The UN Post-2015 Development Agenda

PatriciaChaves100x100By: Patricia Chaves, Senior Sustainable Development Officer UNDESA – Division for Sustainable Development

 

 


Kenya and Ireland to Lead Intergovernmental Consultations

The United Nations is preparing to embark on the challenging journey to define an ambitious, inclusive, integrated and transformative post 2015 development agenda to be adopted by a Summit of Heads of State and Government in September 2015.

The Permanent Representatives of Kenya and Ireland to the United Nations, two very skillful and seasoned diplomats, have been appointed by the President of the General Assembly as co-facilitators to lead “open, inclusive and transparent” consultations on the new agenda. In the United Nations context, these words carry high expectations of clear modalities of participation, ample opportunities for exchanges of views and commitment to reach outcomes by consensus. Ownership from all UN Member States of the outcome of this intergovernmental process will be fundamental for the successful impact of the new agenda. As any veteran in UN affairs will attest, this is not an easy task.

The aim: an agenda to ensure the eradication of poverty and
the achievement of sustainable development by 2030.

The co-facilitators have prepared a “food for thought”[1] document, outlining their proposals for modalities and dates for the intergovernmental negotiations, working methods, and scope for the substantive consultations. The co-facilitators are also encouraging Member States to offer proposals on themes for the interactive dialogues to be held during the three day Summit in 2015.

It is the aim of the process to reach agreement on an ambitious and transformative agenda which would ensure the eradication of poverty and the achievement of sustainable development by 2030.

It is also envisioned that the outcome document to be agreed by Member States during the negotiations and which Heads of State and Government will adopt at the September 2015 Summit will have four main components: 1. A declaration; 2. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), targets and indicators; 3. Means of Implementation and an enhanced Global Partnership; and 4. A framework for reviewing progress and monitoring implementation.

The Secretary General has been requested to prepare a report synthetizing the full range of inputs from intergovernmental processes since the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012 or Rio+20. The Secretary General synthesis report[2], which will be considered as an important input of the negotiations, offers his vision of six elements to help “frame and reinforce the universal, integrated and transformative nature of a sustainable development agenda and ensure that the ambition expressed by Member States in the outcome of the Open Working Group on the sustainable development goals translates, communicates and is delivered at the country level”.

There have been concerns that the 17 Goals and 169 targets that the Open Working Group agreed to propose to the General Assembly could present challenges in practical and actual implementation at the country and global levels. The Secretary General hopes that his six proposed elements (people, dignity, prosperity, justice, partnership and planet, in no particular order), as indicated in the figure below, will serve as an integrated “set of principles, that applied together, can bring about a truly universal transformation of sustainable development”.

Source: UN Secretary General’s Synthesis Report,  Advanced unedited copy, released 4 December 2014

Source: UN Secretary General’s Synthesis Report, Advanced unedited copy, released 4 December 2014

What to Expect in the Coming Months?

The proposed schedule of intergovernmental consultations for 2015 is quite intense. Sessions have been arranged to take place sometimes twice a month from January to July 2015 at the UN Headquarters. A first draft of the outcome document will be shared with delegations in early January 2015.

Two informal consultations to elicit further views from Member States have been scheduled on December 3 and 16, 2014. Further clarity from delegations on organizational and substantive aspects of the negotiations will be expected during these sessions.

Arrangements may need to be advanced to ensure close interaction with other processes having a bearing in the post 2015 intergovernmental negotiations. A Third Conference on Financing for Development is scheduled to take place in July 2015 with expectations that financial needs, requirements and sources to implement the envisioned sustainable development goals will be addressed. Some countries have indicated their interest to address all means of implementation for the post 2015 development agenda at that Conference, which may include the issue of technology facilitation and the shaping of a future Global Partnership for enhanced international cooperation.

Negotiations on a climate change agreement to be decided in Paris in late 2015 will also be unfolding during next year. Some member states have expressed their interest for the post 2015 negotiations to follow up with the climate change process to allow for synergies and complementarities between the two processes while respecting the distinct character of the climate change negotiations.

The UN system is ready to support the intergovernmental negotiations when technical materials, dedicated advice and specialized briefings are requested by Member States to facilitate their discussions and agreements.

For now, comprehensive preparations by members of delegations, civil society actors and the UN system are taking place to start negotiations in full force in January 2015. The world is watching and expecting robust political will to advance an ambitious and transformational agenda.

About the Author: Patricia Chaves is currently a Senior Sustainable Development Officer at the United Nations Division for Sustainable Development. She has 20 years of in-depth knowledge and experience in international policy development and policy making. As a member of the UN Secretariat’s team servicing the Rio+20 Conference (Brazil – 2012), Ms. Chaves was instrumental in the conceptualization and organization of the Partnerships Forum at that Conference which is considered the largest conference ever convened by the United Nations.

