SDG Pioneers 2024

SDG Pioneers 2024

SDG Pioneers 2024


Are you a business leader advancing sustainable development goals. We want to hear your story!

Each year, the UN Global Compact celebrates the efforts of business professionals who are driving positive change by advancing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and embodying the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact. These individuals, known as SDG Pioneers, play a crucial role in inspiring action and showcasing the power of business to create a sustainable future for all.

This year, twelve SDG Pioneers will be recognized and rewarded under two award categories: 1) Large National and Multinational companies and 2) SMEs*. These pioneers, regardless of their role, are setting ambitious SDG targets, expanding their impact, and championing a principles-based approach within their companies. Participants must first win the national round in the Netherlands to advance to the global round. These winners will be announced on the global stage during the Leader Summit in September 2024.

The SDG Pioneers programme recognizes the dedicated professionals that drive and innovate solutions through new technologies, initiatives and business models that can enable us to reach the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. We hope their work will inspire others to advance the Global Goals by implementing our Ten Principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.

Sanda Ojiambo

Assistant Secretary-General and CEO of the United Nations Global Compact

Become a SDG Pioneer


  • Are you an individual who actively drives initiatives aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within your company?
  • Do you strive to make a positive impact and promote sustainability in your work?
  • Are you committed to embodying the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact?

Nominate someone


  • Do you know a colleague or peer who demonstrates exceptional dedication to advancing the SDGs?
  • Is someone in your company setting ambitious SDG targets and driving meaningful change?
  • Are you aware of individuals who embody the principles of sustainability and corporate responsibility?


  • Employee engagement and recognition – The program provides companies with an opportunity to highlight how their employees are advancing the SDGs and are indeed next generation leaders.
  • Enable change agents for the SDGs – Leadership in the 2030 era requires change agents, and the SDG Pioneers Program provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for professionals to push their vision forward within their organizations and create change.
  • National and global recognition – SDG Pioneers will receive visibility and be recognized for the great work that they have done to advance the SDGs. The Global SDG Pioneers will be announced and recognized at the 2024 UN Global Compact Leaders Summit.


  • To be eligible, applicants must come from UN Global Compact participating companies with an “Active” status.
  • Companies must have joined the UN Global Compact prior to 1 October 2023.
  • To maintain Active status, companies must submit their Communication on Progress (CoP) within the reporting time frame of 1 April to 31 July. Subsidiaries can participate if their parent company meets this obligation. To avoid any disruption to your Pioneers application process, companies are strongly encouraged to submit their CoP by 1 June 2024. Failure to report by 31 July will disqualify a Pioneers application. A change in CoP status subsequent to being recognized as a Local and/or Global SDG Pioneer may result in the loss of consideration for the global SDG Pioneer title.
My company does not yet participate in the UN Global Compact. Can I still apply?

Only individuals from UN Global Compact participating companies are eligible to apply or be nominated. If your company is not yet participating in the UN Global Compact, it’s time to change that. Learn more about how to join here



Date What
6 May – 29 May 2024 Applications open
30 May – 3 June 2024 Review and selection period
5 June 2024 SDG Pioneers 2024 in The Netherlands are announced
September 2024 Global SDG Pioneers 2024 are announced at the Leaders Summit


To me personally and to Fairphone, being sustainable has always meant to care about the planet and the people. At Fairphone we work day in and day out on how to put the SDGs into practice in our business, in our products and services to make it easier for our users to put them into practice as well. Being named UN SDG pioneer in the Netherlands is a great honour and recognition for these efforts.

Eva Gouwens, SDG Pioneer 2023

Former CEO Fairphone

Diana Visser


SDG Pioneer 2020

Iris van Wanrooij

EMMA Safety Footwear

SDG Pioneer 2022


Please reach out to

Firas Abdulhasain

Senior Programme Manager

Raise the flag for the SDG’s on SDG Flag Day, 25th of September 2024

Raise the flag for the SDG’s on SDG Flag Day, 25th of September 2024

Raise the flag for the SDGs

Join the SDG Flag Day on September 25th, 2024

Show the world your company's commitment towards achieving the SDGs

We are excited to invite you to participate in this year’s SDG Flag Day. At the end of September, organisations all around the world will raise the SDG Flag to show their support to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With the flag campaign, organisations, businesses, municipalities, schools and governments showcase that they are part of a global movement for a better world. Be part of this international campaign and join us on September 25th!


