New York

16 June 2021

Deputy Secretary-General's Video Message to Principles for Responsible Management (PRME) - a UN Global Compact initiative - on the occasion of the PRME Annual Global Forum

Dear friends,

It is my distinct pleasure to be here with you at the opening of the PRME Global Forum 2021.

Principles for Responsible Management Education is a critical entry point for the United Nations in the area of business education.

We are living through truly unprecedented times: the global pandemic and the climate crisis are highlighting serious inequalities and fragilities around the world.

We need to unite to recover and to create a world where people and nature can live in harmony.

Education and life-long learning are key to the progress our society and our planet so critically need.

Leadership education plays a central role.

Business schools and universities educate the business leaders of tomorrow, whose decisions will help shape our common future.

Today more than ever before, education must focus on equipping business leaders with the skills to build safer, greener, more resilient economies and societies and deliver the Sustainable Development Goals.

We need business leaders who understand the urgency of tackling the climate emergency.

We need business leaders who understand that increasing access to opportunities is the best way to create long-term prosperity for all, rather than the few.

And we need business leaders with the skills to address crises such as COVID-19 with resilience and sustainability.

You will have the opportunity or discussing many of these issues in the various sessions of the PRME Global Forum: from the innovations and opportunities arising from rewiring financing to achieve sustainable development; to a better understanding of how multi-stakeholder partnerships are being used to overcome complex sustainability challenges or how financial risk can be reduced using ESG investing.   

Advancing the PRME Blueprint for SDG Integration in Business Schools can help move the needle on transforming business education.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a test of leadership across the world, including in the private sector. 

All areas of business have been affected. Business leaders have stepped up to the challenges in many different ways and with unprecedented results.

None of the breakthroughs we have seen, from supply chain logistics to the development of vaccines in record time, would have been possible without the corporate sector.
Leaders from the private sector have come together to keep workers, businesses and economies afloat.

Business leaders must learn from today to prepare better for future crises.

PRME has developed into a truly global movement of business students. I am happy to see the strong support from so many of PRME’s deans, professors and students. I am optimistic that by enabling today’s students to become business leaders working for sustainable solutions, we can build a better world, together.

Once, again, I wish you a successful PRME Global Forum 2021.