Protect Ecosystems and Strengthen Means of Implementation

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This year’s United Nations High-Level Political Forum (UN HLPF) on sustainable development will be held from July 9-18 under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council. The theme for the forum will be “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies” focusing in part on Sustainable Development Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, that will be considered each year.

As part of USCIB’s countdown to the UN HLPF, USCIB is highlighting some initiatives that its member companies are working on to transform toward sustainable and resilient societies, while subsequently meeting the SDG targets set by the UN. More examples of initiatives can be found on USCIB’s Business for 2030 website.

SDG 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

One initiative to highlight is a project by Novozymes to support the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CDB) in terms of the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.  Novozymes has decided to acknowledge and support the principles of both the CBD and the Nagoya protocol and has internal procedures to ensure that it lives up to its commitments. Novozymes promotes fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and promotes appropriate access to such resources, as internationally agreed. They are regularly assessing outcomes of CBD meetings with a view to undertake a broader strategic discussion on its management and reporting of biodiversity issues. By sharing the benefits of genetic resources, Novozymes is taking steps to achieve SDG 15 and to increase biological diversity.

SDG 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, that will be considered each year

Another project to note is an initiative by Mars to ensure that everyone working with their extended supply chains should earn sufficient income to maintain a decent standard of living. This is done through Mars’ Farmer Income Lab, an open-source “think-do-tank” that will enable Mars and others to leverage their unique human, social and financial resources to identify and activate solutions needed to eradicate smallholder poverty in global supply chains. This year, the Lab’s focus is on identifying effective actions that buyers can take to enable smallholder farmers in global supply chains to meaningfully increase income. This will culminate in a ‘What Works’ publication, providing an overview of promising models, sourced from academic literature and stakeholder dialogues, that increase incomes and demonstrate what factors are most successful. Mars’ commitment to increasing incomes is part of their Sustainable in a Generation Plan, a $1-billion investment to accelerate sustainable growth by achieving SDG 17 through global partnerships.

Click here for more information on what USCIB has done so far during this year’s HLPF.

How Financial Inclusion Can Move People Out of Poverty

Guest post by Nina Nieuwoudt
Global Product Development: New Consumers
Originally Published on LinkedIn on October 30, 2017

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Around the world this week, governments, multilaterals, and companies are coming together to celebrate Financial Inclusion Week. It’s an opportunity to reflect on the progress that we’ve made in extending financial access to un-banked and underbanked communities, and also a time to take honest stock of how far we still have to go. As Mastercard’s Chief Product Officer Michael Miebach noted following his speech at Money20/20 last week – we’re making progress, but at our current pace we won’t achieve full financial inclusion for another 200 years. Needless to say, we’ve got work to do.

The theme of this year’s Financial Inclusion Week is how new products and partnerships can enable financial inclusion. At Mastercard, this topic is close to our hearts. We believe that cross-sector partnerships are key to extending access to consumers at the base of the pyramid and building products that truly improve their lives.

To be clear, promoting inclusion is not corporate social responsibility for us. Not only is pushing for a world where everyone has access to the security, transparency, and control of digital payments the right thing to do, but it’s also critical to the future of business.

We’re proud that this commitment to new partnership models can be found at all levels of our company. Several of these partnerships have been highlighted in a joint report by Accion’s Center for Financial Inclusion and the Institute for International Finance, entitled “How Financial Institutions and Fintechs are Partnering for Inclusion: Lessons from the Frontlines”. The report recognizes our collaboration with Kopo Kopo, a fintech start-up, and Diamond Trust Bank to create a QR-payment ecosystem in Kenya that allows customers to pay with their phones, by simply taking a photo of a QR code and manually entering the transaction amount.

Later this week, I’ll be speaking about ways financial institutions and fintechs can partner during a webinar hosted by the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion.

Beyond our partnerships, we’ve done our own on-the-ground research. For example, we recently released a report that offer insights into how to build a digital payments ecosystem for small and micro businesses. To learn more about how we’re supporting financial inclusion across the company, watch this video.

Despite these gains, we still face a host of challenges in reaching the two billion people who are locked out of the formal financial system. At Mastercard, we know that the only way we will ever transform this equation is by creating partnerships that leverage relevant sector expertise, and that offer in-depth knowledge of base-of-the-pyramid needs – from health and education, to payments and digital finance.

It is perhaps the biggest ecosystem we have tried to build yet, but it is incumbent on all of us to do so. 200 years is too long to wait.

Read the original post on LinkedIn here.

Together We Can Change The World

Guest post by Timothy Murphy
General Counsel and Chief Franchise Officer
Originally published on LinkedIn on September 25, 2017

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Want to change the world? Allow the private sector to do what it does best. 

For the past week, the world has watched as heads of state and global business leaders convened in New York City for the 72nd United Nations General Assembly. The agenda was far from light. Topics ranged from food security to climate change to the refugee crisis to healthcare. The task at hand – achieving the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 – is a daunting one and it’s become widely understood that the private sector has a critical role to play in ensuring those goals are reached.

But the public and private sectors are also beginning to recognize that philanthropic dollars alone will not get us there. More and more corporate philanthropy is being viewed as a catalyst for action that connects back to longer-term business objectives.

This principle of doing well and doing good is not new, but it’s especially important for the private sector, maybe now more than ever. At Mastercard, we don’t see the two concepts as mutually exclusive. Rather, we believe companies can deliver on their business objectives and have a positive impact on the world around them. In fact, it’s a must to do both.

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Last week at UNGA, my colleagues and I were at the forefront driving conversations to help accelerate progress around these problems which threaten to overwhelm our society. We announced a partnership with PEPFAR to use technology to help fight HIV/AIDS, we led discussions on the future of the workforce, gender equality, and humanitarian finance, and our CEO Ajay Banga spoke about the need to align core capabilities with the SDGs.

Throughout these discussions, we had a common refrain: engage the private sector to do what it does best. When this expertise is applied to societal challenges, we are able to do so much more to improve the lives of those who suffer most.

For Mastercard, this means using our technology, data, expertise and investments to build successful business models. When we take this approach with our partners, we can build high-impact solutions that are scalable for them and sustainable for us. For example, we have helped make it faster, safer and more efficient for NGOs to deliver humanitarian aid through the products like the Mastercard Aid Network and Mastercard Send. And we developed 2Kuze, a mobile marketplace that addresses the needs of small farmers by providing a way for them to efficiently and transparently run their businesses.

We know this strategy works and that’s one of the reasons we signed onto the United Nations Global Compact, which calls on companies to align their strategies with societal goals. As the first company in the payments industry to sign onto the Global Compact, we see this as an integral step in our efforts to do well as a company and do good for society.

Our commitments didn’t stop there. We also joined Business Call to Action (BCtA), which challenges companies to develop inclusive business models to reach the billions of people trapped in poverty. We are already more than half-way to our goal of connecting 500 million people to financial services by 2020 and reaching 40 million micro- and small merchants by 2022.

It’s great progress, but there’s still much work to be done. I read the other day that there are less than 5,000 days until December 31, 2030 – the UN’s deadline for achieving the SDGs. To some that may seem like a long time, to others not so much. At Mastercard, we see it as 5,000 opportunities to come to work and say, “What can we do to help change the world today?” Our CEO calls it bringing your heart and mind to work. It’s important because these issues impact us all and we all have a role to play in solving them. So, how can we work with your organization to help change the world today? Every little bit counts.

Read the original post on LinkedIn here