How to participate

Order your flag

You can order your SDG Flag online at our local partner DVC. The flag is available in the sizes 100×150 cm for on the facade and 150×225 cm for in the mast. There are two variants, the Dutch and the English SDG flag.

The flag is made of PETFLAG: sustainable cloth made from 100% recycled PET bottles. 


Raise your flag

And shout it from the rooftops.

The SDG Flag Day is a great opportunity to create activities or events to raise awareness about your company’s sustainability efforts. There are no limits to your creativity and you can tailor the campaign to your own needs and stakeholders. Here is a list of ideas on how you can use this initiative:

  • Use the campaign to communicate on your channels about your recent sustainability initiative or report
  • Organize an internal or external event/workshop to educate your staff/community about the SDGs
  • Invite your employees’ families to hoist the flag together with kids
  • Organize an open-day event where your community can learn about your sustainability efforts
  • Create new content by taking pictures of your staff, management, and other stakeholders holding up the SDG flag

Display your SDG Flag at your workplace, home, or in your community on September 25th – before and after that date works as well. Take a photo or video of the flag and share it on your social media channels to show your participation and support. Use the hashtag #TogetherForTheSDGs and tag us:

LinkedIn: @UN Global Compact Network Netherlands

Instagram: @globalcompactnl

Twitter: @GlobalCompactNL

SDG Flag Day is an initiative by:

A collaborative approach to help develop more effective and sustainable strategies

A collaborative approach to help develop more effective and sustainable strategies

A collaborative approach to help develop more effective and sustainable strategies

Kicking-off the 2024 Peer Learning Groups

Last week we kicked-off this year’s round of Peer Learning Groups with 60+ ambitious professionals ready to make meaningful change. In 2024, UN Global Compact Network Netherlands facilitates three Peer Learning Groups, each focusing on a crucial pillar of sustainable business: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; Climate Action; and Human Rights. These Peer Learning Groups serve as incubators of knowledge, fostering deep dives into common challenges and facilitating discussions around them. Through the exchange of best practices, these sessions aim to equip companies with actionable insights, empowering them to navigate complexities and drive positive impact.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI)

As societal expectations and regulations evolve, the increasing importance of diversity and inclusion in business cannot be overstated. Companies that welcome diversity not only make a statement about their values, but also reap the benefits such as improved employee satisfaction and attracting top talent. However, how do you make sure that diversity is truly embraced at the core of your organization? On the 11th of April we brought together 20+ professionals at the Akzo Nobel HQ in Amsterdam to kick-off our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Peer Learning Group to discuss exactly that.

In this first session we focused on care taking and part time work, a topic that is still mostly effecting women. For example, women in the Netherlands are 17 times more likely than men to do non paid work to care for others. What benefits do companies currently offer part time employees? And how do we re-think career paths to provide opportunities for part timers to grow? During the first half of the session we had a plenary discussion, which was followed by breakout sessions allowing the participants to dive deeper into some of the topics that were previously discussed.

Co-leading companies: Akzo Nobel, Blueyse and Sparks Production

Participating companies: Arcadis, Assent, BCD Travel Services, dsm-firmenich, Heineken, HKV Consultants, IDA Foundation, JCL Logistics Benelux, Invest-NL, JDE Peet’s, Johnson & Johnson, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Philips, Plato Group, PostNL, Sustainable Capital Group and Tsunagu.

Climate Action

Taking climate action is no longer an option, it’s a necessity. On April the 16th, we gathered at the IDA Foundation HQ for the first session of the Climate Action Peer Learning Group to move from policies to action. Over the coming months, these pioneers will come together to share challenges & best practices and help each other move forward faster on topics such as SBTi, climate scenario development and stakeholder engagement.

