Global business leaders met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week in Davos to advance the corporate statesmanship and transformative business leadership that is needed to address the world’s most critical challenges. The meeting was held as the year ahead presents an historic opportunity to adopt a new sustainable development agenda and to reach a global agreement on climate change, in which the private sector will play important roles.

Hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and supported by the UN Global Compact, the dinner –Making 2015 a Historic Year – provided the opportunity for chief executives of Global Compact LEAD and select Caring for Climate companies to engage in open and interactive discussions on sustainable development. LEAD companies have played a central role in providing the private sector perspective on future sustainable development priorities and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Today’s leading companies are increasingly recognizing the interdependence between societal and company performance, and are responding by integrating risk and opportunities related to sustainable development and climate change into their business strategies and operations, as well as through cross-sector collaboration and partnerships.

Building on the shared sense of urgency and opportunity, the Secretary-General thanked business leaders for taking an active role and encouraged their continued leadership around both agendas: “The world needs companies and investors everywhere to do their part in meeting the needs of people today while transforming our prospects for tomorrow.”

He also stated: “It was here in Davos over 15 years ago that the United Nations introduced the notion of a global compact between business and society. What started as a sensible proposal to the business community has become a proven strategy. Our shared efforts have shown that when you engage business and all key players on issues of common importance, we can make tangible progress.”

The Secretary-General further called on companies to contribute toward making 2015 a historic year by continuing to engage in dialogue and advocacy with Governments and to support rolling out the SDGs. Scalable and transformational partnerships aligned with the SDGs will be essential, as will private sector financing and participation by businesses and investors at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD). Finally, companies will be critical in reaching a universal climate agreement and should engage in advocating for carbon markets, smart regulatory policies and emissions reduction targets, for example through Caring for Climate.

Other featured attendees at today’s event included United States Secretary of State John Kerry; Amina Mohammed, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning; and Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary.