UN-Business Focal Point Newsletter Issue 19 (Oct 2013)
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 19th issue of the UN-Business Focal Point newsletter!
Thematic Focus: Sustainable Energy
The United Nations Global Compact, Business and the Post-2015 Development Agenda
With the business contribution to UN goals and objectives at an all-time high, and the UN entering the process of determining its development framework as targets of the Millennium Development Goals expire in 2015, this is an opportune moment for business and the Global Compact to help shape the future priorities of the UN.
Business Groups Detail Vital Role of Companies in Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda
Forward-thinking businesses will play an increasingly vital role in global efforts to eliminate poverty, deprivation and social inequality, according to a new report released by two leading international business organizations.
The joint report from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the UN Global Compact was delivered to the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel of eminent persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, which is working to create a new development framework to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), set to conclude in 2015. The report was issued with the support of the World Economic Forum and the High-Level Panel’s business representatives.
New Partnership Projects
Accelerating the Shift from Cash to Electronic Payments: The Better than Cash Alliance
Today, some 2.6 billion people live on less than US$2 per day and 90 percent of them lack access to formal financial services. Due to the minimal volume of individual transactions, oftentimes these services are difficult and expensive to provide at scale. As a result, most poor households subsist almost entirely in an informal, cash-only economy, making it difficult for them to access financial services that create an ability to save for the future, build assets and move out of poverty.
WIPO Re:Search: Sharing Innovation in the Fight Against Neglected Tropical Diseases
By: Joe Bradley, WIPO
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.
ILO Global Business and Disability Network
Across the world, employers are increasingly looking for the best sources of talent and reliable employees. In an era of globalization, they also want to diversify their workforce and comply with international human rights standards and local labor laws. People with disabilities comprise an estimated 15 percent of the world’s population and they represent a talent pool and customer base that deserves attention. As a result of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, many national laws are being changed or updated to protect their workplace rights related to non-discrimination, reasonable accommodation and trade union participation
UNICEF Sweden Corporate Platform on Implementing the Children’s Rights and Business Principles
By: Amaya Gorostiaga, UNICEF
Following the launch of the Children’s Rights and Business Principles (the Principles) in March 2012, UNICEF Sweden began working closely with some of Sweden’s largest multinational companies to enhance their knowledge of the frameworks and specific implications of the Principles to their business. These discussions go beyond UNICEF’s traditional engagements with the corporate sector—moving from a philanthropic focus on delivering results for children through UNICEF’s programmatic work to influencing business behavior to respect and support children’s rights through their business practices.
The UNIDO-Samsung Partnership: Transforming E-waste into Job Creation and Business Opportunities
By: Gloria M. Adapon, UNIDO Regional Field Office, Thailand.
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Samsung Electronics entered into a partnership in August 2012 which aims at creating jobs, business opportunities and ensuring effective management of electrical and electronic waste (e-waste) in Cambodia.
FAO Facilitates a Multi-stakeholder Platform for Sustainable Banana Production and Trade
By: Pascal Liu, FAO
Bananas are the world’s most exported fresh fruit both in volume and value, totaling over USD 7 billion per year. They are an essential source of income and employment for hundreds of thousands of rural households in developing countries. However, agrochemical-intensive production on large-scale plantations along with declining producer prices has given rise to many environmental and social challenges. These can only be properly addressed if all the sector’s stakeholders collaborate actively.
ILO–IPEC and Chocolate and Cocoa Industry Partnership to Combat Child Labor in West Africa
Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire are the world’s largest cocoa producers, accounting for 60 percent of global production. In both countries, unacceptable labor practices on cocoa farms mean that large numbers of children are performing hazardous farming tasks or working at the expense of attending school. Not only is this is a grave violation of children’s rights which requires action throughout the value chain, but the persistence of child labor is also a threat to the sustainable supply of cocoa, since young people increasingly leave cocoa farms to migrate to urban areas where the prospects for education and decent work may be better. At present, the average age of cocoa farmers is 58 years, and thus a major problem is to ensure continuity in the cocoa growing farms by the younger generation.
Domestos and the Unilever Foundation Partner with UNICEF to Improve Access to Sanitation
By: Laura De Santis Bernasconi, UNICEF
About 2.5 billion people do not have access to improved sanitation. Of these, almost half have no sanitation facilities at all and practice open defecation. In 2012, Domestos and the Unilever Foundation joined forces with UNICEF to help improve access to basic sanitation for hundreds of thousands of people by supporting UNICEF’s Community Approaches to Total Sanitation (CATS) program.
UNHCR and UPS Launch New Global Partnership for Improving Emergency Logistics
By: Nevena Demirovic and Nathalie Brunet, UNHCR
The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and UPS, a global package delivery company, have launched a new multi-year global partnership for improving emergency logistics.
