June 23, 2020 - 5 minutes read

UN global compact leaders’ summit

By Magdalene Kariuki

On June 15-16th, the UN Global Compact Leaders’ Summit virtually convened over 20,000 leaders from business, government, the UN, civil society and academia for a 26-hour conversation on building inclusive economies and setting course for a socially just, low-carbon and climate resilient world.

The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, noted that the COVID pandemic was the biggest challenge to humanity since the foundation of the UN, and a collaborative spirit was needed to address it.

The online Summit consisted of plenary events and side sessions.

The plenary events shared lessons learned in different regions like Africa, Asia, Europe and North America in incorporating renewable energy, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), climate resilience and green cities. There was considerable discussion on Clean Energy, Sustainable Oceans, Net Zero Carbon economies, Recovery, Partnerships and Leaderships. Online tools, initiatives and programs to further the cause of sustainability for companies, accelerators for entrepreneurs and gender equality were announced and elaborated on.

It was noted that in 2020, 25% of global funds were considered sustainable investment, and this portfolio was expected to grow 20 times. 99% of CEOs globally saw the future business value of the UN Global Compact, particularly for brand and corporate growth.

In the long term, UN Global Compact could improve the financial health of a company through higher valuation, cost efficiency, higher profit and societal improvement. The adoption of new technologies is critical in achieving these efficiencies and a sustainable future. Socio-economic transformation is enhanced by the use of clean energy to improve energy access. Leaders must focus on ambition, action and advocacy to further sustainable goals. They must consider the societal and environmental impact of their actions, work towards future proofing their supply chains and solve problems in a collaborative manner. Measuring and reporting progress transparently was key to moving forward.

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