UN Global Compact Regional Meeting in Copenhagen: How can the private sector accelerate progress with the SDGs?

af | 4. okt 2022

Copenhagen’s calm autumn weather set the stage for this year’s Annual Local Network Forum, when 100 Global Compact colleagues attended the opening session Tuesday morning in The Black Diamant.

The international UN meeting enables the 70 local networks of the United Nations Global Compact to network and draw learnings from each other and local businesses’ best practices.

Director of Global Compact Network Denmark, Sara Krüger Falk welcomed our colleagues by opening the Annual Local Network Forum 2022:

“As a welcome to the Danish ecosystem and stakeholders, we are happy that so many Danish organizations are here to support this important agenda. Today we gather to recognize the global perspectives on sustainability and ask ourselves what we can learn from UN Global Compact networks in other parts of the world.”

The key speaker of the opening event was of course Sanda Ojiambo, Assistant Secretary-General and CEO of the United Nations Global Compact.

Sara Krüger Falk and Sanda Ojiambo

“I think it is really remarkable to see the continued global nature of the work that we do – both the diversity and the similarities,” said Sanda Ojiambo.

She stressed how 2023 marks the midpoint for the Sustainable Development Goals.

“As always, any midpoint of anything is a good point for reflection. Where do we stand, what does the data tell us, and what do we need to do better or different? What is very clear, I think, is that there is an opportunity for all of us to reach out to our companies and private sector to see how we can accelerate progress with the SDGs,” said Sanda Ojiambo.


Danish businesses want to accelerate change

Among the Danish organizations present was State of Green, Danish Agency of Energy, Creative Denmark, Energy Cluster Denmark, Copenhagen Business Hub. Taking the stage and representing Danish businesses was Lisa Malmquist Ekstrand, VP, Sustainability at Vestas and Morten Bo Christiansen, VP Head of Decarbonisation at A.P. Moller – Maersk.

And the need for the private sector to engage and act on the SDGs is urgent. While Vestas was named the most sustainable company in the world in 2022 in the 18th annual Global 100 rankings published by Corporate Knights, Morten Bo Christiansen from Maersk stressed the company’s potential to lead change by enabling the execution of the path for A. P. Moller-Maersk to achieve net zero GHG emissions by 2040.

Sanda Ojiambo made the urgency for this transition clear in her speech:

“To quote the Secretary-General António Guterres, he just said ‘the Sustainable Development Goals are issuing an SOS’ – so let us think about that as we move forward.”

All global perspectives call on partnerships

Lene Serpa, chairperson at Global Compact network Denmark and Head of Sustainability Maersk, lead a panel debate with executive directors from the local networks in Brazil, India, and Australia; Carlo Peireira, Ratnesh Jha and Kylie Porter.

While facing different challenges from deforestation and structural racism in Brazil to extreme poverty and floodings in India, the three executive directors all agreed that the way to push the sustainable agenda forward is through global partnership and a shared holistic approach to the challenges of our world.

“I believe the scale and reach of the local networks in the Global Compact is one of the true strengths of the initiative,” said Lene Serpa.

The remaining speakers of the day accounted for Lina Gandløse Hansen, Head of Department- Export and Innovation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Torben Möger Pedersen, CEO Pension Danmark, and Asbjørn Overgaard, CEO Copenhagen Capacity.