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UN-Business Focal Point Newsletter Issue 18 (Nov 2012)

The Information Bulletin for UN Private Sector Focal Points.

From the Global Compact

Letter From the Global Compact
By: Georg Kell, UN Global Compact Office
Welcome to the 18th issue of the UN-Business Focal Point newsletter!

Thematic Focus: Sustainable Energy

Rio+20 Partnerships Forum Advocates for Concrete and Practical Actions to Implement the Mandates of Rio
By: Nikhil Chandavarkar and Patricia Chaves, UNDESA
The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, featured a Partnerships Forum as requested by General Assembly Resolution 66/197. The Partnerships Forum, which took place from 20-22 June 2012, is being regarded as one of the legacies of the Conference.

The Unexpected Surprises from Rio
By: Chantal Line Carpentier, UN DESA, Tess Mateo, CXCatalysts and Freda Miriklis, International Federation of Business and Professional Women
While some parties were disappointed in the final outcome document from Rio, not enough has been reported about the positive impacts emerging from the Rio+20 process. Ten years from now, we predict that Rio+20 will be described as a pivotal point for successful sustainable development. Why? Disappointed masses channeled their frustration with their governments’ leadership in Rio into an ‘underground’ movement of companies, women, youth and other stakeholders motivated to take action and create The Future We Want.

Corporate Sustainability Forum at Rio+20 Produces New Business Commitments and Innovations
The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development – known as Rio+20 – aimed to put the world on a more sustainable course, in the environmental, social, economic and governance spheres. Rio+20 was an opportunity to foster a stronger sense of shared purpose and collective responsibility between all actors – Governments, corporations, investors, citizens, consumers, workers and educators – in order to move from the status quo toward a more sustainable future.

New Partnership Projects

UNDP and EAC Launch Initiative to Boost Food production, Job and Income Opportunities in Agriculture Value Chains in East Africa
In June 2012, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the East Africa Community (EAC) launched an initiative to boost food production, job and income opportunities for farmers through advancing agriculture value chains in East Africa.

United Nations Partners with LUCCACO Multimedia to Develop Mobile Web Application
By: Nyi Nyein Aye, Chief, Business Unit, ICTS, DGACM, United Nations
The United Nations has a long-standing commitment to the environment by ensuring that it becomes more efficient in its operations and in its use of energy and other resources. In recent years, the United Nations Department for General Assembly and Conference Management has put into practice environmentally sustainable measures to contribute to reducing the Organization’s overall carbon footprint while, at the same time, providing better and faster service.

An Innovative Driving Force for UNIDO’s Vocational Skills Training in Iraq
By: William Goldsmith, UNIDO
April of this year marked an exciting milestone for UNIDO’s Agro-Industries Technology Unit and their partners, with the official opening of the Swedish Academy for Training (SAT) in Kurdistan, Iraq. Its inauguration signals a promising approach in delivery, with an innovative public-private partnership driving the wheel for project implementation.

UNICEF and Sansiri Partner for Salt Iodization in Thailand
By: UNICEF Indonesia
A strategic partnership between UNICEF and Sansiri Plc., one of Thailand’s largest real estate developers, has led to new regulations for mandatory salt iodization in Thailand in an effort to address the devastating effects of iodine deficiency disorders in children.

Partnership between UNDP and Gandaki Bee Concern Enhances Honey Production and Entrepreneurship in Nepal
By: UNDP Nepal
In Nepal, more than 50,000 households are involved in beekeeping, producing about 1,100 metric tons of honey per year. As a low-cost, high-yielding and high-value enterprise, beekeeping has huge market potential, both domestically and internationally. However, honey production in Nepal is far below the domestic market demand and entrepreneurs are also grappling with meeting the demand of the international market.

The World Tourism Organization Helps Hotels Go Green
By: Zoritsa Urosevic, UNWTO
The hotel industry is one of tourism’s largest drivers of economic growth, employing millions worldwide in a wide range of positions. It is also one of the most energy-intensive, accounting for around one-fifth of the tourism sector’s CO2 emissions. Tackling tourism’s environmental impact is one of UNWTO’s top priorities and the organization is working closely with the hotel industry to bring this figure down.

