Post-2015 Development Agenda - the business & human rights dimension

The UN recently adopted new Sustainable Development Goals.

The private sector has been recognized as providing a major contribution to the realization of the new goals.  However the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights as well as NGOs have raised concerns that this private sector dimension currently lacks a strong human rights perspective.

"Private sector financing and public-private partnerships for sustainable development should...be accompanied by mandatory human rights due diligence standards and processes..."

"Rights before profit", June 2015 statement by CESR, Amnesty Intl., AWID

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Article
16 October 2015

[video] Former Nigerian Finance Minister says UN Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved without support from companies

Author: CNN

"Quest Means Business", 14 Oct 2014

The former Nigerian Finance Minister tells Richard Quest the Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved without support from the business community.

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Article
8 October 2015

Novo Nordisk explains how it will integrate UN Sustainable Development Goals into its activities

Author: GreenBiz (USA)

"Novo Nordisk: Our take on the Sustainable Development Goals", 6 Oct 2015

...The list of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will impact the way we do policy and business...Global Opportunity Network asked Novo Nordisk, a Danish-based global healthcare company with more than 90 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care, about what the SDGs means to its work and how they may represent an opportunity...[R]eporting on progress with regards to adopting the SDGs will find its place as an integrated part of the company's future reporting strategy...The company is prepared to use the SDGs as a compass and integrate them into its current and future business activities...SDG No. 17 recommends the use of partnerships as a means of supporting the other 16 goals...Stormer...refers to the need to move from transactional to transformational partnerships...[where] parties each invests — whether money, expertise or both — to realize a shared goal...

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Article
2 October 2015

Business orgs. launch new tool to help companies reach UN Sustainable Development Goals

Author: Mike Hower, Sustainable Brands (USA)

"New Tool Helps Businesses Act on Sustainable Development Goals", 29 Sep 2015

GRI, the UN Global Compact and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) have launched a new tool to help companies navigate and contribute to a new set of global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations last week. The SDG Compass is a guide that companies can use to align their strategies with the relevant SDGs, and measure and manage their impacts. It is supported by a live and constantly updated inventory of business indicators and tools... All 193 Member States of the United Nations reached agreement on the SDGs, but their success relies heavily on action and collaboration by all actors, WBCSD says. The tool was launched as part of this year’s UN Private Sector Forum, which brings together CEOs and heads of state to the United Nations each year to discuss issues such as climate change, global development and human rights.

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Article
2 October 2015

Companies announce commitments aligned with UN Sustainable Development Goals

Author: Adva Saldinger, Devex (USA)

"The private sector has a seat at the table, now it's time to step up", 30 Sep 2015

…It seems clear that despite virtually no engagement in the process of creating the Millennium Development Goals, business is proud of its role in the formation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Numerous business leaders…said that the involvement in crafting the goals has contributed to much greater buy-in among the private sector…But when you ask for a seat at the table, as many in the private sector have done, it also means you have to step up. And that is the task that now lies ahead. Companies are still familiarizing themselves with the goals and targets — there are some complaints about the sheer number of them, but the agenda seems to have been accepted…An emerging set of tools will also try to help companies through that process…[A] number of companies have already announced commitments aligned with specific goals and are planning to grapple with which targets and indicators are most relevant to their business…[Refers to Nestlé, Safaricom, Unilever]

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29 September 2015

93 companies sign letter committing to address environmental & societal challenges of climate change

Author: Paul Polman, Unilever & John Bryant, Kellogg Company (on behalf of 93 company signatories)

"The Case for Business Action on Climate Change", 24 Sep 2015

As members of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and on behalf of the 93 companies included in this letter, we recognize that regardless of faith, we can all appreciate the call to climate action contained in Pope Francis' encyclical, "On Care for Our Common Home."...We believe that we have reached a tipping point on climate change and that there is an unstoppable shift to a global economy that is significantly less harmful to the environment...The private sector will play a key role in this transition and can help build prosperity and secure a better world for what will soon be nine billion people. Increasingly, business leaders are working collaboratively with competitors and with nongovernmental organizations to set goals to significantly reduce natural-resource use, invest in clean energy, improve global health and feed more people. A common thread that cuts across all of these efforts is finding new and innovative ways to use technology to achieve these social and environmental commitments...As leaders of these companies, we are committed to using our innovation, scale and entrepreneurial spirit to seek ways to address both the environmental and societal challenges created by climate change...

