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Singapore Business Leaders converge to discuss UN Sustainable Development Goals

23 June 2016, Singapore -- Global Compact Network Singapore (GCNS), in partnership with Corporate Citizenship and Unilever, brought together over 100 Singapore business leaders today for its inaugural session of the Thought Leadership Series, to discuss the role of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the implications and opportunities for business in Singapore.

Titled ‘How Sustainable Development Goals can help your business’, the session was aimed at helping Singapore business leaders gain a broader perspective and understanding of the SDGs, so that they can work towards contributing to them more effectively. These SDGs which have been endorsed by more than 190 countries, set out a vision for ending poverty, hunger, inequality and protecting the Earth’s natural resources by 2030.

Collaborating to secure the future

Mr. Wilson Ang, Executive Director of GCNS, said, “Governments that have committed to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals realise it will require a step-change in the way that private sector, public sector and civil society work together. GCNS believes that exchanges like today’s event, is a good example of bringing these stakeholders together to drive the system changes needed towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.”

The session provided an overview of the SDGs and what they mean for the private sector in Singapore, with a focus on the economic case for taking action on the Global Goals. GCNS and Corporate Citizenship, along with Diageo, Unilever, City Developments Limited and global non-profit Save the Children, also shared insights into their approach to adopting the SDGs for their business operations.

Participants also provided feedback on topics, such as the business case for sustainability, consumer movements, new business models and a new social contract, that will be shared with the Business and Sustainable Development Commission, launched earlier this year, to articulate and quantify the economic case for businesses engaging in sustainable development. This will culminate in a report to be published in 2017, outlining new business and financial models as well as market opportunities for companies who are invested in sustainable approaches.

Leadership from the business sector

Co-organizer, Corporate Citizenship’s Director for Southeast Asia, Ms. Junice Yeo said, “The SDGs will see the corporate sector playing a key role in sustainable development. Through meetings like this one today, we hope that companies in Singapore will be able to better understand what the Global Goals mean for them in terms of driving the long-term value creation opportunity. 

Some of our clients have already seen that integrating the goals into their business model offers a new platform for innovation and growth, and opens up new markets and customer groups. Companies need to consider the SDGs as an opportunity and make this commitment for the future.”

Mr. David Kiu, VP, Sustainable Business & Communications for Unilever stated that, “As part of our sustainable business model at Unilever, we have identified areas where we can make the biggest contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals given the nature and scale of our operations, and how this will add value to our business. We cannot do this alone. We need to mobilise collective action through collaborations like this where we can support our partners and the broader private sector to commit to the SDGs, thus ensuring a more sustainable future for all.”

Participants left today’s workshop with a better understanding of what the Global Goals mean to the private sector, and how the adoption of SDGs have the potential to benefit their business – creating a more stable, profitable and sustainable business environment for the future.

Media Contact

Bridgit O'Donovan at Hive Consulting for Unilever

bridgit@hiveconsulting.com

+65 9675 4562

About Global Compact Network Singapore

Global Compact Network Singapore (GCNS) encourages and facilitates the progress of companies that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with the United Nations Global Compact’s (UNGC) 10 universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.

As the national society promoting CSR in Singapore, GCNS aims to encourage collaboration between CSR and Corporate Sustainability stakeholders in businesses, government and civil society to create long-lasting value for the community. Through various platforms for multi-stakeholder engagement and collective action, the national society aims to advance sustainable business practices and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), supporting Singapore’s goal of becoming a sustainable nation.

GCNS has been raising the level of awareness and adoption of CSR amongst businesses since its inception in 2005, and has also expanded its mission to include nurturing the next generation of CSR leaders through its youth initiatives. It is also a stakeholder of the Global Reporting Initiative and a participating organisation of the ASEAN CSR Network.

About Corporate Citizenship

Corporate Citizenship is a global management consultancy specialising in sustainability and corporate responsibility, working with corporate clients around the world to achieve their commitments to responsible business behaviours and sustainable practices. It was founded in 1997 and now operates across offices in London, Melbourne, New York, San Francisco, Santiago and Singapore.

The firm has advised over 50% of the FTSE100 as well as small and medium firms in over 45 countries. With strong networks built up within public and private sector, with NGOs and international organisations, Corporate Citizenship is proud to be one of the catalysts driving positive change in companies’ attitudes towards sustainability and responsibility.

About Unilever

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Food, Home and Personal Care products with sales in over 190 countries and reaching 2 billion consumers a day. It has 169,000 employees and generated sales of €53.3 billion in 2015. Over half (58%) of the company’s footprint is in developing and emerging markets. Unilever has more than 400 brands found in homes around the world, including Persil, Dove, Knorr, Domestos, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Wall’s, PG Tips, Ben & Jerry’s, Marmite, Magnum and Lynx.

Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan commits to:

  • Helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being by 2020.
  • Halving the environmental impact of our products by 2030.
  • Enhancing the livelihoods of millions of people by 2020.

Unilever was ranked number one in its sector in the 2015 Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In the FTSE4Good Index, it achieved the highest environmental score of 5. It led the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders in the 2016 GlobeScan/SustainAbility annual survey for the sixth year running. Unilever was ranked the most sustainable food and beverage company in Oxfam’s Behind the Brands Scorecard in 2016 for the second year.

For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit www.unilever.com. For more information on the USLP: www.unilever.com/sustainable-living/

About Business and Sustainable Development Commission

The Business and Sustainable Development Commission, previously known as the Global Commission on Business and Sustainable Development (GCBSD), was launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on 21 January 2016. The Commission aims to explore disruptive models that can lead to new and expanding market opportunities while making communities more sustainable.

Chaired by former UN Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch-Brown, the Commission includes global leaders from business and civil society. Jeremy Oppenheim, who led the New Climate Economy report, leads as Programme Director.

The Commission will conduct foundational research and engage in dialogue with a diverse cross-section of key stakeholders and experts, to inform a comprehensive report outlining market opportunities that could flow to companies that achieve sustainable development. For more information, visit http://www.businesscommission.org/.

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