(Rio de Janeiro, 18 June 2012) – A role for the international business community in identifying and promoting a new set of global goals was endorsed this evening at the Rio+20-aligned private sector forum, and will be forwarded this week to the UN and Heads of State.

The proposal to give business a voice in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) emerged from the 15-18 June Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum. Approval came via a show of hands by business executives as well as other Forum participants from civil society, Governments, UN agencies and academia.

The recommendation, along with the summary of Forum proceedings, will be presented to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 21 June, at a meeting taking place during the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).

The issue of establishing a new set of overarching global goals is on the agenda of the Rio+20 summit, also taking place in Rio de Janeiro. The Sustainable Development Goals concept has attracted broad support among Governments negotiating the Rio+20 outcome text, as well as capturing the imagination of the general public. An existing set of global objectives, the Millennium Development Goals, are mostly geared to 2015 deadlines.

H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden delivered the opening address at the 4:00 PM “Compact for Rio” closing session of the Forum. Other speakers from Governments were Ida Auken, Minister for the Environment, Denmark, and René Castro, Minister of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications, Costa Rica; and Patti Londoño, Vice-Minister for Multilateral Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Colombia, was among those leading the discussion on the SDGs.

Also speaking on the SDG proposal were Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director, UN Women; Amina J. Mohammed, Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning; and Monica de Greiff, Chief Executive Officer, Grupo Energia de Bogota.

Other business executives and civil society leaders speaking at the Forum’s closing included the following:

  • Paolo Andrea Colombo, Chairman, ENEL
  • Mr. Brian Dames, Chief Executive Officer, ESKOM
  • Mr. José Lopez, Chief Operations Officer, Nestle S.A.
  • Mr. Pierre Sané, President, Imagine Africa International
  • Ms. Janice E. Perlman, Founder & President, Mega-Cities Project
  • Mr. Caio Koch-Weser, Vice Chairman and Senior Advisor, Deutsche Bank Group
  • Mr. Norman Arruda, Chief Executive Officer, ISAE FGV
  • Mr. Fu Chengyu, Chairman, Sinopec
  • Mr. Adrian Sym, Executive Director, Alliance for Water Stewardship
  • Ms. Ruth Nussbaum, Co-Founder and Director, Proforest
  • Mr. Andrei Galaev, Chief Executive Officer, Sakhalin Energy Investment Company
  • Mr. Yue Zhang, Chief Executive Officer, Broad Group  

About the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum: Innovation and Collaboration for the Future We Want

Hosted by the UN Global Compact, in cooperation with the Rio+20 Secretariat, the UN System and the Global Compact Local Network Brazil, the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum (15-18 June 2012) seeks to bring greater scale and quality to corporate sustainability practices, as a critical contribution to sustainable development. As a showcase for innovation and collaboration, the Forum is designed to be a launching ground for widespread action. With more than 2,000 participants in attendance, the Forum features over 100 sessions focused on six themes central to the Rio+20 agenda: Energy & Climate, Water & Ecosystems, Agriculture & Food, Social Development, Urbanization & Cities, and Economics & Finance. 

About the UN Global Compact
Launched in 2000, the United Nations Global Compact is a both a policy platform and a practical framework for companies that are committed to sustainability and responsible business practices. As a multi-stakeholder leadership initiative, it seeks to align business operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and to catalyze actions in support of broader UN goals. With 7,000 corporate signatories in 135 countries, it is the world’s largest voluntary corporate sustainability initiative. www.unglobalcompact.org