Nagrik Dialogue

Global Compact Network India- Raising the SDGs Ambition

4-5 February 2021 , 2018: Global Compact Network India (GCNI), a local Network of the United Nations Global Compact, New York hosted 15th edition of its annual flagship event “National Convention” verutally . The overlying theme for the convention focused on ‘Raising the SDGs ambition-Pathways and Growth”. The convention was graced by Mr. Sudhanshu Pandey, Secretary, Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD), Ministry of Consumer Affair, Govt of India , Mr. Shashi Shanker, CMD ONGC groups of companies and President, GCNI and Ms. Sanda Ojiambo, CEO & Executive Director, United Nations Global Compact (New York) . 

The convention was attended by the eminent personalities including CEOs. CXOs, and Heads from the PSUs, Coprorates , Academia, Civil Society Organizations and UN entities from across the world. 

This National Convention of Global Compact Network India stands for collaborative efforts and solidarity where our leaders come together and exchange ideas for a better tomorrow. To step up in the Decade to Deliver, the convention has highly engaging and solution-driven sessions. The business leaders showcased their action plans for more significant action and came together to achieve the Sustainble Development Goals in time.

Mr. Ranjan Kumar Mahopatra, Director, HR (IOCL) and chair & convenor for National Convention, GCNI, addressed the session via video conference shared “ The theme of the 15th National Convention ‘Raising the SDG ambition- Pathways for Sustainable Recovery and Growth’ is essentially focusing on accelerating the progress on the SDGs as this is the time more than ever before for all of us to drive the action with an exceptional pace to achieve the SDGs by 2030. Through this platform, Global Compact Network India aims to showcase several ideologies and methodologies incorporated and integrated by diverse sectors to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He quoted that to accelerate and raise the SDG ambition in a sustainable manner, we firmly believe in collaborative efforts like partnerships and engagement with our stakeholders and that the success of sustainable development depends on the valuable contributions of societal players”.

Mr. Shashi Shanker, CMD ONGC groups of companies and President, GCNI delivered  president address and extedend a warm welcome to all the guests, speakers and the participants to the 15th edition of National Convention. “He said that this is the first time when Global Compact Network India is holding a virtual National Convention due to Covid and I thanked to digital revolution accelerated by this pandemic. He shared that The Sustainable Development Goals were laid out to provide a comprehensive blueprint to achieve a better and sustainable future for all and Raising the SDGs ambition -Pathways and growth, the theme that GCNI focusing is a workable strategy that can help us bring positive changes in the society thus we can make our business more sustainable and society leveable for our people. On Sustainability Development front, the narrative- Satark Bharat, Sanatan Bharat, sums up India’s commitment to a sustainable future as the country’s climate strategy emphasize clean and efficient energy system, resilient urban infrastructure and planned resilient efforts”.

Ms. Sanda Ojiambo, CEO & Executive Director, United Nations Global Compact (New York) gave special address via video conference said “ GCNI players from the businesses and non-businesses are the key participants in the Global effort to achieve sustainable development goals. Every participant has made a promise to adopt sustainable and responsible business policies, under the 10 principles of UN Global Compact which talks about the human rights, labour, environment and the fight against corruption ; When companies integrate these principles across supply chains, they accelerate in achieving SDGs. Also, she mentioned that Just two weeks ago, Secretary General, Antonio Guterres announced the UNGC’s new strategic plan (2021-2023) and through that plan, we seek to accelerate business action on the SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement underpinned by our 10 principles. The Govt, Corporate, Civil Society Organizations , Academia as well as the UN agencies have to collaborate, coordinate, innovate and activate for achieving Sustainable Development Goals successfully”.

Mr. Sudhanshu Pandey, Secretary, Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD), Ministry of Consumer Affair, Govt of India addressed inaural session saidThe UN Sustainable Development Goals and their achievement until 2030, each country has to re-visit its own strategy and see how they can meet those targets. GCNI is indeed doing wonderful job in contributing to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals, yet there is need of collaborative efforts from all the sectors including Govt and Private”. 

Mr. Sumant Sinha, India’s First SDG Pioneer and CMD, ReNew Power  delivering keynote address said “ The concept of SDGs ambition needs to understand by each sector and the organizations so that we can form a path to reach our goals. Now this is time to have concrete plan and sustainable strategy to contribute to the achievement of Sustaialble Development Goals”. 