FAO Partners with Industry to Develop Guidelines for Monitoring Environmental Impact of the Livestock Sector
By: Pierre Gerber, FAO
The Food and Agricultural Organization’s (FAO) Animal Production and Health Division, together with a group of agriculture and food business representatives, will explore a new multi-stakeholder partnership for benchmarking and monitoring the environmental performance of the livestock sector.
Partnerships for Innovation: UNICEF and frog™
By: Erica Kochi, UNICEF
Design firms behind iconic technology products are broadening their portfolios by increasingly working with health care companies and non-profit organizations to conceive not just gadgets, but also design solutions for societal problems.
frog™, which was involved in the design of the first Apple computer in the 1980s, plans to expand its work with UNICEF by supporting a mobile maternal and neonatal health system in Rwanda. The partnership between frog™ and UNICEF has now been ongoing for more than two years on Project Mwana, a major maternal health initiative using mobile technology to improve early infant diagnosis of HIV in Zambia.
FAO Appeals to Private Companies and Non-Profit Organizations to Join the SAVE FOOD Initiative
By: Ib Knutsen, FAO
The issue of food loss and waste has become so colossal and complex that no organization on its own can make a significant global difference. A study by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) found that as much as one-third of the entire human food production is squandered. When food is lost or wasted, so is the fertilizer used in sowing; the water used for irrigation; the petrol used for transportation; and even the land used for growing. Once out of the food-chain, the decomposing methane waste contributes 30 times as much to global warming as carbon dioxide.
UNICEF and easyJet Launch ‘Change for Good’
By: Christopher Kimber, UNICEF
In July 2012 easyJet, the UK’s largest airline, formed a partnership with UNICEF becoming the newest member of the elite group of air passenger carriers operating the UNICEF ‘Change for Good’ fundraising system.
The partnership, which will initially last three years, will operate on easyJet’s pan-European network during the peak summer and winter seasons, reaching out to the airline’s 60 million passengers who travel on the airline’s 200 aircraft on over 600 routes across 32 countries.
UNRWA Partners with Award-Winning Architect to Build an Innovative Green School in Gaza
By: Neema Mgana, UNRWA
In 2011, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) entered into a unique partnership with Mario Cucinella Architects (MCA), an Italian architectural firm specializing in green buildings and sustainable urban planning, to build the first zero carbon school in the Gaza Strip. The school, called the “Green School”, will rely solely on free and locally available resources (i.e. rainwater, solar and ground energy) to provide more comfortable learning conditions, sustainable access to electricity and improved access to clean water for over 2,000 children in the area of Khan Younis (Southern part of the Gaza Strip).
Nokia and UNICEF Partner to Support Young People in Safe and Beneficial Use of Digital Media
The digital revolution has fundamentally changed the way people communicate, offering faster and easier access to services and knowledge. Nokia and UNICEF have initiated a global partnership that aims to improve understanding of opportunities and risks for young people as digital access increases in many developing countries.
Pizza Hut And Taco Bell Support WFP Typhoon Pablo Response And School Meals
In the Philippines, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell have raised PhP 7.7 million for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to support their hunger-fighting activities in Mindanao.
The funds were collected through the Yum! Brands World Hunger Relief 2012 campaign and will support the Philippine Government’s on-going Typhoon Pablo operations, as well as WFP’s school meals program for children affected by conflict.
Carlsberg Group, Baltika Breweries and UNIDO Sign Agreement on Major Environmental Projects in Russia
Carlsberg Group, the world’s fourth largest brewer, and its subsidiary Baltika Breweries, Russia’s largest beer company, are to invest up to 1 billion Rubles (around EUR 25 million) in environmental projects in Russia related to water, agriculture and climate change.
Groupon and WFP Join Hands in Southeast Asia for Fighting Hunger and Empowering Girls through School Meals
Groupon, the global pioneer and leader in social e-commerce, and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, launched a daily deal across Southeast Asia to support the empowerment of girls in Asia through school meals programs.
The Coca-Cola Company and UNDP cooperate on ‘Every Drop Matters’
The Coca-Cola Company has pledged USD 2 million this year – the International Year of Water Cooperation – to Every Drop Matters, a long-standing collaboration between the drinks giant and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Every Drop Matters tackles challenges related to water supply, sanitation, water management and climate change around the world.
WFP and Sandbox Global Join Forces To Fight Hunger Online
Online gamers and followers of fashion today have a new way to support the United Nations World Food Programme’s (WFP) emergency food assistance operation in Syria thanks to a ground-breaking initiative with Facebook game Stylista. Stylista is the brainchild of Sandbox Global, a digital gaming company based in Bangkok, Thailand.