Before joining the United Nations, Ms. Chaves was a career Foreign Service officer of the government of Costa Rica.

[1] http://www.un.org/pga/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2014/11/141114_post-2015-agenda.pdf

[2] http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/5527SR_advance%20unedited_final.pdf

The Global Sourcing Council’s Annual Meeting – Jan 22, 2015

The GSC is pleased to announce its Annual Meeting and Executive Round Table, will take place on January 22, 2015 in New York City in the Bank of America Building, located at Bryant Park 1 (off Avenue of the Americas between 42nd and 43rd Streets).

All GSC members in good standing are invited to attend in person or via telephone.

Non-GSC members interested in attending the Executive Round Table – please contact the Chair of the Meeting: Aditya Saharia, saharia@fordham.edu 

The meeting is hosted by the Durst Organization, http://www.durst.org/sustainability

Program:         Exclusive Tour of the Platinum LEED BofA Building

Organizational Meeting

Board Election

Executive Round Table and GSC Annual Meeting: “Robotics Revolution: More Productivity, Less Jobs – Who Should Care?”

Robots – they dazzle with allure of entering the future here and now. They project seductive images of better, faster, more productive… whatever we do, professionally and personally. They replace less reliable humans and bring more efficiency and reliability into the process.  What wonderful times we live in!  What challenging times we live in…

A panel of top experts in the field of robotics and sustainability will present diverse perspectives on the digital revolution and its consequences to global business. They will also pose the questions: Why should we care? Who should care?

The Durst Organization, host of this GSC event, is committed to sustainable and socially responsible development, which is exemplified by the simple philosophy:  “Leave a place better than you found it”. Please visit their website to learn more about their commitment: http://www.durst.org/sustainability

Sustainable and Socially Responsible Sourcing Awards (3S Awards)

Prospectus 3S Award 1Brought to you by The Global Sourcing Council (Prospectus 3S Award)

Calling all individuals and organizations with aSocially Responsible Conscience!

Showcase your work and stand to win an award!

The Global Sourcing Council (GSC) honors individuals and organizations that have demonstrated exceptional social and economic leadership in innovating, improving and implementing Sustainable and Socially Responsible Sourcing (3S) practices. 3S practices are those activities that individuals or organisations do to ensure that they make a meaningful impact across their value chain into the lives of the of the buyers, suppliers, business partners, advisory services and surrounding communities, which are not only socially responsible but sustainable as well. Previous winners of the 3S Awards can be seen on www.gscouncil.org.

Apply in one of the following six (6) categories:

  • 3S Community Engagement Award: This award is focused on organizations that influence and make sustainable a single or multiple communities by providing employment, making available building block resources for survival, providing educational tools and resources and enabling communities by availing business opportunities.
  • 3S Employee Engagement Award: The Employee Engagement Award is aimed at businesses/organizations that empower their employees towards 3S actions. This would include but is not limited to engaging employees in sustainable and socially responsible practices through the company/various groups and providing tools for employees (educational/ vocational).
  • 3S Empowered Women Award: This award recognizes 3S initiatives taken to empower women that are part of global supply chains or their surrounding communities, as well as honoring women who have made a 3S difference.
  • 3S Impact Sourcing Award: This award recognizes individuals and organizations that have established and implemented impact sourcing practices to benefit disadvantaged communities.
  • 3S Innovative Sourcing Award: This award recognizes innovative 3S initiatives across all industries and platforms.
  • 3S People’s Choice Award: This award is based on popular vote by the sourcing community. Videos from all categories will be up for voting and the most popular submission will make the cut for the award.

Applications for 3S Awards are now being accepted. You may request an application by contacting Gary S. Pasricha, Chairman of 2015 3S Awards, at gary.pasricha@gscouncil.org. Applications will involve submission of an on-line application and short video (approximately 3 minutes) highlighting the applicant’s achievements in the offered awards categories.

All applications will be evaluated by independent judges who are experts in the fields of sustainability, social responsibility, and sourcing. The People’s Choice Award is an open online competition subject to one vote per IP address.

prizes

In the past, prizes have varied from the actual receiving of a physical Award itself, to hands-on training and skills development in the form of a Boot Camp and in instances where significant sponsorship was available, monetary rewards have been given to the winners. The 3S Boot Camp participation consists of training sessions and conferences that have helped companies scale-up and develop their socially responsible business practices. Each year, the winners have gained unique exposure to world media and C-suite global business people from across sectors, around the world.

