Overview

Building a new era of sustainability

Chaired by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit 2010 will provide the platform for organizations to convene, collaborate and commit to building a new era of sustainability – an era where environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues are deeply integrated into business based on both material and ethical rationales. At the Summit, leaders will collectively tackle priority areas that are central to corporate leadership today and essential for the transformation to sustainable markets and the achievement of societal goals. The Summit will be divided into three parts:

Part I: Setting the Sustainability Agenda

Corporate responsibility has always been defined by and evolved within the broader context of politics, power and technological change, and responded to the call for the greater good. A confluence of factors – notably the financial crisis and climate change – has finally pushed this agenda towards a tipping point. It is now widely understood that our globalized marketplace requires a stronger ethical orientation, better caretaking of the common good, and more comprehensive management of risks. This session will:

  • Identify which drivers will most influence and accelerate corporate integration of ESG issues – looking at the changing role of Governments, financial markets and educators, as well as climate change, global supply chains and societal demands, as major drivers.

  • Explore how leaders from a range of sectors – business, investors, Government, civil society, labour, academia and the United Nations – should work individually and collectively to ensure that we pass the tipping point to a new era of sustainability.

Part II: Leading the Change

Corporate sustainability leadership today calls for a sophisticated and comprehensive approach to integrating ESG issues across the organization – from the Board, down through the organization and subsidiaries, and out into the supply chain. It requires connecting sustainability issues and actions – moving beyond silos – and meaningfully reporting progress and impacts. Corporate leadership today also calls for responsible engagement in public policy spheres. This session will:

  • Unveil a “Blueprint for Sustainability Leadership” in advancing the universal principles of the Global Compact. This model calls for the interconnection of financial objectives, ESG issues, value chain implementation, and disclosure – all under the direction of the board and executive management. Within this blueprint, criteria for determining advanced performance will be outlined.

  • Introduce new thinking and resources in a range of key areas – for example, environmental stewardship, anti-corruption disclosure, human rights and the empowerment of women, improved workplace relations, sustainable supply chain management, and responsible business and investment in conflict-affected or high-risk areas, specifically.

  • Highlight existing and emerging best practices by sustainability front-runners, showing how companies drive organizational change and also support effective policy on ESG issues.

Part III: Achieving Development

2010 will mark a decade since world leaders committed to reduce extreme poverty and set out the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to be achieved by 2015. Much remains to be done – especially with negative impacts from climate change, food crises and the global economic downturn turning back advances. Poverty is a profound threat to global security, interdependence and building strong markets. Business can and must strengthen its role in finding strategic and effective solutions to combat global poverty, hunger and disease. The session will:

  • Launch a framework for motivating business action in support of the MDGs and sustainable development, which identifies key linkages to climate change, peace and good governance and includes strengthened disclosure and impact assessment mechanisms.

  • Demonstrate the expanding capability of the public and private sectors to jointly address development challenges, and highlight promising initiatives with the potential to have even greater impact with scale.

Summit Format

The Leaders Summit seeks to maximize interaction between participants. For the majority of the Summit, including plenary sessions, participants will be seated at tables of approximately 10 people – consisting of leaders from a variety of stakeholder groups. Most sessions will begin with a panel discussion conducted in “Question & Answer” style, to be followed by round-table discussions on topics pre-selected by participants.

(Last updated: 12 February 2010)