Business Leaders discuss the Future of Responsible Business at the World Economic Forum

New York, United States of America, Jan. 16, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- CEOs and senior UN officials gathered at a meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos convened by the UN Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, to discuss the future of responsible business anchored by the UN Global Compact Ten Principles in human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.  

The meeting marked 25 years since the UN Global Compact was proposed by then UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan. The findings from the meeting discussions will be used to help shape the agenda for the 2024 UN Summit of the Future and provide UN leadership with a stronger understanding of how to fully engage the private sector in the intergovernmentally negotiated, action-oriented Pact for the Future.

The Summit of the Future is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to enhance cooperation on critical challenges and address gaps in global governance, reaffirm existing commitments including to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the UN Charter, and move towards a reinvigorated multilateral system that is better positioned to positively impact people’s lives. Building on the SDG Summit in 2023, Member States will consider ways to lay the foundations for more effective global cooperation that can deal with today’s challenges as well as new threats in the future.

Major global shocks in recent years – including the COVID-19 pandemic, multiple conflicts, and the triple planetary crisis — have posed risks to business growth and the resilience of the multilateral system. The Global Risks Report 2024 from the World Economic Forum highlighted extreme weather and misinformation as most likely to trigger a global crisis in the next couple of years. In addition the report notes that two-thirds of global experts anticipate a multipolar or fragmented order to take shape over the next decade and that cooperation on urgent global issues could be in short supply, requiring new approaches and solutions.

The latest SDG Progress Report showed that just 15 per cent of the SDG targets are on track, progress on 48 per cent is weak and insufficient and progress has stalled or gone into reverse on 37 per cent of the SDGs.

During the high-level event, business leaders explored how companies can collectively drive progress on the SDGs, manage global shocks and create the partnerships needed to secure a resilient and sustainable future through the UN Global Compact Forward Faster initiative

Forward Faster calls on business leaders everywhere to take measurable, credible and ambitious action in five areas — gender equality, climate action, living wage, water resilience and finance & investment — that have the power to accelerate progress across all SDGs where the private sector can collectively make the biggest, fastest impact by 2030. In addition, the UN Global Compact is looking at how the private sector can contribute to ensuring the food system limits and better copes with climate change through Forward Faster. 

CEOs from the UN Global Compact and Pacific Institute Water Resilience Coalition also met separately at the World Economic Forum to discuss the pivotal role of the private sector in water stewardship. 

Notes to Editors

About the UN Global Compact

As a special initiative of the United Nations Secretary-General, the UN Global Compact is a call to companies worldwide to align their operations and strategies with Ten Principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Our ambition is to accelerate and scale the global collective impact of business by upholding the Ten Principles and delivering the Sustainable Development Goals through accountable companies and ecosystems that enable change. With more than 20,000 participating companies, 5 Regional Hubs, 62 Local Networks covering 67 countries and 15 Country Managers establishing Networks in 34 other countries, the UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative — one Global Compact uniting business for a better world. 


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