Theme

Accountability arrow_forward

Making global goals local business – what does it take?

Published: 25 June 2016

Jenny Fredy, Senior Analyst at Global Child Forum, argues that for business to take on the global goals will require that businesses act responsibly, by incorporating the UN Global Compact Principles, as well as by identifying the opportunities that the new agenda provides. However, perhaps more than anything, what's needed is a new mind-set to drive new sustainable solutions and business models.

Global Child Forum recently took part in the UN Global Compact Leaders’ Summit in New York. Together with more than 600 business leaders and delegates from 75 countries, we discussed the role of responsible business in realising the Sustainable Development Goals. From the inspiring opening of the Summit in the General Assembly Hall, including a visionary remark by the UN Secretary General, to the very concrete “opportunity break-out sessions”, zeroing in on the business models, products, services and partnerships of tomorrow, the Summit focused on the opportunities that the new agenda offers for business. Central to this discussion was the question, how can today’s risks be transformed into opportunities?

One of the opening speakers was the inspiring businesswoman, Ms Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, Founder and Executive Director of the company soleRebels. She started her own business in Ethiopia in 2005 and the company is now one of Africa’s fastest growing footwear brands. Key to being a successful business, she stressed, is her responsibility as an employer in terms of paying fair salaries in order to enable women to join the workforce and making sure the conditions are attractive to female workers juggling home and work. It was great to hear her highlighting the opportunity for companies to contribute to children’s rights, wellbeing and development by establishing child care facilities at their premises.

There was indeed a lot of enthusiasm in the room during the two-day Summit. The UN Global Compact is dedicated to supporting the business community and its members on this journey, on the road ahead to 2030. They launched a new campaign Making Global Goals Local Business, which will run over the next five years. At the Summit, the ED of Global Compact, Ms Lise Kingo, inaugurated the first class of SDG Pioneers- 10 Local SDG Pioneers with the goal of inspiring more individuals and companies around the world to follow their lead.

At the Summit, in addition to the SDG Pioneers, the findings from the UN Global Compact and Accenture Strategy CEO Study, were presented. The study interviewed more than 1000 CEOs from over 100 countries. This year’s study focused on the Agenda 2030 and the opportunities it provides for business. Some of the positive findings – 87% of CEOs believe that the SDGs provide an opportunity to rethink approaches to sustainable value creation. An illustrative infographic of the findings can be found here.

To answer the initial question of what does it take – it was clear from the Summit that it takes business that act responsibly, by incorporating the UN Global Compact Principles, as well as business identifying the opportunities that the new agenda provides. However, what is also evident is that a new mind-set is required to drive new sustainable solutions and business models. For example, one of the largest risks we face today is of global food shortage – however, this also can provide opportunities for companies that can develop sustainable and smart farming and food production. At Global Child Forum, we stand ready to partner with business that are ready to take steps to address children’s rights as part of their sustainability work, in their business practices, through their partnerships and reporting.

Photo Credit: Zef Nikolla/ UN Global Compact

Author

Jenny Fredby

Senior Analyst and Partnership Lead
Global Child Forum

As Senior Analyst, Jenny leads our strategic intelligence work, including the analysis of developments within our field, children’s rights and business. She has an extensive background in international development work, working within government agencies, international organisations and research centres, such as WaterAid, the Nordic Africa Institute, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the Centre for Environment and Development Studies. Jenny holds a Licentiate Degree from Stockholm University. She joined Global Child Forum in October 2015.

Resources

The UN Global Compact is a call to companies to align strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and take actions that advance societal goals. Read more about how companies can take action for a more sustainable future.

Explore similar content

Accountability
& Programs and Partnerships
View all

Corporate Responses to Protecting Children's Rights in South Africa

In an effort to provide insights and guidance on how businesses protect – or fall short in protecting – children’s rights in South Africa, this report draws on one of Global Child Forum’s essential research products ‘The corporate sector and children’s rights benchmark’. More specifically, insights are provided across three areas where the corporate sector impacts children’s rights: The Workplace, The Marketplace, The Community and the Environment. In 2015, Global Child Forum, in partnership with Boston Consulting Group, published a benchmark study of the 271 largest companies in the region. This report is a follow-up to that study. An updated benchmark analysis has been conducted on 20 of the region’s largest companies.

