New Program to Accelerate Business Action on the Sustainable Development Goals Starts with 600 Companies in 65 Countries

Press Release

UNITED NATIONS, New York — A new program focused on accelerating business performance on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) starts this week, engaging more than 600 companies in 65 countries with a combined annual revenue of US$1 trillion.

  • United Nations Global Compact SDG Ambition Accelerator will drive business engagement on SDGs in companies with support of Accenture, SAP and 3M.

First announced last year by UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the World Economic Forum in Davos, SDG Ambition Accelerator is an initiative that challenges and supports participating companies of the UN Global Compact in setting ambitious corporate sustainability targets and accelerating the integration of the SDGs into core business management.

The SDG Ambition Accelerator Program is a six-month learning journey for corporate executives being delivered through UN Global Compact Networks based in 30 countries. More than 1,150 representatives from participating companies, employing 7.9 million people, will join to assess current performance, risk areas and new opportunities across their business. This will help companies take more ambitious business actions toward achieving the SDGs by 2030.  Outcomes from the first round of the Accelerator will be presented at the annual UN Global Compact Leaders Summit on June 15–16, 2021.

The SDG Ambition Accelerator challenges and supports companies to:

  • Strategically prioritize sustainability issues where they can have the greatest impact through their operations, products and services, and across the value chain
  • Set ambitious goals and identify critical pathways to achieve them
  • Integrate SDG-related business goals and outcomes into core business management processes
  • Design technology systems to track progress on the goals across business units or functions

Sanda Ojiambo, CEO and Executive Director of UN Global Compact, said: “By engaging hundreds of companies of all sizes and sectors from around the world, the UN Global Compact SDG Ambition Accelerator is working to mobilize a truly global movement of responsible enterprises to accelerate progress toward embedding sustainability into core business strategies and operations—not only for the benefit of society but for their own benefit as well.”

Research from Accenture Strategy and the UN Global Compact shows that despite private sector progress on the SDGs, only 21% of CEOs felt that business was playing a critical role in contributing toward the SDGs. Similarly, according to the UN Global Compact’s annual Progress Report, only 39% of companies believed they had targets ambitious enough to fully meet the SDGs.

Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture, said: “As we face the urgent challenges of rebuilding the global economy and tackling climate change, this is the moment for every business to take bold action and become a sustainable business with their customers and across their enterprises and supply chains. The SDG Ambition Accelerator will help companies embed sustainability into their core at greater speed and scale to make meaningful, measurable progress toward achieving the SDGs.”

Christian Klein, CEO of SAP, said: “In the future, profitability and sustainability will go hand in hand, with the latter becoming a dimension of corporate decision-making just like cost or growth. By combining our areas of expertise, we help businesses around the world to establish the foundational infrastructure they need to measure and actively steer their progress toward achieving the SDGs.”

Michael Roman, Chairman and CEO of 3M, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply impacted all of our lives and underscored the critical role that science and the business community have in solving global challenges. 3M is pleased to partner with the United Nations and other leading organizations to build a collaborative approach to improving lives around the world. We hope the SDG Ambition Accelerator will inspire other companies to join us in working to make this a Decade of Action.”

More information on the SDG Ambition Accelerator can be found here.

Notes to Editors:

About the United Nations Global Compact

As a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General, the United Nations Global Compact is a call to companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with Ten Principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Our ambition is to accelerate and scale the global collective impact of business by upholding the Ten Principles and delivering the Sustainable Development Goals through accountable companies and ecosystems that enable change. With more than 12,000 companies and 3,000 non-business signatories based in over 160 countries, and 69 Local Networks, the UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative — one Global Compact uniting business for a better world.

For more information, follow @globalcompact on social media and visit our website at unglobalcompact.org.

About Accenture

Accenture is a global professional services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud and security. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries, we offer Strategy and Consulting, Interactive, Technology and Operations services — all powered by the world’s largest network of Advanced Technology and Intelligent Operations centers. Our 514,000 people deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity every day, serving clients in more than 120 countries. We embrace the power of change to create value and shared success for our clients, people, shareholders, partners and communities. Visit us at www.accenture.com.

About SAP

As a market leader in enterprise application software, SAP helps companies of all sizes and in all industries run at their best. Our machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT) and advanced analytics technologies turn businesses into intelligent enterprises and SAP applications and services enable business and public customers across 25 industries globally to operate profitably and adapt continuously. With a global network of customers, partners, employees and thought leaders, SAP helps the world run better and improve people’s lives. For more information, visit www.sap.com.

About 3M

At 3M, we apply science in collaborative ways to improve lives daily as our employees connect with customers all around the world. Learn more about 3M’s creative solutions to global challenges at www.3M.com or on Twitter @3M or @3MNews.

Alex Gee, UN Global Compact, ex@mackworthassociates.com, media@unglobalcompact.org
Julie Bennink, Accenture, +1 (312) 693-7301, julie.l.bennink@accenture.com
Susan Miller, SAP, +1 (610) 661-9225, susan.miller@sap.com
Lauren Cox, 3M, +1 (612) 403-7112, lcox@mmm.com