In the first session we focused on data quality and data driven decisions for measuring and reporting on climate goals and targets. Data collection is crucial for climate goals – that’s not the question – but how do you go about it? And once you have your data, how do you use it to create and implement a data-driven strategy? To provide the participants with extra food for thought, we were joined by guest speaker Justin Strueber, Climate Action Project Manager at Philips.

Co-leading companies: IDA Foundation, Wereldhave and Batenburg Techniek.

Participating companies: Irdeto, United Group, JDE Peet’s, Alfen, Corbion, Eneco, KPMG Nederland, Sunrock, COFCO International Netherlands, BDR Thermea Group, Invest-NL, Unilever, LIPTON Teas and Infusions, HKV Consultants, Deloitte, PostNL, Signify and CSC.

Human Rights

The EU’s commitment to sustainability has led to a wave of new regulations, including the CSDDD and CSRD. Companies are now required to gather, track, and disclose comprehensive data about their impacts on the environment and society, including human rights issues such as labor practices, workplace safety, and supply chain management. On the 18th of April we came together at the NN Group office in The Hague to launch our first Human Rights Peer Learning Group to discuss the legislative landscape surrounding business & human rights, and more importantly, how to navigate the challenges.

The session was opened by a short presentation by Gilles Goedhart, Coordinator Mandatory Due Diligence at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to set the scene, and followed by breakout discussions to brainstorm practical ways on how to use regulation to enhance human rights within the professionals respective organizations.

Co-leading companies: Deloitte, Arcadis and Invest-NL

Participating companies: Alfen, PF Concept, TenneT, Philips, Inter IKEA group, NN Group, Corbion and ERM NL.

Want to learn with us? 

Peer learning is a powerful tool in addressing corporate sustainability challenges. Our Peer Learning Groups provide a safe space for professionals, encouraging open dialogue and a collaborative approach helping you to develop more effective and sustainable strategies. By leveraging diverse perspectives, you can create more holistic and impactful approaches to sustainability, leading to improved resource management, cost savings, and a stronger reputation for corporate responsibility.

Interested in joining the next round (2025) of Peer Learning Groups? Reach out to one of our Programme Managers to claim your spot!

Firas Abdulhasain

Firas Abdulhasain

Climate Programme Manager

Jamie Holton

Jamie Holton

DEI and Human Rights Programme Manager

Internship Vacancy: Climate in Business

Internship Vacancy: Climate in Business


Position: Climate in Business Intern | Students only!

Duration: 6 months – start in May 2024

Location: The Hague, The Netherlands

Compensation: €600 per month – for 4 days a week

Do you want to help accelerate and upscale the positive impact of Dutch businesses to improve the lives of current and future generations? Ever wondered what it’s like to work for a UN initiative? Are you passionate about climate and engaging with climate experts and companies taking climate action?

If you answered yes to all three questions, come join the UN Global Compact Network Netherlands as our new Climate intern!

About UN Global Compact

UN Global Compact is the world’s largest business sustainability initiative. It has an unparalleled global reach and the exclusive opportunity to activate a diverse network of businesses to advance sustainable development in collaboration with investors, Government, UN, and civil society stakeholders.

The UN Global Compact Network Netherlands is the local network that works on Gender Equality, Living Wage, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Sustainable Finance, and Climate. For the Climate programmes, we are looking for an ambitious person who is eagerly looking for a dynamic internship experience in the topic of Climate.

What you will do

As Climate Intern, you will work as part of a young, diverse, and ambitious team on the development of our climate programmes in 2024. You will:

  • Support the Climate Ambition Accelerator and our Climate Peer Learning Group
  • Enrich our Climate initiatives and programmes with improvement suggestions.
  • Investigate and summarise the latest climate trends and climate reports from businesses and research institutes
  • Investigate relevant climate initiatives and partners in the Netherlands, Europe, and globally.


  • Support our climate programmes
  • Lead climate reporting analysis
  • Help out with events

Who we’re looking for:

  • You’re in your final year of an MSc University Degree in Business Management, Global Business & Sustainability, International Management, Business Analytics & Management, Strategic Entrepreneurship or similar
  • You are knowledgeable about climate, scope 1-2-3, scenarios, transition plans, climate initiatives
  • You are an excellent communicator in English, both verbally and in writing. Dutch is a plus
  • You are analytically driven and have strong quantitative and analytical capabilities
  • You are flexible, eager to learn and a real team player with a can-do mentality

Internship support

During your internship, you will work with and receive professional support from Firas Abdulhasain (Sr Programme Manager Climate) and Merei Wagenaar (Executive Director). You have the possibility to write your thesis on the topic of this internship.

