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UN Global Compact Calls for Companies to Make Sustainable Commitments

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Tuesday May 8th, 2012 | 2 Comments

Calling all companies who want to practice sustainability! Answer the call by the UN Global Compact and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD) for companies to commit to sustainable actions and partnerships. The Global Compact, partnering with the WBCSD, issued the call for commitments on May 3 for the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum, which will be held on June 15 to 18, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro.

“We need to put our world on a more sustainable path—economically, socially and environmentally,” the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a video address about the call for commitments posted on the Global Compact website. The Secretary General added that businesses can be part of the solutions to the problems of our day:

“Solutions exist that can have profound impact, but we need many more companies to awaken to this agenda. The UN Global Compact already has 6,000 companies committed to sustainability. I urge you to join them. The Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum is our launch pad for action, innovation and collaboration.”


The commitments must fall within the six core themes of the Forum: energy and climate, water and ecosystems, agriculture and food, social development, urbanization and cities, and economics and finance of sustainable development. The commitments must also meet the following criteria:

  • Advance one or more UN goal/issue
  • Include time-bound target(s) that can be measured for success
  • Include an agreement to publicly disclose, on an annual basis, progress made to realize the commitment, throughout its duration

The commitments can take various forms, according to a press release by the UN Global Compact, including new projects or partnerships, existing activities that are scaled up or accelerated, adding partners to existing projects or renewing ongoing commitments. The press release cites examples of commitments that can be taken, which include:

  • Energy & Climate: Reduce emissions from operations or improve the energy efficiency of products and services
  • Water & Ecosystems: Eliminate waste water runoff in production or develop water-use regulations in partnership with local governments
  • Agriculture & Food: Collaborate across a supply chain to build an affordable food distribution system to underserved populations or improve the efficiency of farming operations
  • Social Development: Expand business relationships with women-owned enterprises, including small businesses and women entrepreneurs
  • Urbanization & Cities: Create a high quality, low impact sewer system in a developing market or partner with local governments to create more reliable public transportation options
  • Economics & Finance of Sustainable Development: Provide financing for an innovative development venture or build an international market for the exchange of development funds

Companies are asked to submit their commitments through the UN-business partnership gateway at www.business.un.org/commitments. Both the Global Compact Office and the WBCSD will recognize corporate commitments at that website and on a mobile device that will be available to participants of the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum.

Photo credits: Flickr user, UN Global Compact


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  • Isabella Meyer

    As a prelude to Rio+20, Accenture is putting global sustainability solidly on the business agenda.  Join business and world leaders during a 12 hour online broadcast in discussing sustainable growth and greater efficiencies, as well as the future of the global consumer. Register on http://www.accenture.com/sustainability24 or follow us on #sustainability24 

  • MARTHA

    LET’S COMMIT TO A SINGLE-USE PLASTIC FREE RIO+20. REFUSE SINGLE USE PLASTICS AND BRING YOUR OWN CUPS/BOTTLES, STRAWS, PLATES, BAGS