IKEA Foundation “Knowledge Donation” Helps UNHCR Deliver Aid to Emergency Areas
The IKEA Foundation is constantly looking to see how its resources can make the greatest positive impact on the lives of millions of children living in poverty in developing countries. With their long-term partner the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), this has led to a unique donation: IKEA’s logistics knowledge.

Themes and Debate

UNIDO and UNEP Launch the Green Industry Platform
By: Heinz Leuenberger and Hassan Mehdi, UNIDO
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) recently launched a new global initiative – the Green Industry Platform – in the context of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

UNGC and FAO begin Development of Global Voluntary Business Principles on Sustainable Agriculture
The UN Global Compact (UNGC) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have initiated a process aimed at the development of global voluntary business principles on sustainable agriculture for companies as well as governments and other stakeholders.

Business, the MDGs and Beyond: Event Addresses Role of Business in Futhering MDGs
On September 25, 2012 over 100 leaders from business, Government and civil society met in New York to discuss the private sector’s role in furthering the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and creating a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Education First: Global Movement for Quality, Relevant and Transformative Education
In September 2012 in New York, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the Education First initiative aiming to give a “big push” to the global movement for education by 2015 and beyond.

Women’s Empowerment Principles: National Coalitions Bring Equality Means Business Home
By: Joan Libby Hawk, WEPs Special Advisor, UN Women and UN Global Compact
What do Switzerland, New Zealand, Japan, Australia, India, Iceland, Paraguay, Brazil, Serbia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Lebanon and South Africa have in common? Stakeholders in each country have begun to use the Women’s Empowerment Principles—Equality Means Business as a platform to work with business to advance gender equality.

Opening a New Era in Partnership at the UN
By: Robert Orr, Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Planning, United Nations
One of the great tectonic shifts of the last fifty years is the explosion in non-state actors on the international stage. Business, finance, philanthropy and civil society all play an increasingly important role in forging creative solutions to shared global challenges. This phenomenon presents both challenges – and significant opportunities – for partnership with the United Nations.

Exchanges Listing over 4,600 Companies Commit to Promoting Sustainability
A core group of five stock exchanges – NASDAQ OMX, BM&F BOVESPA, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), the Istanbul Stock Exchange (ISE) and The Egyptian Exchange (EGX) – announced a commitment to promote long-term, sustainable investment in their markets.

Tools and Resources

Private Sector Engagement Guide for “Every Woman Every Child” Launched
By: The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, the UN Foundation and the Innovation Working Group
A new guide for companies, entitled “Private Enterprise for Public Health: Opportunities for Business to Improve Women’s and Children’s Health”, explores how companies can create shared value and collective impact to help save the lives of 16 million women and children by 2015.

New UNICEF Workbook Provides Advice to Businesses for Addressing their Impact on Children and their Rights
Corporate actions to safeguard any aspect of children’s rights must be undertaken in a holistic way where companies address material issues in the workplace, marketplace and the community. This is the key message that accompanies UNICEF’s release of a new pilot Workbook for businesses, entitled “Children are Everyone’s Business”, that sets out a comprehensive approach to understanding and addressing corporate impacts on children’s rights.

UNSSC Offers New Course on “Building Partnerships for Development Effectiveness”
The United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC) will hold a new course on “Building Partnerships for Development Effectiveness” from 5 to 9 November in New York.

Due Diligence Service Renewed
On 12 October the Global Compact Foundation renewed its agreement for a second year with Sustainalytics to provide its ESG data on over 2500 listed and non-listed companies in developed markets, as well as 800+ emerging market companies.  The data is accessed from an online database.

UN DESA Launches “Partnership Drivers” Video Series
Partnership Drivers is a video interview series of key individuals who have the vision, commitment and leadership to advance Partnerships in implementing sustainable development.

WBCSD Launches New Tool on National Market Participation and Competitiveness

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has developed the National Market Participation Framework, a new tool to help open up dialogue between business and government on supplier competitiveness. Competitiveness is key to enabling local firms’ participation in the value chains of large inward investments and to local economic development

New WBCSD Issue Brief on How Business Can Scale Development through ICT
By Katie Sarro, WBCSD
“Information and Communication Technology: An enabler for inclusive business solutions”, the newest publication produced by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), looks at the opportunities for information and communication technology (ICT) to facilitate and scale the private sector’s contribution to development. The report displays best practice cases and highlights opportunities for and barriers to achieving further scale.