JOHN W.H. DENTON - International Chamber of Commerce
SOLANGE RIBEIRO - UN Global Compact Board
In recent years, converging crises, including conflict, climate change, COVID-19, economic uncertainty, increasing inequality and political instability, have caused unprecedented disruption and global transformation. Now the world is at another critical juncture, with the war in Ukraine unfolding with devastating consequences not only within Ukraine and the region but around the world.
Humanitarian needs are multiplying and spreading by the hour. Globally, there is a mounting crisis, including detrimental consequences on food security for many countries. The war also shows how the global addiction to fossil fuels is placing energy security, climate action and the entire global economy at the mercy of geopolitics. In response, UN Secretary-General António Guterres recently announced a Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance.
There are profound implications for business, not least of which is making difficult and immediate choices around working in the context of this war. This includes paying heightened attention to the Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact — comprising human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption — which form the bedrock of peaceful societies and the conditions for resilient and sustainable business.
There is also increasing global attention being paid to how businesses are responding publicly to this geopolitical crisis. As the lines between politics and economics become increasingly blurred, the question is no longer if responsible businesses should engage, but how they should do so. Businesses have a crucial role to play in reimagining the social contract and reinforcing public trust through their own operations and by partnering with the UN, Governments and civil society towards peace, justice and strong institutions. This cannot be achieved without greater accountability, integrity and transparency; greater protection of fundamental freedoms; and greater respect for the rule of law.
This discussion will focus on business leadership in addressing the complex, inter-connected challenges that lie at the nexus of humanitarian, development and peace efforts. Speakers will discuss the unique challenges that businesses confront in the face of these converging global crises.