Executive summary - Part III


Tremendous progress has been made over the last 15 years. But the world needs to move much further, much faster to have any hope of achieving the Global Compact’s vision. Sustainable business practices must evolve rapidly. Continuing the change that has been started is not enough. It is time to accelerate and scale up.

In this section we explore 15 of the trends that will shape the global business landscape over the next 15 years; measures which must be incorporated into longer-term business strategy. Subsequently, we outline three pathways of transformation:


  1. Sustainability is the ‘business of business’
  2. Break down barriers, energise positive drivers
  3. New thinking for a new reality

The Global Compact needs to continue its work so that sustainability becomes the ‘business of business’. More companies across the world need to engage with the Global Compact, rethink their corporate purpose, and recalibrate their goals. It is particularly important to recruit high-impact, multinational companies into the initiative.

Public policy needs to gear up to enable more consistent sustainable practices and to deliver sustainability outcomes. Too often contradictions exist where companies have progressive corporate sustainability programs, but lobby for outcomes which conflict with their own sustainability commitments.

Collaboration between business, regulators, investors, academia and civil society organisations will be essential as work towards a common vision. Now, with the UN expected to launch a ground-breaking set of global sustainable development goals in 2015, business will have a newly relevant framework to guide their efforts towards society, and is expected to play an important role, working together with other stakeholders, in achieving these goals for our world.

To ensure that positive change in a complex environment can be duly encouraged,
Global Compact participants will need to work wisely. They should prioritise efforts on critical sustainability issues and identify where the biggest regulatory gaps lie. The Global Compact Local Networks will be critical in driving this action on the ground.

The ultimate goal is to inspire new ways of thinking and generate transformative  action. There must be a fundamental shift in the way we think about growth and prosperity. We expect to see more focus on sustainability as the next generation of business leaders comes to the fore. The new vanguard is not just concerned with profitable business: they want to leave a profitable and sustainable legacy.

The Global Compact must inspire the next generation of leaders to step up, just as the first signatories did 15 years ago. It is critical to bring on board those who have the power and influence to set the agenda. The only way to get transformative change is if enough people have the courage to step up, take a risk, show leadership and make a difference.