Sustainable Development Impact Summit Triggers Major New Announcements on Global Goals and Climate Action

20 Sep 2017

Fon Mathuros, Head of Media, Public Engagement, World Economic Forum, Tel.: +41 (0)79 201 0211;

· On 18-19 September 2017 in New York City, the World Economic Forum held the inaugural Sustainable Development Impact Summit during United Nations General Assembly week

· The Impact Summit is a platform designed to help business, government and civil society to deepen public-private cooperation and harness the potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to accelerate progress on meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

· Over 700 leaders took part from government, business, international organizations, research centres and not-for profits, from over 70 countries representing over 60 major programmes and public-private initiatives for action on the Sustainable Development Goals.

· Summit discussions involved nine heads of state and government and over 70 senior government leaders, public figures and heads of international organizations; 40% of participants were from the global business community; and over 250 women leaders engaged in the discussions.

· There was strong representation from young people, with over 80 participants from around the world drawn from the Forum’s Global Shapers and Young Global Leaders programmes.

Several major new initiatives that will advance public-private cooperation on the global goals were announced or launched, including:

· Global Battery Alliance to clean up global battery supply chains

· A new 5-6 billion Danish Kroner SDG Investment Fund by the Government of Denmark to help meet the global goals.

· South Africa launches a national task force to close the skills gap.

· Fourth Industrial Revolution for the Earth, a public-private initiative to identify, fund and scale new ventures that harness technologies for the environment.

· Fourth-Sector Development Initiative to grow the ecosystem of “for-benefit” enterprises

· Panama joins Chile and Argentina in Closing the Workforce Gender Gap

· Disaster Risk Innovation Fund by the GSMA and UK Department for International Development (DFID) to test and scale innovations using mobile technologies to help people in humanitarian emergencies

Also at the inaugural Sustainable Development Impact Summit:

· the Prime Minister of Sweden expanded an initiative to engage business into a Global Deal to reduce inequality, promote decent work and inclusive growth

· the Government of France announced a major meeting on climate action in Paris in December 2017

· State Governor Brown of California invited Chief Executive Officers and innovators to join a global summit on climate action he is hosting in San Francisco in September 2018

· Forum Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab welcomed these and many more initiatives that were launched at the Summit.

· Continue the conversation using #wefimpact and for more information, visit

New York City, USA, 20 September 2017 – The World Economic Forum held its inaugural Sustainable Development Impact Summit, positioned as a platform to help advance public-private cooperation – and harness the potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement on climate change.

World Economic Forum Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab welcomed the initiatives that were launched at the Summit and stressed that “systems leadership” is necessary to ensure such actions are seen as interconnected, and integrated, across all of the global goals.

“What is needed is a true agenda for global public-private cooperation, with the objective not to defend individual interests, but to keep the destiny of humankind as a whole in mind,” he said.

Stefan Löfven, Prime Minister of Sweden, Co-Chair of the Summit said: “There is no time to waste on this journey. Goals matter. If we are to succeed, we also need business, academia, civil society and trade unions. There will be no progress without public-private cooperation. This is a business case.”

“If we don’t make partnerships part of our work for every global goal, we won’t achieve any of them. The world is more interconnected, and partnerships are growing in response. But we are still far from seeing the partnerships needed to implement the 2030 goals,” said Miroslav Lajcák, Foreign Minister of Slovakia and President of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly.

“The World Economic Forum Sustainable Development Impact Summit provides an important platform to accelerate business engagement with government and civil society to advance public-private cooperation on the SDGs. The world’s greatest challenges can only be solved through collaboration and business engagement – this is key. For business, it is not just a moral obligation, but also an economic opportunity,” said Feike Sybesma, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Managing Board, Royal DSM, Netherlands and Co-Chair of the Summit.

“There is a need to bring together strong institutions and robust scientific research and data, bolster accountability and promote inclusion, particularly through the greater involvement of women, to make better policy decisions,” said Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President of the Republic of Mauritius and Co-Chair of the Summit.

“There is incredible tension between the dramatic innovation that is occurring and the issue of equality. The technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution offer the opportunity to drive progress to the SDGs,” said Marc R. Benioff, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Salesforce, USA, and Co-Chair of the Summit.

“When you look at investment there are two groups. For one group, when you say “sustainability”, their eyes glaze over. For the other – the ones who know there will be returns – that group is having a problem. Data is scattered and it is very difficult to find the data. That is why one of the initiatives that we are starting is to create a marketplace for sustainability and impact,” said Afsaneh Mashayekhi Beschloss, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, The Rock Creek Group, USA, and Co-Chair of the Summit.

“You can see skills being transferred from Africa to the West. The West can be so behind. Why should we not use [working to achieve] the SDGs as a way to break down barriers?” said Marianne Eve Jamme, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, SpotOne Global Solutions, United Kingdom; Young Global Leader and Co-Chair of the Summit.

“The Global Deal, the SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement are all one and the same, and people need to be at the centre of the dialogue to actualize justice; and to do it without fear, they need equal access,” said Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.

“These partnerships are the real keys to putting in place the solutions that we need. We have the tools. We have the ability. We are winning this but we have to win it more quickly and we will do so with the private-public cooperation that the World Economic Forum is facilitating,” said Al Gore, Vice-President of the United States (1993-2001); Chairman and Co-Founder, Generation Investment Management, USA.

“All of the 17 SDGs are related. It is time to put all these elements together and look at the whole value chain,” said Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer, Unilever, United Kingdom.

