lie within the SDGs and unleash the potential of turning global goals into local business. Through inspirational talks, intimate roundtables and SDG-themed networking opportunities, we will seek to connect you to the people, companies and organizations relevant for you. We hope this will inspire you to shape the business models, products and services of tomorrow.

On a personal note…

It has certainly been an exciting time to join the United Nations. I am proud to have become a part of an organization that has been instrumental in mobilizing the private sector in shaping the SDGs, through the UN Private Sector Forum last September, and by hosting the official avenue for business at the COP21 climate negotiations in Paris.

Looking ahead, I am excited to work with you on putting the SDGs to work – for new markets, new opportunities and for a more sustainable future for all.


Lise Kingo, Executive Director, UN Global Compact

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UN Global Compact Network Australia