The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) launched a radical update of its respected Business Charter for Sustainable Development. The third edition of the ICC Charter has been designed to reflect a more holistic approach to sustainability, drawing on the expertise, experience and good practices of a broad range of international companies and business associations across all sectors and industries. Based around eight guidelines, the charter sets out a framework to enable companies to place sustainability at the heart of their operations – from staff recruitment to the development of new products and services.
Speaking at the charter’s launch on the margins of the United Nations Global Compact’s annual meeting, ICC Secretary General John Danilovich said: “Sustainability needs to be understood as a key business driver, rather than a luxury investment or a public relations tool. A growing body of evidence shows that developing a corporate culture of sustainability is a major source of competitive advantage in today’s economy.”
Danilovich added: “Our message with the launch of the charter is that becoming a sustainability leader requires changes in all relevant business practices, but that the effort to do so is most certainly worth it – in environmental, social and economic terms alike.”
The new charter has been carefully designed to provide a common and accessible starting point for companies to develop or enhance their business sustainability strategy. In doing so, ICC aims to better enable small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), particularly in emerging market economies, to integrate sustainability considerations in their operations.
This September will see the finalization of new global sustainable development goals (SDGs), under a process initiated by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon some two years ago. It is widely anticipated that the SDGs will place a significant focus on the private sector to deliver sustainable and inclusive global growth.
The launch of the charter represents ICC’s initial response to this process with the aim of more fully engaging the corporate sector in the implementation of the SDGs.
Danilovich said: “Delivering on the promise of the SDGs will require widespread engagement of companies large and small across the world. The launch of the charter is the start of a concerted push by ICC to ensure that the power and reach of the private sector is fully harnessed in the context of the post-2015 development agenda.”