Activating ambitious action
to achieve the SDGs
Join us as we step up to transformative change on the journey to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Become part of our new SDG Ambition Accelerator programme to unlock business value, build resilience, and enable long-term growth.
As we approach the 2030 Agenda deadline, companies are increasingly looked at to be part of the solution. We have a unique window of opportunity now to develop post-pandemic business strategies that fully integrate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and help build more inclusive and sustainable societies.
SDG Ambition is a six-month accelerator programme that will challenge and support participating companies of the UN Global Compact in setting ambitious corporate targets and accelerating the integration of the SDGs into core business management.
Take this opportunity to deepen the integration of the SDGs and Ten Principles into your company’s business strategy, operations, and stakeholder engagement with the SDG Ambition Accelerator programme.
What you will learn
- How to strategically prioritise actions that will accelerate your company’s contribution to the 2030 Agenda
- How to set targets aligned with absolute benchmarks that today may seem aspirational but are critical to spearheading the transformation of economies and societies
- How to approach sustainability management differently and design new systems integrating the SDGs
- How to hardwire SDG related business goals and outcomes into core processes and management of business, to materially accelerate progress toward the SDGs
- How to build a business case and generate sustainability buy in from your company
What you will gain
- An understanding of baseline impacts across the business in creating a comprehensive sustainability strategy
- The ability to achieve ambitious goals aimed at galvanising business actions with what is required to achieve the SDGs
- An overview of how to integrate and mainstream ambitious sustainability goals across business units by pioneering a performance integration approach that utilises enabling technologies
- The foundational tools and understanding to build a business case
- Insight into industries with an outsized impact on the SDGs
- Ability to develop and share ambitious business actions on the SDGs alongside a diverse group of leaders from numerous corporations
- Certificate of completion
Expressions of interest for the 2025 SDG Ambition Accelerator programme
Expressions of interest are now open.
The 2025 programme will run from approximately October 2025 to April 2026.
As part of the SDG Ambition Accelerator programme, your company will receive:
Guidance and inspiration
Knowledge and training sessions
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the SDG Ambition accelerator programme?
SDG Ambition is a six-month accelerator programme that aims to challenge and support participating companies of the UN Global Compact to set ambitious corporate targets aligned with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and accelerate integration into core business and performance management. SDG Ambition enables companies to move beyond incremental progress and step-up transformative change – unlocking business value, building business resilience, and enabling long-term growth. It was launched in January 2020 at the World Economic Forum in Davos by the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres. Subsequently, 10 SDG Ambition Benchmarks were launched in June 2020 at the UN Global Compact Leaders’ Summit.
Round 1 of the SDG Ambition Accelerator ran from January 2020 to June 2021, and Round 2 ran from October 2021 to May 2022. Round 3 is expected to kick off in October 2022, focused primarily on virtual capacity-building workshops with peers and experts as well as educational videos and lecture series.
What are the SDG Ambition Benchmarks?
The SDG Ambition benchmarks are a set of absolute, measurable benchmarks grounded in established reporting requirements. They translate the SDGs for business, focusing on where business can drive the greatest impact. These benchmarks are applicable across all industries, and their implementation is adaptable, allowing companies to define goals and targets in the areas that are most material for their industry context.
My company already has targets in place to advance the Sustainable Development Goals. Why should we join the accelerator?
According to the UN Global Compact’s Progress Report, 81% of UN Global Compact companies report taking actions to support the global goals. However, there is a critical performance gap between the action business is taking right now and the global and societal needs defined by the Sustainable Development Goals. For example, only 39% of companies say they have targets they believe are sufficiently ambitious to deliver Agenda 2030, that are science-based and/or align with societal needs.
At the same time, companies report that the biggest challenges they face in advancing sustainability is embedding it deeply within their strategies, operations and value chains. In our latest progress report, less than half of participating companies report that they are embedding the SDGs into their core businesses and only 37% designing business models to support them.
The Accelerator aims to challenge companies to assess whether their goals are set with the right level of ambition to make progress on the SDGs as well as support companies to embed the right goals within their core business strategy and potentially explore new areas of interest. In addition to uncovering strategies to fast-track progress toward existing targets, companies may be inspired to raise the ambition of their targets to better align with the SDGs and the world’s most pressing challenges.
What activities does the SDG Ambition Accelerator include?
SDG Ambition is a six-month, outcome-driven accelerator that aims to challenge and support companies in setting ambitious corporate targets and accelerating integration of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into core business management. It will consist of a series of on-demand and live sessions with peers and experts. Participants will leave the accelerator with a better understanding of what it means to set ambitious company goals required to achieve the SDGs, and a plan to achieve them. The workshops are informed by the research and deliverables published as part of the SDG Ambition accelerator and designed by Global Compact Local Networks to recognise and respond to different country contexts. Participants will learn:
- How to strategically prioritise actions that will accelerate your company’s contributions to the 2030 Agenda
- How to set targets aligned with absolute benchmarks that today may seem aspirational but are critical to spearhead the transformation of economies and societies
- How to approach sustainability management differently and design new systems integrating the SDGs
- How to build a business case and generate sustainability buy-in from your company
Outcome: At the conclusion of the accelerator, we expect that participants will have one or more revised or new goals aligned with an SDG Ambition Benchmark on a priority topic, a Mapped Integration Journey that outlines how they will achieve it, and a clear plan of action to implement the SDG Ambition Approach going forward within six months of completing the accelerator.
