On February 3, 2021, the multimedia press center of the international news agency "Russia Segodnya" hosted a press briefing to officially launch in Russia and Belarus an international program SDG Ambition initiated by the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) in partnership with SAP, Accenture, and 3M global companies and supported by PhosAgro, a Global Compact member with LEAD status
SDG Ambition is a 6-month training accelerator program for companies that have responded to the UN call for more visible and faster business progress towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and are interested in gaining new competencies and knowledge that are necessary for transforming business strategies and practices for the SDGs, for broader understanding of the value of business resilience and factors of its long-term growth, for science-based ambitious targets setting and introducing new corporate governance models synchronized with the 2030 Agenda.
The Program is focused on the effectiveness of corporate actions, it takes into account local perspectives in the global context of the SDGs and provides for a series of webinars, lectures, local expert sessions, work on the SDG Ambition online platform, public events and discussions, including within international platforms of the UNGC in 2021. The Program also revolves around specific research, publications and guides offered by the UNGC as recommendations, as well as SDG business benchmarks - sets of measurable criteria and standards designed to meet today's reporting requirements that are applicable to all industries and can be adjusted for any company.
Globally, the program was announced by UN Secretary General António Guterres in January 2020 at the World Economic Forum in Davos: SDG Ambition - Scaling Business Impact for the Decade of Action. In June 2020, at the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit, heads of the UN Global Compact and Accenture presented a set of 10 SDG Business Benchmarks and announced a consultation period, the outcomes of which were considered and presented in a special publication. In September, SDG Ambition guides were presented in partnership with Accenture and SAP withing the historic 75th anniversary session of the UN General Assembly and the UN Global Compact side events.
By the beginning of 2021, over 600 companies out of the applicants from 32 countries of the world had been selected, and now more than two dozen SDG Ambition training tracks are being launched on the basis of the Global Compact Local Networks. The Global Compact Network Russia joined the Program together with the Global Compact Network Belarus, thus implementing a "Russia + Belarus" track, which brought together 29 participants from Russia and 11 participants from Belarus, representing the communities of national economies leaders.
1. Taras Pronin, Head of ECOSOC and UN Regional Commissions Section, Department of International Organizations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia
2. Vladimir Kuznetsov, Chairman of the UN Country Team in Russia, Director of the UN Information Center in Moscow
3. Joanna Kazana-Wisniowiecki, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Belarus
4. Natalia Stapran, Director, Department for Multilateral Economic Cooperation and Special Projects, the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia
5. Andrei Skorochkin, Managing Director, Accenture Strategy Lead, Russia
6. Alexander Sharabaika, Member of the Management Board, Deputy CEO for Finance and International Projects, PhosAgro - a Global Compact member with LEAD status, member of the Steering Committee of the Association “National Network of the Global Compact”
7. Martin Rich, Co-Founder, Executive Director, Future-Fit Foundation (Great Britain)
8. Antonio Hautle, Executive Director, Global Compact Network Switzerland
9. Pettiina Niiranen, Director, Global Compact Network Finland
10. Tamanna Girdhar, Head, Global Compact Network India
11. Maxim Podberezkin, Executive Director, Global Compact Network Belarus
12. Marina Vashukova, Executive Director of the Association “National Network of the Global Compact” (moderator)
Taras Pronin, Head of ECOSOC and UN Regional Commissions Section, Department of International Organizations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia
As a public sector we call on business community to join the UN Global Compact initiative through undertaking the goals and obligations of the UN Global Compact. The UN Global Compact is one of the UN's flagship initiatives designed to mobilize businesses for joint efforts aimed at the SDG achievement. The role of SDG Ambition program now, during the pandemic and its aftermath, is especially important. It is very encouraging that the program is being launched jointly for Russia and Belarus - the interaction of the two countries’ businesses under the Global Compact is crucial to achieving the SDGs.
Vladimir Kuznetsov, Chairman of the UN Country Team in Russia, Director of the UN Information Center in Moscow
I would like to sound like an optimist, but have no chance of it since just a year ago, when the SDG Ambition initiative was just launched, UN Secretary General declared the lack of efforts taken so far by countries to achieve the desired goals by 2030. In light of the pandemic’s devastating after-effects and 500 million job losses, the key task remains the same - it is the maximum involvement of business community, which has the necessary potential to bring our ambitions for the 2030 Agenda in life. SDG Ambition accelerator is a very important training project, and we expect that business community representatives in Russia and Belarus will be maximally covered by this program.