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Article
28 September 2015

CEOs commit to benchmark sustainable development actions, following adoption of UN Sustainable Development Goals

Author: UNICEF

"Global CEOs sign on to new UN goals at United Nations Private Sector Forum", 26 Sep 2015

More than 300 CEOs, Heads of State, UN and civil society leaders today attended the United Nations Private Sector Forum (PSF) to discuss the role of business in implementing the world's 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)...“First, companies need to do business responsibly and then pursue new opportunities, “said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “We would be closer to the world we want if companies everywhere took baseline actions like respecting employee rights … not polluting land, sea and air … and punishing corruption.”...As a keynote speaker, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg highlighted the critical role of business – in collaboration with other stakeholders -- in advancing the new United Nations global agenda adopted yesterday...Emerging today from the PSF were announcements of more than 35 corporate commitments to benchmark sustainable development actions, including investment in low-carbon infrastructure, combatting corruption, gender equality in the workplace, access to and strengthening of healthcare services in the Least Developed Countries, and more...The event also saw the launch of the SDG Compass – developed jointly by GRI, the UN Global Compact and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) – which is a guide for companies on how to take a strategic approach to the SDGs and enhance their contribution to sustainable development through core business activities...

• See compendium of corporate commitment here

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Author: Clarisse Chick, Libération

« L'ONU adopte un programme pour changer de monde », 25 septembre 2015

Dix-sept objectifs de développement durable [ODD] ont été officiellement actés par les 193 Etats membres des Nations unies à New York. Un ambitieux programme promettant un monde meilleur d’ici quinze ans dans tous les domaines (éducation, pauvreté, santé, environnement)…Caroline Dorémus-Mège, directrice du plaidoyer au CCFD-Terre solidaire, revient…sur ce nouveau challenge planétaire...Nous travaillons depuis quinze ans sur la question de l’évasion fiscale des multinationales. Les montants qui sortent des pays en développement, liés à l’évasion fiscale des entreprises, sont colossaux…Il faut donc parvenir à réguler les entreprises multinationales pour qu’elles paient leurs impôts dans les pays où elles produisent des richesses. Ce serait autant de ressources pour les pays en développement pour mener leurs propres politiques…Les ODD vont pouvoir donner un socle qui va permettre d’interpeller les Etats sur leurs engagements. Nous continuerons à les solliciter globalement, y compris au niveau de l’ONU. Et ceci  pour, par exemple, qu'ils adoptent un traité international contraignant sur les droits de l’homme et les entreprises dans les années qui viennent…

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Article
28 September 2015

UN adopts Sustainable Development Goals

Author: UN

[Full text of Sustainable Development Goals]

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Article
28 September 2015

UN Sustainable Development Goals are "a missed opportunity in the fight for corporate accountability", says European Coalition for Corporate Justice

Author: European Coalition for Corporate Justice

"UN Global Goals: a missed opportunity in the fight for corporate accountability", 28 Sep 2015

The European Coalition for Corporate Justice, ECCJ, a coalition of 250 civil society organisations calling for improved corporate accountability and access to justice, welcomes the SDGs’ anchorage in international human rights commitments, particularly the prioritisation of poverty eradication, reducing inequality and discrimination, and acting against environmental destruction and climate change .But given the scale of the private sector’s impact on people’s lives and the fact that most corporate abuses take place in the developing world, we believe the SDGs are a missed opportunity for the UN to show serious commitment to safeguarding human rights and to placing people ahead of business interests...“The SDGs’ emphasis on the positive aspects of business, without any reference to the possible negative impacts of enterprises, betrays an agenda which tilts in favour of corporations, not citizens,” said ECCJ Coordinator, Jerome Chaplier...ECCJ calls on all states to participate in good faith in the process of developing a UN Treaty on business and human rights that would amend the balance of power between people and companies and fix the current gaps in international regulations on corporate liability for human rights violations

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Article
25 September 2015

Commentary: Business respect for human rights is necessary for implementation of Sustainable Development Goals

Author: Cherie Blair, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and Chair of Omnia Strategy LLP, on Huffington Post (USA)

"Human Rights, the Sustainable Development Goals and Business: A Shared Responsibility", 25 Sep 2015

Development must be about more than just measures of poverty and increasing financial resources - it must be about advancing human dignity...The focus now must be on promoting understanding and implementation. Governments cannot and should not be expected to shoulder the burden of upholding human rights single-handedly. Whilst the roles of NGOs and academics have long been recognised, businesses of all shapes and sizes also have a transformational impact...Businesses possess the capital, jobs, infrastructure and new technology necessary to help reshape the development landscape for the better. To achieve this, corporate leaders must focus on creating shared value and avoiding human rights risks...The international business and human rights framework, especially the 2011 UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, should be the starting point for this...I hope that companies engage with the SDGs and build respect for human rights into the fabric of their businesses and commercial strategies, and in this way play their part in championing the human right to development.

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