What is the duration of the SDG Ambition Accelerator?
On-boarding activities will start in late October 2022 and will be available on-demand. The accelerator will run through to April 2023. UN Global Compact Network Australia will provide a detailed schedule of activities.
What is the time commitment?
What is the outcome of the program?
The objective of the SDG Ambition Accelerator is to increase the number of companies setting ambitious goals. At the conclusion of the accelerator, participants will have:
- One or more revised or new goals aligned with an SDG Ambition Benchmark on a priority topic
- A Mapped Integration Journey that outlines how they will achieve it
- A plan of action to implement the SDG Ambition Approach
- Develop pitch for goals aligned to the SDG Ambition Benchmark to present to internal stakeholders and gain sustainability buy-in
What are the benefits of participating for companies?
The SDG Ambition Accelerator enables companies to move beyond incremental progress and step-up transformative change – unlocking business value, building business resilience, and enabling long-term growth. The accelerator will allow companies to gain competitive business advantage through setting and integrating ambitious goals. Additionally, participants will have the unique opportunity to collaborate with other companies to share sustainability goals and brainstorm integration methods.
Who from our company should participate in the SDG Ambition Accelerator? Are there eligibility criteria that we should be aware of?
All participating companies are asked to nominate two representatives to actively participate in the accelerator on behalf of the company. This includes attending SDG Ambition workshops and coordinating with colleagues across the organisation to advance SDG Ambition objectives. To derive full value from your participation in the accelerator each company is strongly encouraged to consider nominating two representatives to engage in the work on the initiative.
- One representative is responsible for prioritisation and goal setting (i.e. from Sustainability/Strategy Departments) and
- One representative has responsibility for overseeing systems to track and manage performance against organisational goals (Information Technology Department, Monitoring and Evaluation etc.)
- In addition to the SDG Ambition representatives, all participating companies are requested to nominate a top-level “Champion” to follow SDG Ambition developments, provide support to the company representatives as needed, and represent the company at high-level events that are part of or related to SDG Ambition. The SDG Ambition Champion should have a direct line of communication to the CEO (e.g., Member of the C-Suite or Board). The company’s CEO may also decide to take on the role of SDG Ambition Champion
I am not sure who to nominate as a second representative responsible for systems integration?
Is there an extra cost for my company to participate?
A small fee to participate In the SDG Ambition Accelerator will apply for all UN Global Compact participants:
Corporate Participants: AUD$1595.00 + GST
SME Participants: AUD$750.00 + GST
What is the difference between the local in-country track and the global track of the SDG Ambition Accelerator?
In-country track: The in-country track is available in 26 countries, where the program will be run in collaboration with Global Compact Local Networks around the world. This track will be facilitated in local language and local time zone. It will offer a series of live and on-demand sessions, hands-on support, more interactive workshops, and peer-to-peer networking. Companies will be grouped with participants from their own country. Participants of the in-country track get access to global track sessions and in-country sessions. UN Global Compact Network Australia is participating in this track.
Africa Track: New this year, the Africa track will bring together companies from all across the continent to collaborate on unique opportunities to take ambitious action on the SDGs. Space is limited.
Global track: The global track will be facilitated in English, and it will offer the same curriculum content as the in-country track delivered through a series of global live and on-demand sessions. This global track will be available in countries where an in-country track is not available.
My company does not currently have corporate targets in place to advance the SDGs. Are we required to set a target in order to participate?
No. The purpose of the accelerator is to help companies set and meet ambitious targets to advance the SDGs. Companies do not need to have targets in place in order to participate. Through SDG Ambition, we aim to provide participating companies with the research and knowledge needed to confidently set corporate targets aligned with the SDG Ambition Benchmarks and integrate these targets within core business operations.
Is the accelerator relevant for small and medium enterprises?
Can non-business UN Global Compact participants join the accelerator?
The Accelerator is designed for business participants. Non-business participants with expertise and knowledge relevant to SDG Ambition are encouraged to discuss opportunities to support SDG Ambition with Nick O’Sullivan, Sustainability Coordinator.
My company is not based in a country where there is a participating Global Compact Local Network. How can we take part in the SDG Ambition Accelerator?
For the in-country track, only companies based in countries where the Global Compact Local Network is running the accelerator can participate. Note that companies must be members of the Local Network to take part. If a company is not based in a country with a Local Network that is running SDG Ambition, it can sign up to the global track of the accelerator.
How do I register to participate in the SDG Ambition Accelerator?
Companies can complete the registration form to sign up to participate in the accelerator by Friday, 30 September 2022.
Questions? Please contact Nick O’Sullivan, Sustainability Coordinator for further details.