Our Journey to 2030 Is Underway

Last week, we started something remarkable at the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit. We started our journey to 2030, by charting our way towards a world free from poverty, inequality, hunger, conflict and diminishing resources - in short, a world that leaves no one behind.

The scale of what we have set out to do would feel overwhelming, but for one thing - we are not alone. We know this because over 1,200 people joined us in New York last week to explore and act on business opportunities that will reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We have 80 Local Networks devoted to supporting companies on the ground. We have strong partners across the United Nations, Governments and the corporate sustainability community. We have CEOs, entrepreneurs, investors, activists, labour, academia and students all ready to act for a better future.

When we opened the Leaders Summit at the United National General Assembly Hall, I reflected on last year's launch of the SDGs - which are proving to be a platform that unites the global community like never before. This became evident in every session at the Summit that followed. From CEOs to poets to authors, I was left in no doubt that there is a common thread that connects us all - the desire to create a sustainable way of life for all.

We were further inspired by the first-ever class of ten Local SDG Pioneers honoured at the Leaders Summit. These individuals lead with action by championing sustainability through their business models and mobilizing their networks, all over the world. They are remarkable examples to us all as to how far, and how high, we can go in our quest to reach the SDGs.

During the Summit, we mapped out the work the UN Global Compact will be leading with partners and stakeholders in every quarter to Make Global Goals Local Business, laying out an approach that is ambitious and collaborative. The next step in this journey will be the United Nations Private Sector Forum on 19 September 2016 focused on the role of business in advancing sustainable development to prevent global instability.

At the Summit, we also introduced the voice of young people as keynote speakers, opportunity session facilitators and as participants. They inspired us, challenged us and reminded us that we can do better for the next generations. Our young people are not passive inheritors of a future planet - they are the architects of a better tomorrow and we all must work together.

But today, this is my message to you: we need an energetic and positive approach to reaching the SDGs. We need to roll up our sleeves and get to work. We need to stop focusing on risks, and instead find the opportunities that lie behind the global goals. Only in this way will we start a sustainable market revolution that addresses complex challenges, establishes cross-sector partnerships, and creates markets and solutions which are rooted in strong values.

Only in this way will we reach every one of the SDGs by 2030. And when we get there, you can proudly say that you were there, at the very beginning of the journey.