Press Release

Message to the Responsible Business Forum delegates from the UN secretary-general

Responsible Business | Nov 22, 2017


Dear all,

The United Nations is strongly committed to working with the business community.

We cannot succeed without inspired business leaders helping to shape an inclusive, sustainable economy. We need to deepen our partnership and act decisively together to create an enabling environment at the global level for economic and financial decision-making, from which all countries can benefit and in which all have a say.

There are many examples of businesses working with the UN, from health to disaster relief, from education to telecommunications standards. The reform efforts I have set in motion since taking office also aim to strengthen our engagement with business, including through the UN Global Compact — the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative.

Smart companies understand that taking a principle-based approach to business is not only the right thing to do, it is also in their own self-interest. A world of opportunity awaits, and businesses that embrace sustainability will be the market leaders of tomorrow.

For example, climate action can be the path to innovation, new markets, new jobs, better health and greater stability. 

Businesses cannot survive amidst degraded environmental conditions, climate-related catastrophes, growing inequality and popular discontent.

This region is famed for its beautiful beaches and coastlines. But sadly, many of these areas of natural beauty are under threat from pollution. Our poorly-regulated exploitation of the ocean is reducing biodiversity and destroying the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on the sea for their income.

The private and financial sectors have a vital role to play in turning the tide. Business is the agent of change that can spur innovation, unleash low-carbon investments, and power sustainable growth across the planet.

I encourage all members of the Responsible Business Forum to play a full part. I call on you to deliberate on challenges and opportunities, to build partnerships to work collectively, and to come up with innovative solutions.

Corporate responsibility and sustainability are not only forces for good, but also good for business. 

I thank you for your commitment to our future, and wish you a productive and inspiring event.

António Guterres
Secretary-General of the United Nations


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