Heads of State, Chief Executive Officers and other leaders join UN Global Compact’s “Uniting Business LIVE” to drive SDGs ahead of COP26.
Three-day virtual event aims to drive corporate ambition on climate action and the Sustainable Development Goals as business looks to build back better from COVID-19 pandemic.
UNITED NATIONS, New York, September 13, 2021 — The United Nations Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, will next week host Uniting Business LIVE, a three-day online event from 20–22 September at the start of the high-level opening week of the 76th UN General Assembly.
Uniting Business LIVE includes the Private Sector Forum on Monday, the Global Impact Forum and Young SDG Innovators Summit on Tuesday and the SDG Business Forum (co-hosted by the UN Global Compact, the UN Department of Social and Economic Affairs and the International Chamber of Commerce) on Wednesday.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres and UN Global Compact CEO & Executive Director Sanda Ojiambo will be joined by dozens of CEOs and private sector leaders including Paul Polman, Co-founder and Chair of IMAGINE; Clarke Murphy, CEO of Russell Reynolds & Associates; Sandra Wu, Chairperson and CEO, Kokusai Kogyo; Ajay Banga, Executive Chairman of Mastercard; Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer; Rich Lesser, CEO of Boston Consulting Group; Francesco Starace, CEO and General Manager, Enel; Phuti Mahanyele-Dabengwa, CEO, Naspers; Patrick Chalhoub, CEO, Chalhoub Group; Arundhati Bhattacharya, CEO and Chairperson, Salesforce India and Magnus Billing, CEO, Alecta.
Heads of State confirmed to speak include Pedro Sánchez, Prime Minister of Spain; Mette Frederikesen, Prime Minister of Denmark; Stefan Löfven, Prime Minister of Sweden and Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway; Commodore Josaia V. Bainimarama, Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji. Other government speakers include Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President of Nigeria; Princess Noura Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia; Ville Skinnari, Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade of Finland; Amadou Hott, Minister of Economy, Planning and Cooperation of Senegal; Lord Ahmad, Minister of State, United Kingdom.
Reggae star Rocky Dawuni will perform at the closing of the Private Sector Forum. SDG Advocate and acclaimed British screenwriter, producer and film director Richard Curtis will open the Global Impact Forum.
UN speakers include Amina J. Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General; Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs; David Beasley, Executive Director, World Food Programme; Henrietta Fore, Executive Director, UNICEF; Pamela Coke Hamilton, Executive Director, ITC; Cristina Duarte, Special Adviser on Africa; Kelly Clements, Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees; Ramesh Rajasingham, Acting Assistant Secretary-General, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs; Ulrika Modéer, UN Assistant Secretary General and Assistant Administrator, UN Development Programme.
Taking place in the run up to the major UN Climate Summit, COP26, in Glasgow in November, this year’s Uniting Business LIVE will focus on driving corporate ambition and action to help tackle climate change and reach the Sustainable Development Goals as businesses look to build back better from the pandemic. This includes the launch of the Ocean Stewardship Coalition to scale the collective global impact of sustainable ocean business to help deliver the Sustainable Development Goals and a net-zero resilient economy.
This year’s Uniting Business Live will also mark the launch on Monday of the UN Global Compact’s new strategy for Africa to advance corporate sustainability and responsible business practices across the continent while also exploring the crucial role of SMEs in a rapidly evolving landscape of entrepreneurship, innovation and technology. The launch of the new Africa Strategy will be celebrated by Kenyan afro-pop band Sauti Sol and supported by Generation Unlimited, a multi-stakeholder, multi-sector public private youth partnership to meet the urgent need for expanded education, training and employment opportunities for young people.
The CIO of PIMCO, Scott Mather and CFO of Enel, Alberto De Paoli will convene the UN Global Compact CFO Taskforce to discuss the impact of private investment on the SDGs.
Uniting Business LIVE will kick off on Monday, 20 September, with the Private Sector Forum which will explore the private sector’s role in strengthening global food systems and sustainable energy production. On Tuesday, 21 September, the Global Impact Forum will showcase four key initiatives to mobilize corporate action on the Global Goals: SDG Ambition, Young SDG Innovators, Target Gender Equality and the Climate Ambition Accelerator. The Young SDG Innovators Summit, also taking place on Tuesday, will offer a virtual platform for next generation leaders. On Wednesday, 22 September, the SDG Business Forum, co-hosted by the UN Global Compact, the UN Department of Social and Economic Affairs and the International Chamber of Commerce, will showcase how companies are using their influence to lead the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and examine new leadership initiatives that have emerged during the crisis.
Other confirmed speakers at Uniting Business LIVE include Alexandra Cousteau, Filmmaker and Environmental Activist; Tashnuva Anan Shishir, Bangladeshi News Anchor & Transgender Rights Activist; Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF; Viacheslav Fetisov, United Nations Environment Programme National Goodwill Ambassador for Russia; Mr. Alberto Carrillo Pineda, Managing Director, Science Based Targets initiative; Antonio Núñez, CEO Nestlé Colombia; Serena Ibrahim, Founder and Executive Director, Youth Against Corruption; David W. Craig, Co-Chair of Task Force for Nature-Related Financial Disclosure (NRFD) and CEO, Refinitiv; Damilola Ogunbiyi, Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All; Dr. Vibha Dhawan, Director-General, TERI; Agnes Kalibata, Special Envoy for the 2021 Food Systems Summit; Roberto Suárez Santos, Secretary-General, International Organisation of Employers.