In 2012 the United Nations began a process of determining the successor to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which were set to expire in 2015. The task of defining a future development agenda was led by Member States with broad participation from different stakeholder groups, including businesses and investors.
This created an opportune moment for the UN Global Compact to help shape the future priorities of the UN and to prepare for supporting the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which were the culmination of this process. The new SDG framework builds on the MDGs. However, attempts to broaden the scope to include a range of economic and environmental objectives alongside traditional development objectives such as health and education has taken place. The SDGs lay out goals towards a more a peaceful, better governed and inclusive society. For the past several years, the UN Global Compact has played an important role in bringing business perspectives to the process of shaping the SDGs and will continue to support companies in implementing them.
For example, the UN Global Compact has developed:
The Post-2015 Business Engagement Architecture
The Post-2015 Business Engagement Architecture illustrates the main building blocks necessary to enhance corporate sustainability as an effective contribution to sustainable development, creating value for both business and society. Each of these building blocks must be further strengthened and connected through a comprehensive and collective effort if they are to help take corporate sustainability to scale and turn business into a truly transformative force in the post-2015 era.
SDG Industry Matrix
The SDG Industry Matrix is a joint collaboration between the UN Global Compact and KPMG. The matrix highlights industry-specific examples and ideas for corporate action related to the SDGs. Presented in a series of publications, each matrix presents bold pursuits and decisions made by diverse companies for each SDG. The SDG Industry Matrices are intended to inspire greater business pursuit of opportunities which create value for society, as well as for shareholders. This could be through sparking new innovative approaches, prompting companies to replicate successful activities in new markets, and catalysing new collaborations and increasing participation in existing collaborations.
Global Platforms and Partnerships for SDG Implementation
For over a decade, the UN Global Compact has developed a comprehensive portfolio that supports business engagement in areas that support SDGs:
• Issue platforms and programmes: The UN Global Compact together with UN partners hosts a number of global issue platforms – including Caring for Climate, the CEO Water Mandate, the Women’s Empowerment Principles, Children’s Rights and Business Principles, Business for Peace – and other issue areas in the environmental, social and governance realms that drive individual and collective business action related to specific sustainable development challenges.
• Leadership platform – Global Compact LEAD: The work taking place within Global Compact LEAD is helping to accelerate the full integration of business risk and opportunities related to sustainable development into all core corporate functions and business units, including top management and Boards of Directors. LEAD companies have played a key role in the UN Global Compact’s post-2015 consultations and many are taking steps to align their own corporate sustainability goals with the future SDGs.
• UN-Business Partnerships: The UN Global Compact helps corporate participants and Local Networks navigate entry points to working with the UN through events, relationship-building initiatives and tools like the UN Global Compact Business Partnership Hub, which helps stakeholders to find partners.