In 2012, the international community reiterated the appeal for sustainable development in the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, (Rio+20), and further, albeit from a different perspective, at the Doha Conference on Climate Change. As the 2015 deadline for the fulfilment of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) draws near, the United Nations Development Group (UNDG), with support from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, has begun to address goals and issues in a post-2015 development framework, which is currently being built at the UN in an inclusive process bringing to the table the views of governments, civil society, private sector, academia and research institutions.
For the implementation of the post-2015 development framework, active engagement of the private sector will be crucial. Companies around the world have already placed sustainability at the top of their agendas, realizing the growing significance and urgency of global environmental, social and economic challenges. Using science and technology to stimulate innovation and investment for green growth, the private sector is contributing substantially to sustainable development. The post-2015 development framework provides an opportunity for companies of all sizes to expand their engagement in fostering sustainable development.
Strategies for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) are critical tools for corporations wanting to adopt a sustainability approach. Strong CSR strategies can not only contribute to achieving sustainable development at local and regional level, but also create a range of important benefits for companies, such as:
- Significant enhancement of corporate brand image and reputation management
- Build and strengthen existing sustainability practices
- Better anticipation and management of an ever-expanding spectrum of risk
- Enhanced operational efficiencies and cost savings
- Improved competitiveness and market positioning
- Improved relations with regulators
- Better engagement of local multi-stakeholders (NGOs, CBOs, local policy makers, and foreign workers)
Understanding this dynamic is also critical to successful CSR advocacy for NGOs, companies and other relevant stakeholders.
The seminar aims to promote the implementation of sustainable development by combining international policies with private sector engagement. To this end, it will provide participants with the background knowledge and practical skills to design and effectively advocate individually tailored CSR strategies based on the key fields for action being discussed under the post-2015 development framework.
The seminar will include a Training of Trainers approach so that participants will benefit from a multiplier effect in their organizations.
By the end of this seminar, participants will be able to:
- Discuss key issues at stake in advance of the post-2015 development framework
- Identify opportunities for private sector engagement in promoting sustainable development
- Understand the concept and benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility
- Develop a tailored CSR approach, including assessment, strategy formulation, implementation and reporting
- Appreciate the trends in corporate social responsibility and the implications for private sector engagement
- Recognize the role of NGOs in facilitating CSR when partnering with corporations
- Advocate corporations in developing and implementing CSR strategies based on the post-2015 development framework
The workshop will feature a combined theoretical and practical approach in four sessions, including expert presentations and discussions as well as practical skills-building exercises.
Session 1: Expert Panel Discussion “Promoting Sustainable Development through Private Sector Engagement in the Post-2015 Era”
• Key issues at stake in the post-2015 process
• Sustainable Development Goals
• The role of the private sector in promoting sustainable development
Session 2: Expert Presentation: “The Concept of Corporate Social Responsibility”
• Three dimensions of CSR and links to sustainable development
• The business case of CSR
• CSR as integrated element of business goals and mission
• Key elements of CSR strategies: goals, policies, monitoring and quality assessment
Session 3: Skills-Building Exercise I “6 Steps for Implementing Corporate Social Responsibility”
• Step 1: Conduct a CSR assessment
• Step 2: Develop a CSR strategy
• Step 3: Develop CSR commitments
• Step 4: Implement CSR commitments
• Step 5: Verify and report on progress
• Step 6: Evaluate and improve
Session 4: Skills-Building Exercise II “Advocating multi-stakeholder engagement”
• Task 1 Identify stakeholders
• Task 2 Understand the reasons for stakeholder engagement
• Task 3 Plan the engagement process
• Task 4 Start the dialogue
Participants will receive supporting materials and documentation, such as templates and handouts.
All participants who successfully complete the seminar will receive a United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) Certificate of Participation.
The seminar is designed for representatives from different sectors and organizations interested and engaged in the promotion of sustainable development through private sector engagement. This includes:
- Policy makers at the international, national and local level
- Advocacy groups
- Multinational corporations
- Nongovernmental organizations
- Development shops
- International development consultants