UN Global Compact: A Driving Force Behind Sustainable Business

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Even though we usually perceive the UN as a single unified body, it is in-fact a superorganism consisting of many independent bodies working across the globe. UN Global Compact (UNGC) is one such body. It is the largest voluntary corporate initiative in the world for sustainability. UNGC functions by building a network of corporations within their designated regions and promoting sustainable and lucrative business ventures.

In order to become a member of UNGC’s network, corporations must pay a membership fee and are obliged to provide an annual sustainability report. UNGC just recently launched their branch in Norway, in 2019, and have already attracted over 130 member corporations. Either UNGC or member corporations may commence collaborative Action Platforms to find and initiate sustainable business ventures. An Action Platform is a strategic foundation with a specified premise to work off from. A good example of this, is the currently on-going National Platform for Sustainable Ocean Business in Norway. A number of member corporations that are relevant in ocean business are brought together under this platform to discover possible business ventures that will also yield necessary sustainable goals. So, in essence, the question they are asking is – how can we make money from saving the ocean?

A lot of companies are attracted to UNGC’s sustainable initiative. In an interview with us, Kim Noguera Gabrielli – the Director of the Norwegian branch of UNGC – told us that there are 3 powerful driving forces that are pushing for sustainable business in Norway.

Firstly, there are increased regulations for sustainable operations both by the national government and the EU. The regulations are not expected to get looser towards the foreseeable future. This will force corporations to adopt a norm of sustainable business practices where quicker adaption will be better than slower. There is also a massive shift in societal behavior towards sustainable business. Hence, the second and third driving forces are investors and consumers respectively. Both stakeholders are developing higher and higher sustainable expectations.

The UNGC works very closely with students too, as a big part of Kim’s teams is made up of interns. He explained to us that, this was one of the best ways for them to engage with students. An internship at the UNGC seems to be relatively much more empowering as interns are given independent responsibilities of whole Action Platforms.

You can also look forward to hearing more about UNGC in the upcoming ”Inspire to Impact” event at BI, on the 10th of March. Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director of UNGC will be present as one of the keynote speakers.

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