The prizes for the upcoming 2015 3S Awards will be announced closer to the date of the Awards.

sponsorship opps

3S Awards Host Sponsor $50K
Platinum Sponsor $30K
Gold Sponsor $20K
Silver Sponsor $10K
Bronze Sponsor $5K
GSC Web Meeting sponsor $1K

*Details of your benefits under each sponsorship package are available upon request.

*Customized packages are also available upon request.

application entries

Entries will be accepted until March 31, 2015.

date for awards

The Awards Ceremony will be held in New York City in June 2015.

This is a wonderful way to promote your socially responsible business and dedication to global sustainability. You can support the 3S Awards program financially or with valuable in-kind support including but not limited to: food/beverage, graphic design, printing, marketing and other information technology opportunities, social media exposure, GSC website maintenance or the gift of your time to volunteer to help in the build-up towards the Awards Ceremony or during the Ceremony itself in New York .

CONTACT:

Websites: www.gsc3SAwards.com
www.gscouncil.org
Twitter Handles: @3SAwards
@globalsourcing

Or, email Gary S. Pasricha (gary.pasricha@gscouncil.org), Chairman of the 2015 3S Awards for additional information

Message from the Chair: Socially Responsible Investing (SRI)

Wanda
By: Wanda Lopuch, Chair, The Global Sourcing Council

 

 


Why Socially Responsible Investing?

In global sourcing, in both services and products, we frequently talk about efficiencies, cost savings, about the cloud innovations and automation; we talk about return on investment of sourcing projects; but … socially responsible investing? And sourcing? That is a stretch… or is it?

The connection is closer than some of the “efficiency” experts realize, or frankly – are willing to admit. Just consider these perspectives:

  • In 2011, Microsoft shareholders adopted a resolution requiring the management of Microsoft to turn its 100,000+ strong supply chain into a socially responsible supply chain. Now the “Global Citizenship” factor at Microsoft accounts for 11% of the total vendor score.
  • In 2013, following the tragedy at the Rona Plaza in Bangladesh, investors and consumers of such global brands as Zara, H&M, Carrefour and others, forced changes in labor codes, vendor management and transparency in reporting.
  • Nike’s “Manufacturing Index” which monitors, measures and rewards suppliers, allocates 25% value equally to four factors: quality, on-time-delivery, cost and sustainability.
  • A 2014 Nielsen global consumer study of 30,000 households from 60 countries reports that on average consumers are paying 10% premium for brands positively associated with social values, with the social premiums as high as 13% in Latin America. This report found that brands increase sales by an average of 5% using social responsibility actions.

These are powerful messages: brand managers listen to 5% sales increase; top management listen to shareholders resolutions and to consumers demands. Isn’t time for sourcing “efficiency experts” to embrace the “social responsibility” message as well?

According to the US SIF Foundation, in 2012, over 11% of the 33.3 trillion in total assets under management tracked by Thomson Reuters Nielsen, were managed according to SRI strategies. This means that one of every nine dollars under professional capital management comes from SRI investors. And these investors actively look for enterprises with specific goals, behaviors, or they force behaviors in firms they invest in, like the shareholders of Microsoft, followed by Dell, Intel, Oracle, and many others.

Investors in the UK and elsewhere as you will find out in this issue of The Source, are teaming up with governments in creating public-private enterprises to move forward the SRI agenda.

What is Socially Responsible Investing (SRI)?

SRI, also referred to as sustainable, values-based investments, socially conscious, “green” or ethical investing, is investment strategy which considers both financial returns and nonfinancial factors so called ESG factors, (environmental, social and governance).

In the classical Milton Friedman system of a free market, investment decisions are based on the principle of assuring the highest return on capital for investors; otherwise referred to as the “greed is good” principle.

In the SRI approach to the market, the decisions are based on optimizing returns beyond the financial dimension, rather then maximizing financial returns at any cost. Other factors such as measurable social and environmental effects are being taken into account in evaluating investment opportunities.

SRI is not a philanthropy, although one may look for SRI roots in seasoned philanthropists. SRI is a broad spectrum of investment strategies. On one end of this spectrum there is the “avoiding harm” principle, such as not investing in cigarettes, alcohol, or fire-arm related enterprises, or negative screening related to oppressive regimes, for example Sudan, or terrorism activities. On the other end of the spectrum, SRI investors actively look for investment targets which support social goals in addition to economic gains (such as investing in enterprises which focus on opportunities for minorities, or channeling capital to poor communities). Amy Domini, a prominent, long-standing member of the socially responsible investing community who founded the Domini Social Equity Fund in 1991 (www.domini.com) has stated that shareholder advocacy and community investing are pillars of socially responsible investing and that doing only negative screening is “not what I would consider adequate”.

