SDG Pioneers 2020

The Sustainable Development Goals lay out a clear vision for a sustainable future, representing an opportunity to shape a new era for responsible business. As part of our Making Global Goals Local Business work, each year the United Nations Global Compact celebrates a group of SDG Pioneers — business leaders who are doing an exceptional job to advance the Global Goals through the implementation of our Ten Principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. In our search for the 2020 cohort of SDG Pioneers, we encourage professionals working at any level of a UN Global Compact participating company who are leveraging a principles-based approach to set ambitious, scalable, and impactful SDG targets to apply.

A UK Wide search for our next SDG Pioneer submission period begins on the 17th February 2020

The UN Global Compact has also decided that the COVID-19 crisis should be considered when evaluating submissions. Specific questions will be added to the application in due course. Candidates that have already applied will be asked to update to their submission.

As part of the UN Global Compact SDG Pioneers programme, Global Compact Network UK have launched a nationwide search for professionals who are committed to achieving the Global Goals. The selected UK SDG Pioneers will be locally recognised in June and will advance to the global round which will open on 11th January 2021.

Employees of companies participating in the UN Global Compact are welcome to submit their own stories describing their contributions towards sustainable development or nominate a colleague for consideration in the SDG Pioneers programme.

Why Apply or Nominate Someone?

  • Employee engagement and recognition – The program provides companies with an opportunity to highlight how their employees are advancing the SDGs and are indeed next generation leaders.
  • Enable change agents for the SDGs – Leadership in the 2030 era requires change agents, and the SDG Pioneers Program provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for professionals to push their vision forward within their organisations and create change.
  • National and global recognition – SDG Pioneers will receive visibility and be recognised for the great work that they have done to advance the SDGs. The Global SDG Pioneers will be announced at the 2021 UN Global Compact Leaders Summit in June.

Who Can Apply?

As part of the 2020 UN Global Compact SDG Pioneers program, the Global Compact Network UK is searching for professionals who are committed to advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Through their own company or by mobilising other businesses, SDG Pioneers help advance one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals while also contributing to business success.

The Global Compact Network UK will award the 2020 UK SDG Pioneer at the local level. The selected individual will then have the opportunity to participate in the final search of global SDG Pioneers to be recognised during the 2020 UN General Assembly in September in New York.

Selection Process

National and Global Rounds
Global Compact Local Networks are hosting country-level SDG Pioneers programs this year to seek out individuals locally who will then compete in a global round. The country-level programmes will take place from February to May 2020 before the global round, which will take place from June to September 2020.

Local Networks will only recognise one SDG Pioneer who will continue to the Global Round.

Internal Review
The judging process for local rounds consists of an internal review and an external review. The internal review will be conducted by the UK secretariat team based on judging criteria set by the UN Global Compact. Five successful candidates will be chosen from this step to move onto the external review.

External Review
This round of review will be conducted by an External Review Committee consisting of a government official, Global Compact Network UK board members, and leaders from business, academia, and non-profit.

Timeline

DATE
WHAT'S HAPPENING
February Launch of local rounds
February 17 – October 15, 2020
Submission period
October 15, 2020 – November 1, 2020 Review process
November 1, 2020 - December 15, 2020
Country winners announced
January 11, 2021 - March 15, 2021
Global submission
March 15, 2021 - April 30, 2021
Review & selection
June, 2021
Announcement & recognition

Submit an Application

Are you a business leader advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through a principles-based approach, or do you know someone who is? Please use the following forms to nominate yourself or someone else.

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FAQs

General
Who are the 2020 SDG Pioneers?
As part of the UN Global Compact’s Making Global Goals Local Business campaign, each year the UN Global Compact recognises a class of SDG Pioneers — business leaders working at any level of their company who are using business as a force for good to advance the 17 SDGs.

Through their own company or by mobilising other businesses, they are helping to reach one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while also contributing to business success.

In 2020, Local Networks, spanning all continents, will be hosting a country-level SDG Pioneers campaign to identify business leaders who will then be contenders for the global round to be recognised at the UN Global Compact 2021 Leaders Summit in June.

What are the “SDGs”?
In September 2015, all 193 Member states of the United Nations adopted a plan for achieving a better future for all – laying out a path over the next 15 years to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and protect our planet. At the heart of the “Agenda 2030” are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 related targets that address the most important economic, social, environmental, and governance challenges of our time. To learn more about how companies are taking steps to contribute to achieving the SDGs, visit the UN Global Compact website.


Who is eligible?
Professionals who are working at any level of a UN Global Compact Participant or Signatory company are eligible to apply or be nominated. To check whether an organisation is a UN Global Compact Participant or Signatory company, please search the participant list online. If your company has yet to select its engagement tier, please see here for more information and to select your engagement tier.

For the 2020 SDG Pioneers, we only consider companies who were participants of the UN Global Compact on 30 September 2019 and have submitted at least 1 Communication on Progress (CoP). If your company joined after the date, please consider applying for the 2022 SDG Pioneers programme.

The UN Global Compact reserves the right to remove the SDG Pioneer recognition if the company and/or individual is later deemed to be a reputational risk to the SDG Pioneer campaign and/or the UN Global Compact initiative.
What if I am affiliated with but not directly employed by a UN Global Compact signatory?
You are only eligible to apply or be nominated if you are either employed by the company (or its subsidiary).
My company does not yet participate in the UN Global Compact. Can I still apply?
Only individuals from a UN Global Compact Participant or Signatory company will be eligible to apply or be nominated. If your company is not yet participating in the UN Global Compact, please visit the UN Global Compact website to learn more about how to join.
My organisation is doing great work. Can it be nominated?
No, the SDG Pioneers campaign highlights the work of individuals, not organisations.

Do I have to be a UK citizen or permanent resident?

Nationality does not matter as long as the nominee or applicant works for a UK company with headquarters in UK or a UK subsidiary of a global company.


Application process
What is the nomination deadline?
The nomination deadline is October 15th 2020.
How do I nominate myself / someone who I think is doing great work?
Please complete the online submission form, which is available here. To nominate someone, click here.
Who can submit a nomination?
You can nominate yourself or a colleague at your company, or someone you know from another UN Global Compact participating company. That individual will then be contacted to ensure their willingness to be considered and the accuracy of the submitted information.


Selection Process
How and when will I be notified if I was selected?
SDG Pioneers will be informed of their selection by early December, 2020. Due to the volume of nominations received, we may be unable to contact nominees who are not selected.


Recognition
How will the SDG Pioneers be recognised? What will I receive if selected?
The SDG Pioneers will receive visibility and be recognised for the great work that they have done to advance the Sustainable Development Goals. 2020 SDG Pioneers selected in December 2020 will be recognised at the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit in June, 2021.


I have more questions. Who can I contact?
Please email Cynthia.adebiyi-yekinni@unglobalcompact.org.uk with any additional questions.

SDG Pioneers