Recruitment process

Please send your resume and cover letter (max 1 A4) to Firas Abdulhasain: by 23 april 2024 23:59 CET.

If you have any questions, please reach out to Firas Abdulhasain via If you are selected for an interview, you will be invited for an in-person interview in the Malietoren (Bezuidenhoutseweg 12, The Hague). This interview will take place during the last week of April and first week of May.

The best time to invest is now – Impact Summit Europe 2024

The best time to invest is now – Impact Summit Europe 2024

the best time to invest is now

Impact Summit Europe 2024

From combating climate change to promoting gender equality and eradicating poverty, impact investing channels capital where it’s needed most. On the 26th of March 2024, our Executive Director Merei Wagenaar moderated a panel session on innovative impact opportunities with panelists Rikkert Beerekamp, head of professional solutions at Carbon Equity and Oyin Oduya, Impact Measurement & Management practice leader at Wellington Management during Phenix Capital Group’s Impact Summit Europe.

The 10th anniversary of Impact Summit Europe, the leading impact investing conference for institutional investors, brought together the global impact investing community to pose, reflect and address the current and future challenges and opportunities in the impact investing space. In the afternoon session by UN Global Compact NL, asset owners and asset managers shared the challenges and opportunities they encountered in their climate technology strategy.

A holistic approach

How do you build an impactful climate tech portfolio? That’s the question. During the discussion, the crucial need for a holistic approach to investing in climate technology became evident. Oyin exemplified this by sharing their take on an investment in a company developing robots and AI to enhance waste sorting. While the environmental benefits of such innovation are clear, it’s essential to consider its social implications. While we aim for scalability, we must also assess how the advancement of such innovations will impact job opportunities and subsequently its broader social ramifications.

Another perspective that was underscored is why certain asset managers opt not to invest in climate technology. What is preventing them from doing so and how can we change that? Whether it’s the absence of a proven track record, concerns about greenwashing and reputational risks, or other factors – the prevailing agreement is that difficulty alone shouldn’t deter action.

Last but not least, when deciding where to invest, Oyin and Rikkert highlighted the importance of considering the long-term impact a certain investment can have on disrupting the system. Technologies with the potential to challenge existing norms and systems can drive innovation, foster progress, and create substantial value over time. By strategically allocating capital to such ventures, investors not only position themselves for potential financial gains but also contribute to shaping a sustainable future.

The Big Impact Debate

The day ended with a bang as four speakers took the stage to take part in The Big Impact Debate. In two rounds, each competitor had to argue either in favor or against a bold statement. Our very own board member and lecturer Sustainable Finance at the University of Amsterdam, Maarten Biermans, made a case against litigations stating that we should beware of coming a slave to the fine print. Whereas his component argued that litigation = mitigation. Things got heated, but not to worry, ended on good terms with everyone being friendly at the network drinks afterward 😉

Investments as a catalyst for impact

The UN has estimated that the world will need to spend between $3 trillion and $5 trillion annually to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. At the UN Global Compact we see corporate finance and investments as a catalyst for growth and social impact. There is enormous potential to align corporate investments and finance with the SDGs, both to finance business contributions towards the SDGs and to build on existing sustainable finance solutions and framework to support the transition to sustainable development.

The UN Global Compact has worked on sustainable finance for the last decade bringing companies, investors, and UN agencies together. It’s also one of the five focus areas in our Forward Faster initiative, stimulating companies to set more ambitious goals. No matter where you are on your finance and investment journey, we can help. Our action guide will show you how you can make the biggest, fastest impact for 2030.