A galaxy of eminent speakers comprising CMDs, CEOs, CXOs and Heads from the PSUs, Corporates, Academia, Civil Society Organizations, UN Agencies and experts from diverse sectors shared their insights and best practices for raising India’s SDGs ambition.

The speakers included Dr. Uddesh Kohli  Senior Advisor, UNGC , Mr. Vishvesh Prabhakar, MD – Growth & Strategy-Sustainability, Accenture , Mr. Suresh Narayanan, CMD, Nestle India, Dr. Bhaskar Chatterjee, Former DG & CEO, IICA, Govt of India, Dr. Bhaskar Chatterjee, Former DG & CEO, IICA, Govt of India, Mr. Siraj Chaudhary, MD & CEO, NCML, Dr. H Chaturvedi, Director, BIMTECH, Prof. Raj Nehru, Vice-Chancellor, Vishwakarma Skill Development University, Mr. Deepak Dwivedi, Chairman of the Board & Chief Editor, Dainik Bhaskar Group (Media), Mr. Dushyant Thakor, Vice President, Invest India, Mr. Pablo Varela, Programme Advisor, Global Operations, Young SDG Innovators, UNGC , Dr. Abha Rishi, CEO, Atal Incubation Centre & Chairperson, Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development (CIED), BIMTECH, Ms. Achieng Ojwang, Executive Director, Global Compact Network South Africa, Mr. Anirban Ghosh, CSO, Mahindra Group, Ms. Divya Sharma, Executive Director, The Climate Group India, Mr. Abhay Nene, Director – Solutions, FM Logistic, Mr. Vidyut Mohan, CEO and Co-Founder Takachar, Winner of UNEP Earth Award 2020,  Mr. Sandeep Roy Choudhury, Co- founder & Director, VNV Advisory Services, Mr. Vinod Pandey, Director – Government and External Affairs, CSR, BMW Group India, Mr. Srikrishna Sridhar Murthy, Co-founder and CEO, Sattva Consulting, Dr. Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS, Ms. Naghma Mulla, President & COO, Edelgive Foundation

Ms. Roshika Singh, Senior Country Officer, India – IFC, Ms. Nandita Baruah, Country Representative – India, The Asia Foundation, Mr. Sundeep Singh, Principal Director – Strategy & Consulting, Accenture, Mr. Shankar Venkateswaran, Chairperson, Oxfam India and Dr. Alka Mittal, Director, HR, ONGC, Mr. Roshan Lal Tamak, Executive Director & CEO – Sugar Business, DCM Shriram Ltd., Mr. Shridhar Venkat, CEO, Akshaya Patra Foundation, Dr. Sunita Dube, Chairperson, The MedscapeIndia, Chairperson & Managing Trustee of Aryan Medical & Educational Trust and Mr. Sumant Sinha, India’s First SDG Pioneer and CMD, ReNew Power. 

Speaking at the convention, Ms. Shabnam Siddiqui ,Officiating Executive Director, Global Compact Network India said, “The theme of the convention “Raising the SDGs ambition-Pathways and Growth” put emphasis on the real on-ground actions that the business and other stakeholders need to adopt to impact the SDGs and to create economic value for the nation. “She quoted that the convention is a universal call for action that will set the stage for inclusivity and equitable growth. It will surely pave the path for sustainable recovery along with economic and social development with the help of the community of key and influential leaders”.

One year ago, we were not prepared for Covid Pandemic even though we have been  talking about it 15 years ago like H1NI, Ebola, SARS, etc. If we carry out good collaboration, flow good systems of containing the outbreak and develop partnerships at National and International level to upscale our health faculty, it will prove to be beneficial ; Health has to be given due importance, we have to move out of silos. All the things that happened shows that India has the capacity to take it forward, says “Dr. Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS”.

Energy storage for corporate is essential and they must concentrate on DISCOMs , providing green tariffs and reducing resistance says “Ms. Divya Sharma, Executive Director, The Climate Group India”.

This is the time when Industries must talk about decarbonization, electric vehicles, afforestation, CSS, Energy sector reform and DISCOMs and E-vehicle price must be competitive and DISCOMs must have clean energy grid- this can helps in driving decarbonization through energy sector reform and demand for clean energy say “Mr. Anirban Ghosh, CSO, Mahindra Group”.

