The Corporate Sustainability Forum will consist of more than 100 focused sessions on themes related to the Rio+20 agenda. These themes have been identified based on their relevance to business and its capacity to provide substantive contributions to corresponding UN objectives. The Forum will explore each theme’s unique challenges and opportunities for business and aims to identify practical ways forward.
Forum sessions will have a common purpose and design: to spur action and stimulate greater uptake. Innovative public-private partnerships, business contributions and new commitments will be showcased for each theme. Events will be organized by a wide range of organizations, including the UN Global Compact; UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes; Global Compact Local Networks; and other selected partners.
Bold action will be required from companies across all industries to achieve universal energy access, increase energy efficiency, double the share of renewables in the global energy mix, reduce carbon footprints and build climate resilience. To eliminate energy poverty and remove the threat of catastrophic climate change, business must make significant investments in new technologies and make a sustained effort to develop innovative and transformative solutions. With energy prices set to rise further, new environmental regulation looming and a new generation of consumers about to grow out of poverty, the business case is strong for companies to step up and lead this development.
The sessions will explore the contribution of business in support of the Secretary General’s initiative on Sustainable Energy for All and review how low-carbon technologies and solutions advanced by companies in Caring for Climate can reach a larger scale.
Water scarcity, pollution, climate change and other problematic global water trends pose major challenges to businesses now and will continue to do so in the years ahead. It is increasingly clear that the era of cheap and easy access to water is ending, creating perhaps a greater threat to businesses than the loss of any other natural resource, including fossil fuel resources. Corporate water stewardship has emerged as a response strategy to water risk. It is seen by many as both good business and critical for the well-being of communities, ecosystems, and watersheds. Stewardship helps companies identify and manage water-related business risks and allows them to contribute to and help enable more sustainable management of shared freshwater resources.
The Water & Ecosystems track will explore several critical aspects of corporate water stewardship, all of which are priority workstreams of the UN Global Compact's CEO Water Mandate: water and collective action; water and human rights; and corporate water disclosure. In addition, this track will feature a special session on Ecosystems and Biodiversity, presenting a new framework for strategies and action by companies in this area.
For food security and sustainable agriculture to become a global reality, the private sector must be part of the solution. Through innovation and technological capacities, business has a key role to play in bringing about change. Companies can make a significant contribution to food security and sustainable agriculture if they embrace corporate sustainability and are provided with the right incentives and enabling environments. The Forum will offer a platform for all stakeholders to identify and advance innovative solutions to food security and sustainable agriculture. These events will shed light on leading-edge corporate practices and explore further transformative actions that businesses should take, individually and by building partnerships, to help secure sustainable and resilient rural development and food security for all.
Sustainable development is not possible and sustainable businesses cannot flourish where poverty, corruption and inequality reign, and where human rights, including labour rights, women's rights and the rights of future generations are not respected and supported. Through core operations, partnerships and innovative solutions, the private sector can help empower the poor and disadvantaged, create inclusive markets and bring opportunities to the bottom of the pyramid to enhance human capabilities and freedoms.
The Corporate Sustainability Forum will explore the role of the private sector in the social dimension of sustainable development. Relevant sessions will identify the challenges faced by companies, as well as the unique opportunities for business – as the source of responsible investment, job creation, innovation and inclusive growth – to contribute to the development of more peaceful, just and sustainable societies.
The world has experienced an urban shift in recent decades, with more than half of the global population now living in cities – a trend directly connected to sustainability challenges, including intensifying resource impacts and environmental damage, income disparity between urban and rural populations, and escalating movements of people. At the same time, cities have the potential to make enormous strides in creating societies where economic, ecological, political and cultural issues are integrated and advanced. As the focus of population, business activity, economic wealth, government, academia, infrastructure and civil society, cities represent an extraordinary array of human, material and financial resources that can be harnessed for positive and sustainable urban outcomes.
Co-hosted by UNEP, the UN-Backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), UNCTAD and the Global Compact, this track will showcase how Sustainable Finance and Responsible Investment can contribute to a more efficient allocation of capital towards sustainable development and better achieve longer-term investment goals.
Sessions will explore new environmental and social financial products (e.g., sustainable insurance, impact investing), market infrastructures (sustainable stock exchanges), and policy needs related to incentives (price on carbon, renewable energy) and measuring progress on both macroeconomic and micro economic levels (Green Economy indicators, Integrated Reporting).
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