“Looking Back On 2016” – Letter From Helle Bank Jorgensen, Founder & President Emeritus Of The Global Compact Network Canada

Dear All,

In the last month of the year, the time is perfect to reflect on the highlights and accomplishments of the past 365 days and of course, to look ahead to the opportunities in 2017.

2016 has proved to be an even more active and engaging year than 2015, for the GCNC. We have come a long way since we launched the Global Compact Network Canada in 2013, and we are so proud and thankful for the growing support we have received from companies and organizations across Canada.

Together, throughout 2016 our network of companies and other stakeholders have engaged with us in high-level events, Reporting Peer Review Programs, activities, and webinars. These events and activities were all geared towards building the capacity of the Canadian corporate sector and to empower companies to embrace the 10 Principles of the UN Global Compact and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals within their national and global operations.

For the first time ever, the GCNC hosted a National Roundtable on the Role of the Canadian Private Sector in collaboration with Global Affairs Canada in February 2016. The event helped bring the public and private sector together to identify practical ways in which the Canadian private sector can take action towards the achievement of the Agenda 2030.

It was also the first year that the GCNC hosted the Canadian SDG Awards 2016 on June 10th, 2016 in Toronto to highlight the business case for advancing action on the 17 SDGs. Apart from recognizing the efforts of companies to advance the SDGs, the Awards also further engaged the private sector in discussions regarding its role in advancing the Global Goals.

Besides these, some of the most notable moments for GCNC during 2016 include the following:

  • November 11, 2016: Meeting with the Canadian Minister of Small Business and Tourism, the Honourable Bardish Chagger, to discuss ways the GCNC can collaborate with the ministry to support SMEs with the implementation of the SDGs.
  • September 12, 2016: The GCNC team met with Federal Ministers, including the Honourable Patty Hajdu, the Minister of Status of Women to discuss plans on working together to advance Global Goal #5 Gender Equality.
  • September 19, 2016: Select participants of the GCNC met with the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada at the UN Private Sector Forum 2016.
  • July 15, 2016: Select GCNC Participants, including Baker & McKenzie, Barrick Gold Corporation, BMO, Enbridge, Scotiabank, SkyPower, Suncor Energy, Teck Resources, TELUS, Unilever, and many more signed onto the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition (CPLC).
  • June 27, 2016: The GCNC arranged an in-person dialogue of its network participants with Canada’s Minister of Environment & Climate Action, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, in Ottawa.
  • June 7, 2016: The GCNC hosted a breakfast session to welcome Lakshmi Puri, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women to Toronto.
  • May 25, 2016: In collaboration with WEConnect International Canada, the GCNC hosted, Corporations & Women Entrepreneurs: Changing the World Together Through Diversity.
  • May 10, 2016: The GCNC’s Anti-corruption Working Group launched the e-book on “Designing an Anti-corruption Compliance Program: A Guide for Canadian Businesses”
  • March 11, 2016: The GCNC co-hosted the “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality” at the Toronto Stock Exchange.
  • March 7-9, 2016: The GCNC organized two sessions at the PDAC convention in Toronto on “Corruption & Bribery: Using an Effective Compliance Program to Manage Risk”, and the Implementation of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights.
  • March 1, 2016: The GCNC in collaboration with TELUS, hosted an Interactive Workshop in Vancouver, before the start of the GLOBE Conference 2016.
  • February 8, 2016: The GCNC in partnership with the Global Affairs Canada hosted a National Roundtable to create a shared understanding of the SDGs and how they benefit Canadian Companies.
  • Jan 26: COP21 – Climate Action & Implications for Canadian Businesses (with panellists from Federal Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, UNFCCC, Government of Alberta, and a Solar Energy Company.

The GCNC also had the honour this year of meeting various Federal Ministers, Ministries, and High-Level Government Officials, such as the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and the Honorable Patricia A. Hadju, Minister of Status of Women, in Ottawa. The GCNC also brought a business delegation along to these meetings and discussed how our government can leverage the Canadian Network of responsible businesses in taking the SDGs from Ambition to Action.

Among the many events hosted and co-hosted, the GCNC had the honour of attending the  United Nations Private Sector Forum 2016 in New York, where World leaders gathered on the anniversary of the SDGs, new Agenda for Humanity, and Paris Agreement on Climate Change. There the GCNC, along with some of the network’s participants, met with the Prime Minister Trudeau, who lead Canada’s delegation to the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly and delivered the Keynote Speech, highlighting Canada’s place in the world and promoting core Canadian values like diversity and inclusion, gender equality, and respect for peace worldwide.

Looking into the future, we seek to continue establishing more awareness to further promote the SDGs and the 10 Principles in Canada –  through our expansive program for the New Year. We are also looking forward to Canada’s 150th Anniversary next year and encouraging the whole nation to write a Letter to the Future Canada in celebration. If you haven’t submitted a letter, please do share your visions for the future and words of wisdom to inspire the next generation of Canadian leaders!

Furthermore in 2017, we will also be channelling our energies to promote SDG5 on Gender Equality and Women’s economic empowerment, as we prepare for our Gender Equality Forum in April 3rd and 4th of 2017. We look forward to seeing you there!

We sincerely thank you for being with us on this journey, and we look forward to continuing to work with you in 2017!

We would also like to like to extend a big thank you to our Visionary and Patron Supporters: Agrium, TELUS, Barrick Gold, Bell, B. Accountability, Baker and McKenzie, Teck Resources, Scotiabank, Deloitte, JLL Canada; as well as to our exceptional Board Members Geoff De Bruijn, and Jonathan Drimmer.

Helle Bank Jorgensen
Founder & President Emeritus, Global Compact Network Canada