Business leaders across the world report increasing pressure to act on sustainability and expect the momentum to grow significantly over the next three years, according to new data to be released at the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit on Tuesday. Results of the UN Global Compact 2021 survey of companies and chief executive officers, in partnership with Accenture, reveal that 79 per cent of CEOs believe the pandemic has highlighted the need to transition to more sustainable business models. Three out of five (62 per cent ) CEOs said the pressure to act on sustainability grew significantly over the last three years, and three out of four (73 per cent) said they expect the pressure to act on sustainability to grow significantly over the next three years. However, geographically twice as many CEOs from the Global South (42 per cent) said the pandemic has had a negative impact on their sustainability efforts, compared with those from the Global North (22 per cent).
More than 13,000 business leaders and sustainability experts have already registered for this year’s Leaders Summit on 15-16 June. Over 26 hours of continuous virtual programming, three Heads of State, dozens of CEOs of major corporations, civil society and UN leaders will meet online to address the converging global crises of climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic, worsening social and economic inequality and unchecked corruption in order to offer a roadmap for a sustainable recovery.
Marking the first anniversary of the Race to Zero campaign, Alok Sharma, President for COP 26, is expected to issue a strong call to action to business leaders on the shifts that are needed to accelerate the transition to a net-zero world by 2050.
Speaking in the session “Light the Way to Glasgow and Net Zero: Credible Climate Action for a 1.5℃ world”, Mr Sharma will be joined by Selwin Hart, Special Advisor to the Secretary General on Climate Change; Nigel Topping the UK’s Climate Champion; Gonzalo Munoz, Chile’s Climate Champion; Damilola Ogunbiy,i CEO for Sustainable Energy for All as well as representatives from the private sector and civil society including Paul Simpson CEO, CDP; Suphachai Chearavanont CEO, C.P. Group; Keith Anderson CEO, Scottish Power and Graziela Chaluppe dos Santos Malucelli COO, Novozymes.
As the Leaders Summit chases the sun around the world, speakers and guests from 69 Global Compact Local Networks will discuss responsible business practices through the lens of pressing issues such as the state of sustainability; credible climate action; tackling corruption through collective action; decent work and ensuring living wages; accelerating women’s leadership and bringing innovative sustainable investment instruments to market.
Confirmed speakers also include the President of the Republic of Singapore, Mdm Halimah Yacob; Prime Minister of Jamaica, H.E. Andrew Holness; Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea, H.E. Kim Boo-kyum; State Minister for Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar, H.E. Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi; UN Secretary-General, António Guterres; UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina J. Mohammed; Inger Andersen, Executive Director, UNEP; Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Sharan Burrow, Secretary-General of the International Trade Union Confederation, Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation and Sanda Ojiambo, CEO & Executive Director of the UN Global Compact.
More than two dozen CEOs will also speak including Julie Sweet, CEO, Accenture; Roberto Marques, CEO, Natura &Co; Jean-Pascal Tricoire, CEO, Schneider Electric; Francesco Starace, CEO, Enel and Paul Polman, Chair of Imagine.
Other high-level Summit speakers include comedian and producer Larry Whitmore; Krishan Balendra, Chairman, John Keells Holdings PLC; Manish Bapta, Interim President and CEO, World Resources Institute; Can Çaka, CEO, Anadolu Efes; Li Zhenguo, Founder & President, LONGi Green Energy Technology Co; Marjorie Yang, Chairman and CEO, Esquel Group; Henrietta H. Fore, Executive Director, UNICEF and Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation.