Business Column: UN Global Compact launch SDGs Series of Events

Alik Jebejian

Business Representative

  On Friday, November 25, around 300 socially-connected leaders, investors, and faculty members gathered in OSB’s Maamari Auditorium for the launch of Lebanon’s collaboration in the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

  The UN Global Compact, being the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world, is a leadership platform that seeks to promote and implement ethical and sustainable practices in business and strategy domains.

  The Global Compact network was launched in Lebanon during September 2015 aimed to “mobilise businesses, civil society organisations, local authorities and the broader Lebanese society to work together towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

  UN’s 17 SDGs include quality education, climate action, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, good health and well-being, zero hunger, no poverty, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth, and many more.

  AUB President Dr. Fadlo Khuri opened the ceremony and expressed his positive attitude  towards this UN initiative.

  Khuri also discussed the importance of highly accredited institutions, such as AUB, in enhancing the work of global networks. AUB not only equips students with quality education and conflict solving tools, but also “capitalises remarkable intellectual property.”

  During the event, Dean of OSB, Steve Harvey, Ph.D, gave a speech where he discussed an amusing riddle about the chicken, the fox, and the grain and concluded it with the following.

  “Business as usual is no longer possible, standing on the side of the river is not enough,” he said.  

  Following this statement, Harvey called upon the audience to take action and invited them to be active leaders in society, rather than passive bystanders.

  UNSCOL Special Coordinator, Sigrid Kaag was very forthright in her speech, where she argued for the importance of sustainable profit-making and the urgency of converting all business models to sustainable ones.

  “There is no business without sustainability,” Kaag said in her speech.

  Representative of Global Compact Network Lebanon, Dima Jamali, Ph.D, presented the 17 SDGs of Global Compact as well as the ten global compact principles and their application in the Lebanese business environment.

  Keynote speaker, Minister of Education and Higher Education, H.E. Elias Bou Saab, stressed the importance of preparing students for the future as well as creating sustainable opportunities and jobs..

  Thirty students from a business ethics class taught by Alain Daou, Ph.D., attended the event and took thorough notes about the different goals and topics that were discussed during the conference, in preparation for the CSR policies they are likely to create for a company as part of the course’s assignments.

  “Education is a driving force for growth, it is our future, education shouldn’t destroy creativity,” mentioned Saab.

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