UN corporate sustainability initiative launches new strategy to increase engagement in China

Photo: The United Nations flag/ CFP

UNITED NATIONS, June 1 (Xinhua) -- UN Global Compact, a corporate sustainability initiative, launched a new strategy to scale the impact of businesses in China to drive progress toward meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The SDGs "cannot be achieved without China and the engagement of Chinese companies," said Sanda Ojiambo, assistant secretary-general and CEO of the UN Global Compact, during the strategy's launch on Wednesday at a two-day Leaders Summit held online.

According to the initiative, China is home to the largest number of Fortune 500 companies and more than 44 million small and medium-sized enterprises.

"As the fastest-growing market for the UN Global Compact in the Asia Pacific region, we have seen a rapidly growing number of companies from China stepping up to address regional and global challenges," Ojiambo noted.

"We know that China's development path is closely linked with other countries. With this strategy we have committed to maximizing our impact in China through long-term investment and constructive collaboration with the private sector and key stakeholders," she added.

Siddharth Chatterjee, UN development system resident coordinator in China, called the country "a critical market for growth, innovation, and the impact of the UN Global Compact."

Given China's "spectacular efforts" to eliminate absolute poverty within its borders over the past decades, "we must consider its unique context when developing new strategies and partnerships towards the achievement of the SDGs in China and redouble our efforts for more South-South cooperation as well as North-South knowledge sharing and partnerships," Chatterjee said.

"China stands ready to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with the UN Global Compact," said Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations.

"We look forward to enhanced ambition and actions by its members for the 2030 Agenda," he said, adding, "Let's jointly take actions to make greater contributions to global recovery and sustainable development."

Launched in 2000 under former UN chief Kofi Annan, UN Global Compact supports the global business community in advancing UN goals and values through responsible corporate practices.

With more than 15,000 companies and 3,000 non-business signatories based in over 160 countries and regions and 69 local networks, it is the largest corporate sustainability initiative globally, according to the initiative's website.