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Ban tasks world’s business leaders on sustainable development

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on business leaders to collaborate with the UN to promote sustainable development worldwide.

The PANA Correspondent in New York reported that Ban made the call on Friday at a meeting of thousands of corporate executives attending the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit at the UN headquarters.

He stressed the need for all actors to work together to pursue a sustainable path that linked economic growth, social justice and environmental stewardship.

“My appeal to you is to act for the common good and to get others to join you. This is the morally correct thing to do. And it is the smart choice, too,” he said.

“The sustainable journey that we all need to take is in everybody’s best interest even if it may sometimes demand short-term sacrifice,” the UN chief told the summit, which is expected to endorse a new global architecture for the corporate role in sustainable development in the years following the end in 2015 of the current cycle based on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

He said nobody can benefit from catastrophic climate change or rampant unemployment and the social unrest that came with it.

“Prosperous, stable societies and a healthy planet are the bedrock of political stability, economic growth and flourishing new markets,” Ban added.

He stressed that companies that took their responsibilities to people and the planet seriously would increasingly be in the vanguard.

Ban noted that more than ever, corporate executives saw a direct link between sustainability and the bottom line, and called on business leaders to play a leading role in countering climate change through sustainable energy and job-rich low-carbon growth.

“Great advances towards eradicating poverty and disease point to what can be achieved when we work together. But I want you to go further.

“First, I want you to see what more you can or should be doing in your own operations and in your relationships with trading partners. Second, I want you to act on your commitment by helping to swell the ranks of the Global Compact so we reach a critical mass,” the secretary-general stated.

Ban presented to the summit the Compact’s report on “Building a Business Engagement Architecture for the Post-2015 Agenda”, which seeks to scale up corporate actions to directly advance UN goals.

He urged corporate leaders to work together on an entirely new scale by collaborating and co-investing to share risks and realise opportunities.

He also called for their support for the report, saying: “Today, I ask you to be architects of a better world. What was once a call to the founding members of the United Nations is now a rallying cry to business and civil society leaders everywhere.”

The UN Global Compact, set up in 2000, is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, with the participation of 8,000 companies and 4,000 civil society organisations from 145 countries seeking to link business engagement with global priorities.

The priorities include poverty and disease eradication, climate change mitigation, women’s empowerment, child and labour rights, and fighting corruption

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