The Global Compact Network Spain held its General Assembly in an event that was well represented by its participants. A meeting that focused especially on the involvement of the Spanish business community in the challenges posed by Agenda 2030. Also, during the meeting, the initiatives developed by this entity in the last year were reviewed, the 2017 annual accounts were presented and the action plan for 2018 was detailed.
Ángel Pes, president of the Network, expressed his gratitude in his opening speech for the commitment of all the large companies, SMEs and non-business entities that form part of the Network. "We are united by the firm belief that sustainable development is the only way forward, something of which we are very proud," he explained, before turning to Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director of UN Global Compact, who chaired the meeting.
In her speech, Kingo acknowledged the "incredible work" that the Spanish Network is carrying out, as "it is a model of inspiration for the other local networks and contributes decisively to achieving the objective to the iniciative.” She also highlighted the role that the Network is playing, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain, in the preparation of the voluntary evaluation for Spain in the High Level Political Forum (ECOSOC), to be held in July in New York.
On this path to sustainable development, the 17 SDGs are the backbone of this transition. "They are broken down into 169 specific targets, which allows us to keep track of our level of progress at all times. In addition, he reminded us of the areas where we need to make a strong impact: climate change (SDGs 13) and inequalities (SDGs 10). "The Paris Summit in 2015 was an important milestone in the transition to a low-carbon economy. We cannot forget that spirit," She said. Regarding the second challenge, it has only been necessary to recall a few figures to show the need for change: 1% of the population concentrates the same wealth as the remaining 99%, the gender equality gap at the global level will take 100 years to close, and the number of CEO positions held by women has fallen by 25%.
On the other hand, Kingo has highlighted the value of the projection that the SDGs offer for any company. "They help us identify risks and opportunities. What’s more, they help us turn risks into business opportunities. For example, closing the gender gap would mean an increase of $28 trillion in global GDP; its cross-cutting application would generate $12 trillion for the energy, urban, food and agriculture and health and welfare industries, as well as millions of new jobs (72 in India, 24 in Latin America and the Caribbean and 85 in Africa). For this reason, 75% of the companies adhered to the Global Compact carry out actions in SDGs, and Ceo is personally involved in 69% of the cases. At this point, Kingo has pointed to another fundamental tool to achieve these goals: innovation applied to new business models.
Another point that Kingo has highlighted is the importance of the platforms that the United Nations is promoting to bring companies together around specific challenges. In this regard, a new one was launched last week to raise awareness of the threats to the oceans posed mainly by the effects of climate change and human action on them. "It is estimated that 20% of the coral reef has died, and by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in our seas," he recalled. However, the SDG 14 – which is precisely the one relating to underwater life – is the least worked on both the international scene and in Spain. For this reason, he called for action and insisted on the need for all the industries operating in this ecosystem – fishing, aquaculture, oil&gas… – to be involved in solving these problems.
Finally, Kingo sent a message on the power that each individual has to be an active part of this change and recalled that, although three years have passed since the adoption of Agenda 2030, "there are still more than 4,000 days to make it a reality".