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UN Secretary-General Asks Businesses to Serve as Ambassadors for Corporate Sustainability

27 January 2012: At a high-level luncheon during the World Economic Forum (WEF), UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon challenged private sector leaders to adopt global corporate sustainability practices in the lead-up to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20). He said businesses can elevate the corporate sustainability agenda by serving as ambassadors for corporate sustainability to industry peers, aligning lobbying activities with sustainability commitments, and going to Rio+20 committed to advancing the agenda.

The luncheon, chaired by the Secretary-General and co-hosted by the Swiss Government, the UN Global Compact and the Guile Foundation, was held in Davos, Switzerland, on 27 January 2012, the first anniversary of the "Global Compact LEAD" initiative. Participants engaged in interactive discussions on the future of corporate sustainability and expectations for the Rio+20 process.

During the event, Global Compact LEAD launched a set of recommendations for Boards of Directors on their role in improving the sustainability performance of the corporations they oversee. The recommendations, titled "A New Agenda for the Board of Directors: Adoption and Oversight of Corporate Sustainability," will be supplemented by a program for Board education and collaboration with investors in integrating sustainability into executive pay.

Finally, participants agreed that the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Coalition, led by Aviva Investors and comprised of financial institutions, professional bodies, NGOs and investors, should be a priority initiative for Rio+20. The Coalition seeks to develop an internationally binding framework for corporate sustainability reporting. [Global Compact Press Release] [Luncheon Background Note] [Publication: A New Agenda for the Board of Directors: Adoption and Oversight of Corporate Sustainability]