Themes and Debate
UN Private Sector Focal Points Meet to Strengthen Local Partnership Synergies
From 24 – 25 April 2013, over 300 representatives from UN entities, private sector companies, civil society organizations and Global Compact Local Networks gathered for the United Nations System Private Sector Focal Points Meeting in Geneva. With the largest ever turnout of UN and private sector representatives, the meeting demonstrates the rapidly growing relevance of public-private partnerships across sectors.
From CSR to Corporate Sustainability: Moving the CSR agenda to the next level in Asia and the Pacific
By: Marc Proksch, Chief, Business and Development, Trade and Investment Division, ESCAP
The concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has evolved. This was clear when the United Nations convened the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012. Prior to the Rio+20 Conference, the Global Compact Office organized the Corporate Sustainability Forum in cooperation with the Rio+20 Secretariat, the UN System and the Global Compact Network Brazil from 15 to 18 June 2012. The Forum brought together 2,700 business leaders, investors, academics, government officials, environmentalists and grassroots activists. . Delegates discussed sustainability in 120 separate sessions in the following substantive areas: (1) energy and climate; (2) water and eco-systems; (3) agriculture and food; (4) economics and finance; (5) social development; (6) urbanization and cities; (7) education for sustainable development and responsible management education. In all these areas issues related to innovation and collaboration were discussed
Hunger on the Agenda at World Economic Forum
The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting (WEF), held in Davos, Switzerland, is a unique event where the world’s most pressing issues are discussed. This year was no exception. The gathering presented an important opportunity for the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to advocate for the needs of nearly 900 million people suffering from chronic hunger.
UNDESA: Where are We with Corporate Sustainability Reporting?
Our memories remain fresh from the lead-up to Rio+20, where civil society and the investor community were advocating for the adoption of a Convention on Corporate Sustainability Reporting which would require all listed and large private companies to integrate material sustainability issues into their annual reporting cycle and to disclose sustainability information on a report-or-explain basis. The negotiated outcome fell short of these expectations, but the action-oriented language in paragraph 47 of General Assembly Resolution A/66/288 “The Future We Want” has opened a space for governments and stakeholders to follow up on these discussions.
The Energy Access Practitioner Network: Encouraging Dialogue between Off-Grid Sustainable Energy Practitioners
The United Nations Foundation’s Energy Access Practitioner Network offers a unique approach to helping the world achieve universal access to modern energy services by 2030 – one of the three objectives of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s initiative on Sustainable Energy for All. The Practitioner Network was launched in 2011 and encourages networking and sharing of best practices by off-grid sustainable energy practitioners working to provide market-based solutions that enhance income generation, health, agriculture, education, small business and telecommunications solutions. Many Practitioner Network members have made formal commitments to the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, collectively pledging to reach 80 million households by 2020.
Meet a Focal Point
Meet a UN Focal Point: Kiki Rebecca Lawal, Programme Officer, Business Partnerships, UNISDR
Kiki Rebecca Lawal is a Programme Officer for business partnerships at the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), an organization which focuses on saving lives, jobs and reducing poverty by promoting disaster risk reduction as a strategic priority among engaging with individuals, all countries, local governments, business, communities, scientists, and parliamentarians. Prior to this, Kiki worked for the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) as the head of Signatory Relations for some 200 UNEP FI Signatories from 45 countries as well as at Citibank in London as an Activation Manager.
Tools and Resources
New Handbook on UN-Business Partnerships Launched
The UN Global Compact Office, together with the Global Public Policy Institute, launched a new handbook for UN staff on constructing partnerships with the private sector at the annual United Nations Private Sector Focal Point meeting which took place from 24-25 April 2013 at the International Labour Organization in Geneva.
WBCSD Launches Guide on Measuring Socio-economic Impact for Businesses
Corporations around the world continue to heed the call for innovative solutions to the proliferating environmental and social challenges. Nonetheless there goal still remains far from arm’s length. Whilst efforts have been advanced in changing business process and operational models, measuring and reporting the impacts of these transformations has remained discursive. This is not to suggest that no efforts have been made to measure the socio economic impact of businesses, rather to the contrary more and more tools are being developed to this end. Subsequently, it has become difficult to compare and select the most appropriate among them. The tools available today are incredibly diverse. They are based on different assumptions, they offer different functionality, they focus on different types of impact, and they suit different purposes.
UNODC and the UN Global Compact Launch Certificate Program of Anti-Corription E-Learning Tool for Businesses
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the UN Global Compact are working with businesses to encourage the development of anti-corruption policies that strengthen transparency and accountability. As part of these efforts, the partners launched a certificate program of the interactive “The Fight against Corruption” e-learning tool.