Today, more than 1,000 leaders from business, finance, civil society and academia will gather in the UN General Assembly Hall to kick off the 2016 UN Global Compact Leaders Summit. They come to the Summit with a better world on their minds and the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on their agendas.
But this is not another sustainability conference. It is about the business activities and markets of the future. It is about inventing, developing and launching countless new ideas and solutions within a very short time period.
In other words, the SDGs not only identify where we have to be in 2030 to create a sustainable world which leaves nobody behind, but they also outline new opportunities for companies all over the world.
The 17 goals represent one guide - a blueprint - for a sustainable way of life for all people on Earth. They are about hopes and dreams of a better future, which we can turn into reality together, if we so wish.
And we do.
The Leaders Summit is the first formal step on this journey - because we have the will, the capabilities and the power to do so. But it will only be possible if we build alliances and partnerships between businesses and all relevant stakeholders to demonstrate the huge potential of a values-driven market approach. It is all about connecting the best ideas and people, co-creating new solutions and communicating them to the world.
That's why we launched our Making Global Goals Local Business campaign, which will be the priority for our organization over the next five years. The UN Global Compact is ready to be a leading catalyst of the transformation ahead and we will devote our capacities and global network to make it happen - based on the ten principles the UN Global Compact is built upon.
Over the next two days at this Summit:
- We will focus on the key areas required to reach a new era of sustainability, including responsible business practices, transformative partnerships, breakthrough innovation and impact reporting.
- We will hear CEO and civil society voices calling for a new mindset to meet the world's ambitions for 2030.
- We will announce 10 Local SDG Pioneers with the goal of inspiring more individuals and companies around the world to follow their lead.
- We will host numerous leadership talks and opportunity sessions - all aimed to drive the business models, products, services and partnerships of tomorrow.
The opportunities are huge, but time is short.
We urge businesses worldwide to embark on this journey to 2030. We need pioneering corporate leaders and entrepreneurs who can build the sustainable societies of tomorrow - and we need them now.
Let's make this movement big, strong and innovative. Let's make a difference.