News & Views

Webinar release: Keeping up with the SDGs

On Thursday 3 October 2019, the Global Compact Network Australia (GCNA) convened a webinar to provide Australian stakeholders with the opportunity to hear updates from the recent United Nations General Assembly week.

Attendees heard from David Cooke, Managing Director of Konica Minolta and Chair of GCNA, Corinne Schoch, Senior Advisor at the GCNA, and Andrew Petersen, CEO of the Business Council for Sustainable Development Australia (BCSDA). The discussion was facilitated by Kylie Porter, Executive Director of the GCNA.

There were several key takeaways from the webinar.

  • David Cooke shared the general sentiment and emotions of the week in New York including:
    • The momentum generated by the week across hundreds of events.
    • Highlights from Paul Polman’s (Vice-Chair of the UN Global Compact, Co-founder and Chair of IMAGINE, Chair of the International Chamber of Commerce, The B Team and Oxford Said Business School) speech. Paul highlighted the fundamental question: ‘do we really care?’ Leaders around the world are essentially asleep at the wheel and it’s the speed at which we need to change that we must now discuss.
    • If we continue to operate under business as usual, we will not meet the 2030 Agenda.
    • Everyone has a role to play: people that have deep subject matter expertise should be speaking to their executive team because CEOs don’t have all the answers and knowledge at hand. Businesses need this collaborative effort and support in order to effectively address large societal challenges.

The in-conversation discussion between Corinne Schoch and Andrew Petersen raised a number of key points including:

  • We need ambition loops – positive feedback loops in which bold government policies coupled with private sector leadership work together to tackle these global issues.
  • There is a huge need for increased regulation in order to decarbonise our economies, and rapid action to achieve this will be greatly facilitated by mechanisms such as a carbon tax.
  • The semantics debate is inutile and impedes meaningful progress – we need to stop discussing actions and just get on with them.
  • Businesses have a role to play in stepping up to the challenge of achieving the 2030 Agenda, as well as limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. CEOs need to have the courage to stand up and speak authentically about what needs to happen.
  • Many of the solutions are already available; we need to stop waiting for the ‘perfect’ environment to take action – the time to act is now.
  • 2020 will be a critical year for governments as they put forward and set their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). This will ultimately demonstrate whether – as a global collective – we are able to meet the 1.5 degree target or far exceed that threshold.
  • These forums are great for driving global momentum – our responsibility is now to operationalise this momentum in our respective countries and sectors.

The slide deck from the webinar can be found here.

A recording of the webinar can be viewed here.

The GCNA warmly thanks David Cooke and Andrew Petersen for their participation in the webinar.