The world has talked a lot about Sustaianble Development Goals but this is the time for India to talk about SDGs literacy ; this initive will help us not only to take our best efforts to the villages but also contribute directly to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals with an active engagement of all the sectors says “Mr. Deepak Dwivedi, Chairman of the Board & Chief Editor, Dainik Bhaskar Group”.

Raising the SDGs Ambition-Pathways for Sustainable Recovery and Growth is very important subject and therefore the private entities and the Govt should come together on this because achieving 17 SDGs is an urgent call of action by all the countries; Global Partnership can help  achieve SDGs ambition says “Mr. Suresh Narayanan, CMD, Nestle India”.

The launch of GCNI-Accenture white paper on “Raising India’s SDG Ambition- Pathways for Sustaianble Development Recovery and Growth” was a unique feature of the National Convention. Mr. Vishvesh Prabhakar, MD, Growth & Strategy-Sustaianbility, Accenture shared the crisp of the white paper and shared that “The COVID-19 pandemic has further reversed the progress across most of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The report highlights the need for immediate action focused towards sustainable growth and the opportunity to reimagine a more equitable, inclusive and greener world”.

Some Learning & Recommendations

  • The MSME sector saw diminished work by 35 per cent. There was huge digital gap in the business model structure as some were comfortable with the virtual/remote way of working but largely was not. Digitization is a big thing and the growing importance of resilient infrastructure like Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign we have to think of and reimagine business models to cope up with the challenges like covid pendamic.
  • Public Private Partnership benefited all at state and national level as well as at industry level and hence MSME has become the backbone of India. Building the capacity of more vulnerable ecosystem is important, be it, financial capacity, digital capacity of ecosytems to strengthen and improve MSME. 
  • Investment in Healthcare, equipments and logistics that became such an important element during covid pendamic gives a new perspective to the ecosystem from the infrastructure point of view.

The Multiple Plenary and Concurrent sessions on SDGs covered the topics around…

  • Commitment for Sustainable Recovery: Opportunities for socio-economic well-being and growth for the most vulnerable.
  • Young SDG Innovators Programme India Chapter: KICK OFF
  • Flattening the climate curve – Driving decarbonization through energy sector reform and demand for clean energy.
  • Self-Reliant and Sustainable India: Opportunities to revitalize and grow 12 priority sectors.
  • Solving for widened poverty, hunger and health: The need now more than ever

Impact/Outcome of National Convention

  • Over 2000 delegates from Government ,Corporate, UN agencies and its systems, Civil Society organisations, and representatives from Academia and environmental agencies attended the  Convention got benefitted with the insightful knowledge and experience sharing by the global leaders from aross the sectors.
  • The leaders from businesses and non-businesses as well as Govt showcased their best practices and way forward to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Leveraged industry deep dives and leaders insights to identify innovative solutions to drive SDG ambitions in the wake of business disruption caused by COVID.
  • Uncovered opportunities to drive self-reliant, resilient and sustainable economic growth.
  • Explored the role of country survival kits and social safety nets in solving socio-economic challenges and driving resilience in vulnerable sections of society.
  • Discussion on how decarbonisation, energy sector reforms and sustainable supply chains can drive the green economy.
  • Discussion on how disruptive, tech-based business opportunities can accelerate India’s SDG ambition.

About UN Global Compact Network India

Global Compact Network India (GCNI), formed in November 2000, was registered in 2003 as a non-profit society to function as the Indian Local Network of the Global Compact, New York. It is the first Local Network in the world established with full legal recognition. GCNI also acts as a country level platform for businesses, civil society organisations, public and private sector, aids in aligning stakeholders’ responsible practices towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Ten Universally Accepted Principles in the areas of Human Rights, Labour standard, Environment and Anti-corruption and other key sister initiatives of the United Nations and its systems.

At present, the India Network ranks among the top 10, out of more than 90 Local Networks in the world. It has also emerged as the largest corporate sustainability initiative in India and globally with a pan India membership of 345 leading business and non-business participants and 280 signatories, strengthening their commitment to the Global Compact Principles by becoming proud members of the Local Network in India. For more details, please visit

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