Private Sector

A critical player for Sustainable Development in cities

The United Nations Global Compact was established as a call to companies to align strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and take actions that advance societal goals. The private sector is a critical actor in the advancement of these values in the urban environment, particularly in the development of sustainable cities.

The private sector is integral to the Cities Programme which was established on the Melbourne Model of cross sectoral collaboration – city government working with civil society and the private sector to tackle complex, urban issues. In fact, the Committee for Melbourne, a private sector-led initiative, instigated the establishment of the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme – with the City of Melbourne – and initially hosted the International Secretariat (2003 to 2007).

We work closely with many Global Compact Local Networks who are an important mobiliser of the private sector at the country and local level and also facilitate city engagement with the United Nations Global Compact and private sector collaboration with cities. There are more than 80 active Local Networks across the world.

In many of our Innovating and Leading cities, the private sector is taking leadership in their city’s sustainable development.

Examples include:
BC3 San Francisco-5052862_origSan Francisco, where the business community are leading climate change mitigation on a city-wide level through BC3, the San Francisco Bay Business Council on Climate Change.

Launch of Global Water Centre in MilwaukeeMilwaukee, where the business community, through the Water Council, have led collaboration with city government, universities and civil society to build a water centric city.

Foto Codem - Movimento Repensando Maringá - Fonte Codem-crpMaringá, Brazil, where the private sector, through CODEM are shaping the city’s economic and social development and vision for the future.

Selvaag - EUOslo, where the city government is working closely with leading corporations, their local business community and supply chain to counter poor and unsafe labour practices.

Jamshedpur womens literacy education

Jamshedpur, India, where private sector Global Compact leader, Tata Steel is contributing to safer, inclusive and sustainable cities.

Ways for the private sector to collaborate

  • Are you working in cities? How are you shaping their sustainability and liveability? Share your achievements and practice.
  • Work locally – partner in collaborative projects with cities
  • Partner on core Cities Programme initiatives
  • Share your expertise – lead educational events such as webinars