Top 10 ESG The growing body of research documents a strong and positive link between ESG factors and the long-term financial performance of enterprises. As it pays off to be socially responsible, assets managers are looking into ESG factors more frequently to increase returns and better mitigate risks in global enterprises.

SRI – from Side Street to the Main Street

The total of SRI assets in the US is $3.74 trillion, according to the 2012 Report on Sustainable and Responsible Investing Trends in the US, a 22% increase from 2009. Click to read more. It constitutes 11.3% of the total assets under management tracked by Thomson Reuters Neilsen in the US.

Since 1995, SRI assets under professional management have grown over 480%, while general assets in the same time have grown 370%, according to estimates from Thomson Reuters Nielsen. On an average, SRI assets grow annually 1.24% faster then all professionally managed investment assets in the US.US SIFThe growth of SIF globally is reflected in the UN’s Principles for Responsible Investment program, which as of November 1st, 2014 has more than 1,300 signatory firms from all over the world (http://www.unpri.org) with assets over $30 trillion or approximately 20% of total value of global capital market.

The 2012 SIF report shows a strong trend of SRI strategies being adopted by firms that have not historically identified themselves with SRI.

Here are the few highlights of the report:

  • Rise of investment in sectors such as clean technology or community development finance indicates that “investors have an appetite for profitable investment that can address social challenges, including helping to alleviate poverty or reduce carbon emission”.
  • Social criteria, such as Sudan-avoidance policies, are the most prominent in asset-weighted terms incorporated in the management of $1.2 trillion across a range of 622 investment vehicles.
  • As a response to shareholder engagement by SRI advocates, global corporations increasingly embrace ESG practices and disclosure and incorporate these standards into their operations. In the past year, there has been a sharpened focus on both “integrated reporting” (which links a company’s strategy, governance and financial performance with the ESG context in which it operates) and on the newly created Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (which is establishing standards for integrated reporting and an understanding of relevant and material issues to 35,000 publicly listed companies in the United States). These developments promise a fundamental change in corporate reporting that is also likely to spur more companies to consider and adopt sustainable business practices.

Top 5 TypesThese trends are not just a blip on the radar. With one of every nine dollars in assets under the SRI umbrella, SRI is moving from the side-line to the main-stream of capital markets. That 11.3% of assets in 2012 has a significant power to change market behaviors, such as embracing ESG factors in reporting. Although, as Lisa Woll, the CEO of SIF states: “it is clear we have much more to do in order to further advance the scale of sustainable and responsible investment and to effectively grapple with other challenges to building a robust, equitable and sustainable economy”.

Please submit your comments to contactgsc@gscouncil.org. We will share your views with the community.

Editor’s Note: Positive Enterprise

By: JoDeen Urban, Editor In Chief, The Source

The aspiration that as a global community we will leave the world a better place figures prominently in our collective psyche. Impact Investing is many things and at its heart is the compact that governments, companies and investors will collaborate towards this end. Acts of social and environmental conscience, executed in good faith, backed by sound financial reasoning with the expectation of profit – an ethos evidenced by the growing momentum and mainstreaming of impact investing.

Impact investors actively seek to place capital in businesses, nonprofits and funds that can harness the power of positive enterprise. These investors are primarily distinguished by their intentions to address social and environmental challenges. In contrast, practitioners of Socially Responsible Investing also include negative (avoidance) criteria as part of their investment decisions as discussed by our GSC Chair in her opening commentary of this issue.

Impact investing is on the rise and its relevance is undisputed.

According to the Global Impact Investment Network (GIIN) “Impact Investments” are investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate measurable, beneficial social or environmental impact alongside a financial return. Impact investments can be made in both emerging and developed markets, and target a range of returns from below-market to above-market rates, depending upon the circumstances. In this description, it is important to acknowledge that governments and global leaders are also at the forefront, not just providing their advocacy of this movement but actively engaging in the solution-making process.

In this month’s issue several prominent companies, a leading foundation, a rural sales and service company with microfinance roots, and individual contributors weigh-in on this topic. Each one has enriched the discourse on this subject, elevated the end-state vision and contributed to the creation of a financially inclusive and environmentally safer world. Whether it is Sutherland Global Services, Accion, US SIF Foundation, Frontier Markets, or our Board correspondent reporting this month from the UK, a common message is stressed – impact investing is on the rise and its relevance among clients, investors and the international capital markets is undisputed.

We encourage you to read each insightful, thought-provoking article as they reaffirm the power of the individual, the power of allied action, and the power of impact investing.

We welcome contributors to this publication. Please share your insight and opinions at contactGSC@gscouncil.org, or contact me directly at jodeen@gscouncil.org.

JoDeen Urban
Editor In Chief

JoDeen is an independent management consultant working with established companies as well as start-ups on strategy, organizational capability and business model innovation.