Brands for Impact Summit: Resources to Extend the Conversation

The FCS and the United Nations Foundation’s Business Council for the UN co-hosted a special summit at Apella on March 22, featuring marketing, communications, and sustainability experts to explore how corporations are embracing the Global Goals through their brands and businesses.

PHOTO GALLERY (Password FCS 2017)

Increasing acceptance of sustainable business practices as the new norm is driving an exciting era of innovations in investment and social impact. From creating economic growth through good jobs and smart cities, the role of business — especially in the financial sector — will be crucial in addressing the greatest challenges and opportunities of our time.
The United Nations has a 17-point strategic plan that was adopted by world leaders at the UN last year. The Sustainable Development Goals are a global to-do list to end extreme poverty, protect the health of the planet, and create a future where every person lives with opportunity and dignity by 2030.
From re-aligning their corporate social responsibility priorities, redirecting capital flows, and publicly reporting on sustainable investment practices, global businesses are demonstrating their commitment to a better future and reaping early benefits of high-integrity branding from their consumers, investors, employees and the marketplace.

Keynote speaker Seth Eisen, Senior Vice President of External Communications at Mastercard, stressed that a culture of inclusion is the cornerstone of a successful business and that diversity in the workplace brings different perspectives which can lead to greater innovation and better problem-solving practices. He and his team consistently ask “what are we doing about it” and “how do we know if it is working.” They constantly adjust their approach as needed.
Jason Ghassemi of Guggenheim Partners, Kate Maloney of KPMG LLC and Patsy Doerr of Thomson Reuters formed a panel discussion focused on Corporate Social Responsibility and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.  Each panelist shared stories about their firms’ efforts in building a focus on diversity, inclusion, and a more widespread adoption of strict environmental and social governance and encouraged global companies to enhance their support of these initiatives.
The second keynote speaker Jyoti Chopra, Managing Director and Head of Global Citizenship and Sustainability of BNY Mellon discussed her firm’s commitment to gender equality and highlighted its recent “Return on Equality” paper. She issued a call to the financial community to get engaged, whether in mobilizing investments toward the SDGs, look in-house at what they can do or take on thought leadership to help guide the financial sector. Ms. Chopra also advocated to improve the health and safety of women throughout the world and to support equality, and investing in woman-owned business.
The final panel discussion featuring Hui Wen Chan of Citi Foundation, Marisa Buchanan of J.P. Morgan and Scott Mather of PIMCO centered on their firms’ commitment to sustainability. Each panelist shared their company’s perspective on environmental and social governance and responsibility. They all support taking proactive steps to “make the world a better place,” whether it is environmentally or socially.

To continue the conversation within your own organizations and amongst your networks on the importance of business in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals, please find a list of resources from our speakers and other organizations below.  If you find these valuable and would like to collaborate more closely with us, please consider joining the Business Council for the UN (click here for more information).  

  • The Business and Sustainable Development Commission Report, which makes the business case for the SDGs — with findings that show that adopting sustainable business practices in just four key sectors could create up to $12 trillion in economic growth and 380 million jobs by 2030.  
  • A short paper by the Business and Sustainable Development Commission titled Ideas for Action for a Long-Term and Sustainable Financial System, which discusses the financing needed to achieve the SDGs and role the private sector can and should play.  
  • The Return on Equality Report, co-authored by BNY Mellon and the UN Foundation on the substantial and unrealized social and market benefits of investing in companies that create products and services for women and girls.
  • Thomson Reuters Diversity and Inclusion Index, which is designed to transparently and objectively measure the relative performance of companies against factors that define diverse and inclusive workplaces. (Download.)
  • KPMG LLP’s SDG Industry Matrix: Financial Services, which is part of a series of reports created to showcase industry-specific examples and ideas for corporate action related to the SDGs. There are several industry areas that KPMG LLP has created a matrix on; download the document is specific to the financial services industry.
  • Edelman Trust Barometer an annual global study which track the public’s trust in 4 key institutions, business, government, NGOs and the media.
  • A resource guide for companies on the SDGs, created by BCUN, which includes reports, examples of companies aligning with the SDGs and other helpful tools.
  • A guide UNF put together with a 10-point Action plan for executives support the SDGs and SDG implementation (which is a little dated, but relevant).
  • A BCUN one pager to provide a little more information on our Council and the way we work with our corporate members.
  • Global Daily, an aggregator of news and resources about the SDGs from around the world.