Nestlé Creating Shared Value Forum

Statement by Mr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary General

Nestlé Creating Shared Value Forum

09 October 2014

President Burkhalter,
Ladies and gentlemen,

First of all let me thank President Burkhalter for sharing his views on sustainable development with us. I would also like to thank Mr Peter Brabeck-Lemathe and Mr Paul Bulcke for co-hosting this event with us.

Mr. President, we deeply value Swiss leadership on sustainability issues. At UNCTAD we are pleased to be working together with Switzerland to undertake technical assistance activities in a number of developing countries in support of sustainable development. From investment policies to debt issues, from competition policy and consumer protection, to trade and environment issues, from commodity trade to local business linkages, UNCTAD is grateful for the support of your Government and we look forward to continued collaboration in the years to come.

I must say that in preparation for this Forum, I personally have deepened my knowledge on the "Creating Shared Value" approach and I commend Nestlé for trying to bring this emphasis on global corporate citizenship into all its activities. Your approach is a valuable complement to our own efforts in the UN system of working towards economic, social and environmental sustainability. What we have in common is that our ideas are efforts to respond to the challenges of our times and that they seek to align private industry’s objectives with society’s aspirations.

Today the world is facing major socio-economic challenges. We are in need of sound solutions for providing food security, for ending extreme poverty, for reducing inequality and for rising to the challenges of increased urbanization, environmental degradation and climate change. The United Nations is working to address these challenges through the formation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

These will form a set of time bound measureable targets expected to be launched in 2015.. A proposed set of goals is currently on the table in New York for consideration by member states. They centre on eliminating extreme poverty by 2030 and include goals related to economic growth, health, education and the environment, among other issues.

These Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, represent the urgent value that the world must create for those most in need. And for many issues – such as climate change – that includes all of us no matter where we live. But to create and share this value requires enormous investment.

The SDGs will have very significant resource implications across the developed and developing world. In developing countries, especially in the least developed countries and other vulnerable economies, public finances and foreign aid remain critical to investment in sustainability. However, public finances alone can never fill this enormous investment gap. The order of magnitude of the required resources is simply too great.

The role of private sector investment thus will be indispensable. Today, however, private sector investment in sustainability is relatively low. Only a fraction of the worldwide invested assets of global companies is in sectors directly relevant to the SDGs.

In the context of our discussions today, I believe that the "Creating Shared Value" initiative, which Nestlé and other companies are pursuing, is an important step in rectifying this situation.

Indeed, we at UNCTAD believe that these and similar initiatives can be scaled up to create a Big Push of private sector financing to provide the infrastructure and the innovations that our world needs to make this important transformation in our economies. As you have shown today, it makes business sense.

The UNCTAD 2014 World Investment Report provides further details how this transformation can be catalyzed by private sector actors. We will be discussing these important issues at our World Investment Forum next week in Geneva. I urge you all to join your voices to our conversations.

Before I conclude I want to take a moment to reflect on UNCTAD’s 50th anniversary this year. In 1964, when UNCTAD was founded, member States committed to a new era of “trade and investment” to help create prosperity for all. The world recognized then that building a vibrant developing world expanded trade and investment opportunities.

The last 50 years have been a story of creating shared value at a global level. Today companies and consumers around the world benefit from trade and investment. We have lifted millions out of poverty. But the challenges we continue to face are enormous.

The next 50 years will require us to tackle cataclysmic threats to the global commons.

You are not on the sidelines in this effort. You are not a spectator. You have a role to play.

I hope you will all take home with you the ideas discussed today, and start working tomorrow to make the next 50 years a period of even greater shared global value.

Thank you.