benchmark study

Corporate Responses to Protecting Children's Rights in Southeast Asia

In an effort to provide insights and guidance on how businesses protect – or fall short in protecting – children’s rights in the Southeast Asia region, this report makes use of two essential Global Child Forum research products: The Children Rights and Business Atlas and The corporate sector and children’s rights benchmark. More specifically, insights are provided across three areas where the corporate sector impacts children’s rights: The Workplace, The Marketplace, The Community and the Environment. Throughout this report, data from the Atlas highlights contextual factors that shape how companies can and should respond to children’s rights. This information is contrasted with the results of the Benchmark scoring for the 20 largest companies in Southeast Asia. A gap analysis provides recommendations for company actions that address risks and create positive impact on children’s rights in the region.

benchmark study

Global Child Forum Report
2018

On Wednesday, April 11, the 10th Global Child Forum 2018 was held at the Stockholm Royal Palace. Over 300 participants from around the world gathered to discuss child rights issues. Participants represented global companies, financial institutions, civil society, the UN, academia and government.

Investing in every child starts when business and investors recognize their influence on children. At the 10th Global Child Forum at the Stockholm Royal Palace, we discussed these matters. But we also listened. Read the Forum report to be inspired, take part of case stories and to learn more about how your business can take action to support children’s rights.

forum report
Accountability
View all

Corporate Responses to Protecting Children's Rights in the Middle East and North Africa

In an effort to provide insights and guidance on how businesses protect – or fall short in protecting – children’s rights in the Middle East and North Africa, this report draws on one of Global Child Forum’s essential research products: The corporate sector and children’s rights benchmark. More specifically, insights are provided across three areas where the corporate sector impacts children’s rights: The Workplace, The Marketplace, The Community and the Environment. In 2014, Global Child Forum, in partnership with Boston Consulting Group, published a benchmark study of the 350 largest companies in the region. This report is a follow-up to that study. An updated benchmark analysis has been conducted on 20 of the region’s largest companies.

benchmark study

Corporate Responses to Protecting Children's Rights in South America

In an effort to provide insights and guidance on how businesses protect – or fall short in protecting – children’s rights in South America, this report draws on one of Global Child Forum’s essential research products ‘The corporate sector and children’s rights benchmark’. More specifically, insights are provided across three areas where the corporate sector impacts children’s rights: The Workplace, The Marketplace, The Community and the Environment. In 2017, Global Child Forum, in partnership with Boston Consulting Group, published a benchmark study of the 300 largest companies in the region. This report is a follow-up to that study. An updated benchmark analysis has been conducted on 20 of the region’s largest companies.

benchmark study

Norsk Hydro Brazil's journey towards social responsibility

Norsk Hydro entered Brazil in 2011 with a long history of fostering healthy communities that grew up around its operations in Norway. The company therefore had no small sense of the responsibilities of being an actor with an enormous impact on the lives of its workers and neighbours. The difficult history and operating environment of the Amazon region, however, challenge Hydro’s commitment to go “beyond compliance” to make a positive difference – particularly with regard to vulnerable populations, including children. This case study is no. 3 in a series of company reflections for Global Child Forum on how companies address children’s rights and child-related issues. All our reports and case studies can be found in our Knowledge Center.

case study

Global Report: The Corporate Sector and Children's Rights

Global Child Forum and the Boston Consulting Group initiated the Corporate Sector and Children’ Rights Benchmark study series in 2013 to fill a gap in research. The purpose of the series has been to develop a children’s rights benchmark for the corporate sector and to enable tracking of progress over time on how children’s rights are addressed by business. The data referred to in this reporting has been compiled from one global and five regional studies conducted between 2013-2016; the Nordic region, the Middle East and Northern Africa; Southern Africa, South America and Southeast Asia. In total, the reporting covers 2500 companies across nine different industries.

benchmark study

Dig deeper

Select a region, industry or theme below to learn more about our work there.

Regions
East Asia and Pacific arrow_forward
Europe and Central Asia arrow_forward
North America arrow_forward
South Asia arrow_forward
Sub-Saharan Africa arrow_forward
Industries
Basic Materials arrow_forward
Consumer Goods arrow_forward
Financials and Property arrow_forward
Food and Beverage arrow_forward
Healthcare arrow_forward
ICT arrow_forward
Industrials arrow_forward
Oil, Gas and Utilities arrow_forward
Travel and Leisure arrow_forward
Themes
Accountability arrow_forward
Child Labour arrow_forward
Child participation arrow_forward
Decent work arrow_forward
Education arrow_forward
Gender equality arrow_forward
Impact investing arrow_forward
Refugees and Migration arrow_forward
Reporting arrow_forward