I feel very proud and deeply privileged to have had an opportunity to represent Deloitte colleagues at a number of events coinciding with United Nations General Assembly week. It is a historic week for the United Nations, celebrating its 70th Anniversary and announcing the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals point to a significant change at the United Nations. Unlike with the Millennium Development Goals, the United Nations has recognized the importance of the private sector in the global development agenda. It can be seen not only in goal 17, which highlights the significance of partnerships, but also in the amount of side events during the week that included the private sector, such as the Solutions Summit. The discussions during these events sent a clear message – the private sector has a fundamental role to play in achieving the SDGs.
On Monday, 28th September, Deloitte hosted an event in collaboration with the United Nations Foundation, which brought together senior executives and social sector leaders to discuss how companies can incorporate social impact into their business in the context of the SDGs. It was an inspiring and insightful discussion, and I believe, one of many more to come. The private sector is increasingly engaged in delivering social impact, as Deloitte research “Driving corporate growth through social impact” published this week indicates. The research shows that with the changing global landscape, social impact plays an integral role in helping businesses remain competitive and find new growth opportunities. Creating a more just, sustainable, and prosperous future for all is now a business imperative, and the private sector is increasingly working together with governments and civil society on innovative, collaborative solutions to global challenges.
Pope Francis’ address to the General Assembly sent a powerful message about the urgency and importance of addressing societal and environmental issues. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited CEO Punit Renjen joined other business leaders in supporting Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change. This encyclical highlights the increasing importance of addressing environmental and societal challenges created by climate change, and the role business can play by using innovation, scale, and entrepreneurial spirit to contribute to solutions.
Deloitte has a long history of collaborating across sectors to help drive global development efforts. One example is a project recently delivered pro bono with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, focused on strengthening the United Nations’ pipeline of diverse leaders for senior roles in the humanitarian and development sectors.
I believe the celebrations during United Nations General Assembly week marked a truly historic moment towards a better world, but this is just the beginning. The private sector has been actively engaged in the development and the adoption of the sustainable development agenda, and many business leaders see societal impact as integral to their business strategy, in a way I have never seen before. Achieving the SDGs will require continued commitment, focused action, innovation, and collaboration. I look forward to contributing to this journey over the next 15 years of their implementation.
James “Chip” Cottrell is a partner in with Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP. He is a Certified Public Accountant in the U.S. and China and a UK Chartered Accountant as well as Chartered Global Management Accountant. Chip has served as the functional leader of Deloitte’s U.S. Federal practice and currently serves as the Deloitte Global Lead Client Service Partner for the United Nations system as well as a co-chair of a United Nations Global Compact Committee on Anti-Corruption.
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