Why bother with sustainability if companies fail to consider Sustainable Development Goal 16?

The future of sustainability is focused around the new global Sustainable Development Goals launched in September 2015. Momentously, Goal 16 calls governments, business and civil society to:

“Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”

Without peaceful, inclusive societies, sustainable development has no ‘enabling environment’. Yet, discussion of ‘peace and stability’ with many corporate representatives is often received with a quiet, “not really our responsibility” or “we don’t oTGG_Icon_Color_18perate in conflict zones”. But as part of a community, or part of a social ‘system’, business can work with other actors to support their peace efforts. Business contributions to peace are crucial for conflict-affected countries, as well as countries not seen as
‘conflict zones’ but which experience instability and low-level violence. Indeed business support for peace is important in all countries, and can include for example, supporting measures aimed at inter-cultural/faith/sect understanding and countering terrorism. If companies ignore how they impact (both positively and negatively) on a country’s conflict(s), and how they can proactively help prevent or mitigate violent conflict, what is the point of sustainable development when big business is such a key global player? And ultimately, peace means prosperity for both communities and business.  Continue reading

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Three Rules of Success for Sustainable Change

The world is at war.

And I’m not talking about the terrible war in Syria or the recent terrorist attacks. I’m talking about the war against the root causes that are real drivers and amplifiers of the aggression we see nowadays. It is a war against depletion, scarcity, degradation, poverty and exclusion and for health, wellbeing, biodiversity, prosperity and inclusion. It is the most important war we, as influencers in public and private organizations, can fight at this moment, and since we are our own worst enemy in this case, we need to stand united in tackling this complex issue.  Continue reading

Moving Towards Corporate Citizenship

It is necessary to assess how far Corporate Citizenship is embedded in organizations" - Dorothée Baumann-Pauly

It is necessary to assess how far Corporate Citizenship is embedded in organizations” – Dorothée Baumann-Pauly

On September 19-20, the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit will bring together chief executives of companies that are committed to sustainable development and corporate citizenship, a concept that describes the citizenship role of corporations in a global economy. In the words of Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon, the Summit will “outline a path for business to contribute to global priorities and the public good”.

The UN initiative, currently the largest global corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative in the world, comprises over 10,000 participants from corporations, civil society and academia. The entry-barrier for corporations to join the Compact is low: The CEO, endorsed by the Board, sends a letter of commitment to the Secretary-General of the United Nations that expresses support of the Compact’s ten principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. This commitment explicitly implies making “the Compact and its principles an integral part of business strategy, day-to-day operations and organizational culture” (www.unglobalcompact.org).
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