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UN GCNI Organized the 18th National Convention

UN Global Compact Network India (UN GCNI), a local arm of the United Nations Global Compact based in New York, convened its 18th National Convention in, New Delhi. It was Themed “Advancing Sustainable India: Driving Change with Forward Faster 2030,” the convention aimed to address pressing issues and chart a course towards achieving the mid-point targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Decade of Action. With only 15% of SDGs currently on track for 2030, the event focused on key themes from the United Nations Global Compact’s Forward Faster 2030 initiative, urging businesses to take proactive steps towards effecting change and aspiring to higher ambitions.

The convention’s plenary sessions highlighted corporate efforts in driving climate action and sustainable practices. Discussions on water management underscored its role in achieving all SDGs, especially in water-scarce areas. The session on sustainable finance addressed India’s financial gaps and potential solutions for a green transition. The importance of ensuring a living wage was emphasized as a moral imperative. 

Key Takeaways from the Convention:

  1. Understanding the correlation between bold action on the faster forward themes and corporate value creation.
  2. Exchange of best practices and innovations championed by stakeholders for fast-forwarding actions on global goals.
  3. Enhancing the Target 2030 lens to craft effective solutions for the benefit of all stakeholders.
  4. Launch of White Paper by Accenture focusing on barriers the private sector faces to extend access to sustainable finance and approaches to overcome these barriers. 
  5. Promoting Collective learning & fostering collaborations for Inclusive & Sustainable Development for a more sustainable future for all.

Leaders’ Voices:

In his address, Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, Hon’ble Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs lauded the flourishing India network of UNGC for mobilizing private sector resources, notably advancing human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption agendas, while aligning with broader MDGs and SDGs within the Indian framework. Acknowledging India’s pivotal global role as the most populous nation with the fifth-largest economy and fastest growth rate, he emphasized that India’s trajectory profoundly influences global outcomes. Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, India’s commitment to ‘no one left behind’ ethos through ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, Sabka Prayas’ is evident, shaping crucial decisions for generations. Aligning with international agreements like the Paris Agreement and domestic initiatives such as the Panchamrit Plan and women-led development, India underscores collaboration, cooperation, and collective action as paramount. Despite global challenges, India’s sustainable development approach shines with significant strides in water, sanitation, and resource mobilization, coupled with unwavering dedication to gender equality and social inclusion, surpassing the global average in advancing UN Sustainability Development Goals through grassroots-driven efforts.

In his welcoming remarks, Mr. Arun Kumar Singh, President of UN GCNI & Chairman & CEO of ONGC Group, emphasized ONGC’s firm commitment to promoting a low-carbon future and sustainability, collaborating with energy session partners under the UN GCNI umbrella. He spotlighted ONGC’s ambitious goal of achieving near-zero upstream methane emissions by 2030 as a tangible demonstration of this dedication. Furthermore, he lauded India’s noteworthy commitment to sustainability and its transformative journey. Singh also elaborated on ONGC’s emphasis on developing sustainable products and initiatives..

Ms. Isabelle Tschan, Resident Representative of UNDP India, passionately asserted the significance of SDGs, emphasizing recent collaborations and the role of targeted investments in achieving sustainability goals. Tschan underscored the pivotal role of targeted investments and active private sector engagement in India’s unwavering commitment to ensure no one is left behind in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. She asserted, “The SDGs aren’t just a list of codes; they carry the hopes and dreams of all.” 

Mr. Sundeep Singh, Managing Director of Accenture Strategy and Consulting, Sustainability, stressed the urgent need for action on sustainability, aligning with discussions at the G20 summit. In his discussion on change, he emphasized the critical importance of both the rate and source, particularly in light of the urgent need for rapid change, making the convention’s theme, “Forward Faster 2030,” profoundly resonant. Using a sports analogy, likening matches often decided in the second half, he pointed out that we are now entering the latter half of the 2015-2030 transformation journey. The responsibility lies with us, as a global community, to decide whether we succeed or falter in this pivotal period.

Highlighting the critical importance of accurate sustainability data, Susanna Hasenoehrl, Head of Sustainability SAP Asia Pacific & Japan highlighted that it becomes evident that without it, our environmental progress remains precarious. To achieve genuine breakthroughs, investment in real-world technologies like renewable energy is essential, accompanied by rigorous tracking of sustainability and financial outcomes through verifiable data, not mere estimates. Businesses, both in India and globally, must quantify the carbon footprints of their products or processes precisely and share this data throughout their value chains using technology.

Ratnesh Jha, Executive Director UN-GCNI emphasized the network’s exponential growth and commitment to sustainable development.

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