Photo credits: Phenix Capital Group

‘Change the system, not the women’ – recap International Women’s Day 2024

‘Change the system, not the women’ – recap International Women’s Day 2024

‘Change the system, not the women’ – recap International Women’s Day 2024

Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress

Women are effective business leaders, yet they make up just 6% of CEOs globally. How do we get not only investors, but all of society to see the value of female leadership? On the 8th of March we celebrated International Women’s Day with this year’s theme being: Invest in Women. Together with our partners Euronext, UN Women Nederland, Women in ETFs, Optiver and Flow Traders we curated a full-day event brimming with insightful talks from inspiring speakers.

Mentoring and sponsoring programs

The day started bright and early with a breakfast session set in the historic boardroom, a space with a backstory: there was a time where women were barred from its doors. Today, the presence of our women organizers and attendees indicates the progress we’ve already made. Moderated by our Executive Director Merei Wagenaar, the session unfolded with an engaging conversation between Sten ter Horst, HR Director Center of Expertise for Talent and DE&I at AkzoNobel and Mariëtte Los, Partner & Chief Human Resources Officer and Member of the Executive Committee at Deloitte, shedding light on their approaches to advancing equality & inclusion within their respective companies.

Mariëtte elaborated further on Deloitte’s mentoring culture, emphasizing the significance of implementing both mentoring and sponsoring programs. The main difference between the two is that mentorship is mostly about someone providing you with advice and feedback whereas sponsorship involves someone directly advocating for your because they believe in your ability and potential. She stressed the importance of ensuring that all women have access to both forms of support.

In turn, Sten shed light on AkzoNobel’s strategy for navigating diverse cultures and addressing local challenges. Through collaboration with local resource groups, they gather insights on necessary policy adjustments. While these insights inform global policies, Sten emphasized the necessity of acknowledging that not all global policies seamlessly translate to local contexts. Thus, he underscored the importance of allowing flexibility for local adaptations.

Changing the system

At 9 AM sharp, the official bell-ringing ceremony took place, officially opening the trading day. Globally more than 100 stock exchanges participate in the ceremonial bell ringing with the aim to bring attention to the pivotal role the private sector can play in advancing gender equality and to raise awareness about the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs).

The morning programme continued with an inspiring talk by Hoba Gull, Dutch UN Women’s Representative, who emphasized that gender equality is more than investing in the representation of women in leadership positions, it’s about investing in changing conditions for all women. It’s about fighting poverty & violence, cultural norms and what we value in society. Ultimately, it’s about changing the system.

Her speech was followed by the introduction of the newly launched Pink Chip initiative. Pink Chip tracks women-led companies in markets around the world, helping investors to realize the true value of female leadership, free from the market bias that undervalues it.

Invest in women

After this insightful morning, the afternoon program was kicked off with a fireside chat between moderator Marianne Aalders from Euronext, our director Merei Wagenaar and Marije Cornelissen, Executive Director UN Women Nederland, emphasizing once more that investing in women is crucial to reach the Sustainable Development Goals. We cannot fight climate change without investing in women. Fostering equality can reduce carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by nearly 70 gigatons between 2020 and 2050.

The day continued with a key note by Sacha de Boer, visual storyteller & photographer, who captivated the audience with an inspiring story about her encounters with powerful girls and women on her travels around the world – from Zimbabwe to the North Pole. Through her lens, she illuminated the hidden leadership roles held by women. Whether they are harvesting, cooking or teaching, her photographs showed us that it’s often the women who are the driving force shaping the world.

Last but not least, we invited Caroline Wouters, EVP and Chief Communications, Brand and Marketing Officer at Wolters Kluwer and Michiel Gilsing, CFO at Vopak, to share their take on gender related equality challenges in a panel discussion. Themes included establishing safe environments for women both within and beyond the workplace, the efficacy of quotas, and strategies for attracting female talent.

Not just another date on the calendar

The day was closed with a second bell-ringing ceremony followed by some drinks to unwind and reflect on this International Women’s Day. We look back on an engaging event that has hopefully inspired meaningful change.

And now that the dust has settled.. let’s shake it up again! Because being vocal about gender equality is and should not be restricted to one day only. Every day presents an opportunity to champion equality and challenge biases. Join the Target Gender Equality Accelerator and set ambitious corporate targets for women’s representation, equal pay and leadership in business. Application deadline: 31 May 2024.

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