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Sustainability in Troubled Times – Global Compact International Yearbook 2017

1. September 2017


We live in times of uncertainty and global (dis)order. „Understanding global mega-trends is crucial. We live in times of multiple, evolving and mutually-reinforcing shifts“, says
UN Secretary-General António Guterres. He adds: „These dynamics, of geopolitical, demographic, climatic, technological, social and economic nature, enhance threats and opportunities on an unprecedented scale.“ Therefore sustainability in troubled times is the key topic of the Global Compact International Yearbook 2017, edited by macondo publishing.

In the opening essay, Elmer Lenzen, publisher of the Global Compact International Yearbook, takes a critical look at the relationship between democracy and globalization. For decades this combination was a formula for success. Now both are experiencing troubled times. UN Global Compact founding director Georg Kell and Princeton professor Larry Diamond, who are well- known figures in this field, explain some of the reasons why in a profound interview. One reason is that today’s world is becoming more fragmented. So how can sustainability work in these times?

It can work if we focus on the needs of the present without compromising the abilities of the future, says Global Compact Action Platform fellow Richard Roberts, and by utilizing the advantages of tomorrow. But doing the right thing in critical times is also a question of attitude. The entrepreneur Richard Branson and the actor Colin Firth both show in their own ways that sustainability means authenticity.

Other issues are

Post-Paris Climate Accord: What ́s next?

The Paris Climate Accord was one of the biggest diplomatic breakthroughs of the United Nations in the last years. It stands for the vision of multilateralism and the ability of the global community to set ambitious goals for itself. Therefore, the direction that the new US administration has taken is irritating, mainly because there is no way back – the global momentum must be continued, as CDP head Paul Simpson explains in his introductory review. Many new trends in financing climate change underpin this. The old fossil-fuels industry is losing ground because renewables have become competitive. Companies can substantially benefit from this, as the new Science Based Targets initiative of the Global Compact and others shows.

The Plastic Pledge

Worldwide plastic pollution is overwhelming our planet. Up to 12.7 million metric tons of plastic ends up in the ocean every year – threatening precious ecosystems and endangering human health. But it does not have to be this way. A growing number of companies are pledging to reduce their plastic consumption.

The Sustainable Development Goals in Japan

A critical aspect of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is to leave no one behind. Cooperation between governments and the private sector that goes beyond geographical borders is imperative for achieving this goal. The global mission to propel the world a step closer to achieving the SDGs is one that intermittently intertwines business and individuals from various walks of life. However, it seems Japan and her people are too shy to transmit such efforts to the world. As a leader in technological innovation – a critical driving force in achieving the SDGs – Japan has great potential to also be a leader in bringing the world together to move forward with this collective goal. Introducing pieces by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs of Columbia University, and a joint report by IGES and GCNJ, this yearbook is the first attempt to offer an overview of the key players within Japan and the cross-country collaboration necessary for the country to grow into this role.

Corresponding to the idea of mutual learning, the Global Compact International Yearbook includes 37 good practices of corporate participants that showcase different approaches to the implementation of the Ten Principles of the Global Compact and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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