Joanna Kazana-Wisniowiecki, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Belarus
We need to remember that in 2015, the global goals were set in the form of some promises at the political level, followed by national goals and objectives that each country forms independently. Some countries have been very ambitious and continue to constantly raise the bar on their national goals. Other countries, 5 years after the implementation of the agenda, see that their goals were very conservative and quite easily achievable. At the same time, in Belarus, when we look at the national assessment, we see that the country has already achieved 75% of the tasks set over a five-year period, and this is 10 years before the final bar. Now it is a unique time for revising national goals, rethinking further development and searching for new opportunities for Belarus - in this regard, the Accelerator will play a very important role. The country bar will definitely rise.
Natalia Stapran, Director, Department for Multilateral Economic Cooperation and Special Projects, the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia
We realize that there remains a segment of business that still does not fully incorporate the principles of sustainable development and Global Compact in their work. Therefore, we are ready to share experience within SDG Ambition program and create a pool of best practices. We always try to emphasize that the sustainable development agenda offers new opportunities and new niches. To highlight, emphasize, as well as to find and teach is, in my opinion, a good mission, for which special thanks go to the Program’s organizers and partners. For our part, we are always open to cooperation and partnership.
Martin Rich, Co-Founder, Executive Director, Future-Fit Foundation (Great Britain)
In response to the call of action on the SDGs, the vast majority of companies will have to radically transform their business models. Such actions are not an additional option for the business, as many leaders hope for, but a precondition for preserving both their business and the planet.
Antonio Hautle, Executive Director, Global Compact Network Switzerland
It is great that we are engaged in such a collaboration between the UN Global Compact Local Networks. In Switzerland, it is very important to us that companies build their business processes with respect to the Ten Principles of the Global Compact, on which I always focus the attention of our participants. We also believe that it is extremely important to pay attention to the harmonization of the integrated approach to the 2030 Agenda while assessing efficiently your corporate competencies within the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. With most countries in the world agreeing on united actions under the 2030 Agenda, we hope that this will encourage new opportunities, which we will be pleased to develop and maintain.
Pettiina Niiranen, Director, Global Compact Network Finland
Business community is well positioned to promote fast and cardinal innovations that drive change towards a more sustainable future. The best way to strengthen local opportunities and increase business participation in achieving the SDGs is partnerships and collaboration with other pioneers.
Tamanna Girdhar, Head, Global Compact Network India
The pandemic has highlighted the interconnections between business, nature and society, making us realize that life is not linear and there is no single solution for it. The call to seek optimized solutions in accordance with SDGs is rational. It is time for companies and institutions to make measurable, ambitious and business-oriented commitments to achieve the SDGs, while adhering to the principles of the UN Global Compact of Responsible Business. Companies, by aligning their processes in accordance with the principles of the UN Global Compact, can take strategic actions to advance more ambitious social goals focusing on cooperation and innovation. In this context, the Global Compact Network India has intensified its efforts to accelerate the transformation agenda - it's time to make decisions and reaffirm our ambitions for the SDGs.
Alexander Sharabaika, Member of the Management Board, Deputy CEO for Finance and International Projects, PhosAgro - a Global Compact member with LEAD status
PhosAgro strives to be a major example of Russian business attention to the 2030 Agenda. Achieving the SDGs has been identified as a priority in the company's long-term development strategy. Recognizing the importance of all 17 SDGs, PhosAgro is promoting 11 of them. In December, one of the most authoritative studies of business climate responsibility metrics, CDP, upgraded PhosAgro's rating from 'C' to 'B-'. The influential international agency Sustainalytics, in its annual review of ESG risk ratings, also raised PhosAgro rating considerably – from 43.8 to 26.9 points – ranking the Company among the TOP-3 enterprises in the global agrochemical industry. As a manufacturer of eco- friendly mineral fertilizers free of hazardous concentrations of toxic metals, we are actively involved in the creation of the Green Standard for domestic agricultural products. To support it we helped found the Green Club, an independent association of producers and suppliers of eco-friendly products. We are truly pleased to partner with the SDG Ambition regional track and to support the implementation by the Global Compact Local Networks of this extremely important initiative for our business. I am confident that this international experience will serve as a great example to other Russian companies and encourage them to improve their ESG efficiency.