“The platform of the Impact Summit has created a fertile environment for all the connections to be made,” said Richard Samans, Member of the Managing Board, World Economic Forum.

The summit advanced the following areas of impact:

· A Global Battery Alliance was launched that will safeguard workers, ban child labour, eradicate pollution, promote re-use and recycling and unlock innovation for green energy storage. It is the first initiative to bring together players along this entire value chain of batteries that drive the Fourth Industrial Revolution, in a market set to be worth $100 billion by 2025. Businesses and organizations supporting the alliance are: BASF, Enel, the Eurasian Resources Group, Johnson Controls, NEC Corporation, Royal DSM, Trafigura Group, Umicore, Veolia, Volkswagen, White & Case, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the African Development Bank, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the China Chamber of Commerce of Metals Minerals & Chemicals Importers and Exporters (CCCMC) and civil society organizations International Justice Mission, Pact and the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights.

· A new 5-6 billion Danish Kroner ($886 million) Sustainable Development Goal Investment Fund launched by the Government of Denmark. Modelled on the successful “Investment Fund for Developing Countries” the fund will invest in equity such as instruments in developing countries to help advance infrastructure for the global goals, and if successful, it may then expand to loans.

· A national task force to close the skills gap in South Africa, led by Jeff Radebe, Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, South Africa, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum. The country ranks 87th out of 130 countries for human capital optimization, according to the Global Human Capital Index 2017. By 2020, 39% of core skills required across all jobs will be wholly different, while 41% of jobs in South Africa are susceptible to automation. In addition to country-level Task Forces, of which South Africa is the first, the World Economic Forum’s Closing the Skills Gap project is also developing a Global Alliance to Close the Skills Gap, a global platform for leaders and experts to build consensus, share ideas and strategically guide programmatic action.

· The Fourth Industrial Revolution for the Earth Initiative will identify structure, fund and scale a suite of new ventures that harness technologies to tackle environmental issues. Based at the World Economic Forum Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in San Francisco and with Stanford University Woods Institute and PwC as partners, the launch of the initiative engaged over 40 leading technology entrepreneurs, environmental experts, policy-makers and industry leaders to co-design and scale innovative new ventures, partnerships and finance and policy instruments that harness Fourth Industrial Revolution innovations. Initial ideas include “Freshwater Watch” to model data on water and identify water risks; and the development of an “Urban Dashboard” to develop an accurate understanding and real-time management of the integrated system of city-wide energy use.

· The Fourth-Sector Development Initiative (FSDI) - a platform for collective leadership and action for strengthening the supportive ecosystem and generating the necessary growth of for-benefit firms globally. For the world to reach the Sustainable Development Goals, a surge of “for-benefit” enterprises that combine profits with purpose will be needed. The FSDI will, among other things, raise awareness of the fourth sector, develop more enabling policy and regulatory environments and promote new business and investment models that are aligned with for-benefit enterprises. Organizations that have already joined the FSDI collaboration and have launched related initiatives include Ibero-American General Secretariat, Oxfam and CARE Enterprises.

· A national task force to close the gender gap in Panama following earlier launches by Chile and Argentina, led by Isabel Saint Malo de Alvarado, Vice-President of Panama and Minister of Foreign Affairs. The country ranks 105th out of 144 countries on the labour force participation gender gap, according to the Global Gender Gap Index 2016, although more women than men attend university in Panama. This is the third Task Force in Latin America, resulting from a collaboration between the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and following earlier launches by Chile and Argentina that now include over 100 employers and cross-ministerial leaders focused on closing labour force participation gaps, wage gaps, leadership gaps and changing stereotypes. In addition to country-level Task Forces, the World Economic Forum’s Closing the Gender Gap project is also developing a Global Alliance to Close the Gender Gap, a global platform for leaders and experts to build consensus, share ideas and strategically guide programmatic action.

· The GSMA Disaster Response Innovation Fund supported by the UK Department for International Development announced it will test and scale innovations that use mobile technology to help and empower people or communities affected by humanitarian emergencies, or to strengthen prevention, preparedness and response in disaster contexts. The Fund will sit within the GSMA’s Big Data for Social Good initiative focused on leveraging mobile operators’ big data capabilities to address humanitarian crises, including epidemics and natural disasters. The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with more than 300 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors.

· Driving business support for the Global Deal to reduce inequality and promote decent work and inclusive growth. Launched in 2016, the Global Deal is a multistakeholder partnership to address the challenges in the global labour market and enable all people to benefit from globalization. Speaking at the Summit, Stefan Löfven, Prime Minister of Sweden, said that it is successfully contributing to the SDGs. “We are seeing a reduction in poverty, have a growing middle class and more children are going to school – this is progress.”

Other initiatives announced or advanced at the Impact Summit included:

· a proposed financial vehicle from Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education, to double the $12 billion per annum available in aid related to education in low-income countries

· a commitment to implement the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure by a group of leading global companies within three years, including Aviva, Royal DSM, Enagas, Ferrovial, Iberdrola, Marks and Spencer, Philips Lighting, Sopra Steria Group, Wipro and WPP, supported by the Climate Disclosure Standards Board and We Mean Business

· the Food and Land-Use Coalition, a major new initiative to help transform the global food system, supported by the Government of Norway and including the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Eat Forum, ISDN and WRI among others

· a proposal for a new public-private action agenda to support the Oceans SDG, to help harness the 1,400 commitments of the June 2017 UN Oceans SDG conference in response to a call for more multistakeholder collaboration on oceans from the Government of Sweden (the co-chair of the Oceans global goal) and the newly appointed UN Special Envoy for Oceans.

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