“Be the change you want to see in the world.” The quote is from Ghandi, and Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director of UN Global Compact and CBS’ newest distinguished alumna, uses it in her work to make businesses adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies and practices in order to reach the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) by 2030.
“The SDGs are describing the world we all want. A world which is very different from the one we know today. And in order to get there, it requires the biggest transformation mankind has experienced so far,” she says.
The world has been through several great transformations. For example the Industrialization, which made living a lot more convenient and easy by introducing airplanes, washing machines, computers, and fast food. However, the coming transformation is not about becoming more convenient – rather becoming more conscious.
“Implementing the SDGs implies another way of living our lives. A way of living which isn’t necessarily going to become more convenient, but more equal and more global,” says Lise Kingo.
As a part of her job, she encourages companies to sign up for the UN Global Compact and thereby live up to ten universally accepted principles on human rights, labor, the environment and anti-corruption. Addressing the Ten Principles will take us a long way in meeting the SDGs, she says.
“But to pick up this major transition defines by the SDGs and translate it into a company’s business model is challenging, and requires an innovative approach to for example, investing in becoming climate neutral,” says Lise Kingo and adds:
“This is why we need visionary and holistic business leaders who can translate the Global Goals into business strategy.”
Lise Kingo not only holds a Bachelor’s degree in the Science of Religions and Ancient Greek Culture, she also has a Graduate Diploma in Marketing Management (HD) from CBS. This combination of humanities and a classic business education has given her a unique understanding of how to lead an organization such as the UN Global Compact.
“The UN is a highly multicultural work place, which means that it is important to be aware of and understand the cultural and religious differences which are represented. Having a humanistic background has definitely made me more attentive of this,” she says.
CBS is one of our strongest allies, as they already have a strong strategy on educating responsible business leadersLise Kingo
When Lise Kingo had finished the first two of her bachelor degrees, she decided not to go for a job in the educational sector, but got a job at an advertisement agency where she among other tasks was in charge of managing the accounts.
“I realized that I really needed a basic understanding of finance and business, and it has proven to be very useful in relation to what I do today,” says Lise Kingo and points out that the ten principles that UN Global Compact builds on the humanistic tradition.
Sustainable business leaders
The aim of the UN Global Compact is to mobilize a global movement of sustainable companies and stakeholders to create the world that we all want. Right now, more than 9,500 companies from 160 countries and 70 Local Networks are involved, but the goal is that sustainable business becomes mainstream.
“75% of our participants are already working with the Global Goals, but we need more partnerships to drive the Goals. You simply can’t whistle a symphony,” says Lise Kingo and explains that it is crucial to also have the universities on board in a multistakeholder approach to the Goals.
CBS has just committed to support the UN Global Compact and commits CBS to actively align their values, policies, and practices with the ten principles. Something which Lise Kingo is very pleased about.
“CBS is one of our strongest allies, as they already have a strong strategy on educating responsible business leaders. They are definitely acting as a solid role model for mobilizing the movement towards a better world,” she says and adds:
“However, we need to gear up, and I hope CBS will present a business strategy 3.0 in order to educate more young leaders with a more sustainable and social vision.”