Andrei Skorochkin, Managing Director, Accenture Strategy Lead, Russia
Accenture is a global partner of the UNGC’s SDG Ambition program and supports its implementation worldwide. The role of our company within the SDG Ambition accelerator is to prepare training materials in cooperation with the UN Global Compact, to facilitate workshops and activities for program participants, as well as to provide local sustainable development expertise. We believe that the Russian market has great mobilization potential based on a high level of digital maturity for accelerated development in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Maxim Podberezkin, Executive Director, Global Compact Network Belarus
Today, the role of business in achieving the SDGs is no less, if not greater, than that of the state. Employment, education, healthcare, science, innovation - business is setting the pace of development everywhere today. Business leadership in many areas is undeniable. Companies have already gone beyond long-established financial performance standards and have begun to take into account their impact and sustainability. This is particularly the case of the UN Global Compact participants. The level of stakeholder complex engagement by business is increasing. Today we are proud of our sports champions and celebrities – we should also be proud of those business companies, the leaders, that make our lives better, creating the world we all want to live in. At the same time, principles-based behavior is critical to achieving the SDGs today. Only activities that fully comply with the 10 universal principles of the Global Compact can really contribute to the SDGs achievement. A successful business is a sustainable business. A sustainable business is an open, honest, responsible, environmentally friendly, conscientious business. A business that inspires confidence among clients and partners. Thus, the capitalization of confidence is what makes modern business successful.
Marina Vashukova, Executive Director of the Association “National Network of the Global Compact”
Participation in the program will allow its participants to analyze a vast amount of methodological, analytical material on specific performance features in the context of the SDGs. We are seeing an increase in demand of businesses for this kind of support, advice and opportunities to improve competencies. It is not enough just to support the agenda today, it is time we mastered specific tools, models, standards and comprehensive expertise in sustainable development.
Russia + Belarus track partner: PhosAgro
SDG Ambition intelligent partners
SAP – is the market leader in software solutions helping companies in 180 countries. SAP develops machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT) and other high-end technologies, but its today’s objectives go far beyond the business. With SAP solutions businesses can achieve positive economic, social and environmental impacts. SAP helps to measure and reduce emissions, eradicate slavery in supply chains, stimulate zero-waste circular economy, and eliminate inequality.
3М – a scientific company, that carries out products and solutions relevant for many industries and markets, works to make assistive technologies more accessible, applies science in collaborative ways to improve lives daily. Science for the circular economy development, science for combating climate change, science for the society development are the three priority areas of the company's strategy. In 2019, the company decided that 100% of new 3M products at the stage of commercialization would be assessed for compliance with such criteria as the use of secondary raw materials and recyclables, energy efficiency and efficient water use, recyclability of products and reduction of resource consumption.
Accenture – a consulting company providing a wide range of services to clients in more than 120 countries worldwide. The company defines the SDGs as part of its business strategy and makes progress considering the need of the SDGs integration into business processes and effective implementation for the benefit of the planet, society and the global economy. Accenture also sees its goal in helping companies to systematically approach the implementation of the sustainable development agenda.
SDG Ambition participating companies (Russia + Belarus track):
OAO ASB Belarusbank
OAO BSW - Management Company of BMC Holding
ZAO BSB Bank
IBA Group, group of companies
ZAO Qulix Systems
SOOO Mobile TeleSystems
ProLiv, group of companies
IOOO Epam Systems
1. ACIG Group of Companies
2. OOO BMG
3. VEB.RF, State Development Corporation
4. PAO LSR Group
5. OOO X5 Retail Group
6. Inter RAO Group
7. OOO Metalloinvest Management Company
8. PAO NLMK
9. PAO “Mining and Metallurgical Company "Norilsk Nickel”
10. Petropavlovsk PLC
11. Pik Group
12. PAO Polyus
13. OOO Remmontazh
14. Rosatom State Corporation
15. Rosneft Oil Company
16. RUSS-INVEST Investment Company
17. Certification Association Russian Register
18. Sakhalin Energy Investment Company
19. Sveza Company
20. PAO Severstal
21. PAO Sistema Financial Corporation
22. OOO Smart Engines Service
23. PAO Sovcombank
24. PAO TATNEFT
25. Association of donor organizations “Donors Forum”
26. PAO PhosAgro
27. OOO Center of Corporate Medicine
28. MKPAO EN+GROUP
29. ETALON Association