Japanese fibre manufacturer Kuraray has become the latest signatory to the UN Global Compact to boost its sustainability efforts, as the global pact outlined a new programme focused on accelerating business performance on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The platform, which claims to be the world's largest corporate sustainability initiative, calls on firms to align their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption. The multi-year strategy of the UN Global Compact is to drive business awareness and action in support of achieving the SDGs by 2030.

At the same time it signed the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), Kuraray joined the Global Compact Network Japan, which mainly consists of Japanese companies who have signed the UNGC.

The UNGC is a global framework in which participating companies and organizations strive to realize sustainable social development by demonstrating responsible and creative leadership and acting as good members of society. The top management of companies and organizations that sign the UNGC commit to supporting the Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact, which centre on protecting human rights, eliminating unfair labor, conserving the environment and preventing corruption. In line with this commitment, they are asked to continually work to implement those principles.

In line with its mission of "For people and the planet—to achieve what no one else can," the Kuraray Group has pursued business development that helps improve the natural environment and the daily living environment since its founding in 1926. In 2019, the group amended its Sustainability Concept and revised its material issues, and top management has been at the forefront of these activities.

By signing the UNGC and clearly stating its corporate position, Kuraray says it will further promote sustainability management based on the group's corporate statement and continue helping realise a sustainable society.

Earlier this month, the UNGC outlined a new programme focused on accelerating business performance on the SDGs, engaging more than 600 companies in 65 countries with a combined annual revenue of US$1 trillion.

First announced last year by UN secretary-general António Guterres at the World Economic Forum in Davos, SDG Ambition Accelerator is an initiative that challenges and supports participating companies of the UN Global Compact in setting ambitious corporate sustainability targets and accelerating the integration of the SDGs into core business management. It has support from Accenture, SAP, and 3M.

The Accelerator Programme is a six-month learning journey for corporate executives being delivered through UN Global Compact Networks based in 30 countries. More than 1,150 representatives from participating companies, employing 7.9m people, will join to assess current performance, risk areas, and new opportunities across their business. This will help companies take more ambitious business actions towards achieving the SDGs by 2030.

The Accelerator challenges and supports companies to:

  • Strategically prioritise sustainability issues where they can have the greatest impact through their operations, products and services, and across the value chain
  • Set ambitious goals and identify critical pathways to achieve them
  • Integrate SDG-related business goals and outcomes into core business management processes
  • Design technology systems to track progress on the goals across business units or functions

Julie Sweet, CEO of consultancy Accenture, said: "As we face the urgent challenges of rebuilding the global economy and tackling climate change, this is the moment for every business to take bold action and become a sustainable business with their customers and across their enterprises and supply chains. The SDG Ambition Accelerator will help companies embed sustainability into their core at greater speed and scale to make meaningful, measurable progress toward achieving the SDGs."