To discuss the climate emergency, Pia Imbs, Associate Professor and Head of CSR at EM Strasbourg, gave the floor to Morgane Graffion, CSR Officer at Global Compact France, who explained its main principles and concrete objectives. She then invited Philippe Kuhn, one of the co-founders of the EurOasis alternative space in Strasbourg, to present this original initiative.
SDGs and Global Compact
In her introductory remarks, Pia Imbs relayed the positions taken by scientists, economists, and philosophers who are all sounding the alarm, and reminded us of the urgency of finding alternative solutions for green growth. She also explained that sustainable development is part of both an ecological and a social approach. Eradicating poverty and social inequality is essential for the planet's evolution towards a more environmentally friendly way of functioning as a whole. It is now obvious that environmentalism and social relations are inseparable if environmental problems are to be solved.
Morgane Graffion explained the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the Global Compact, an initiative set up in 2000 by the United Nations to encourage companies around the world to adopt more respectful and responsible practices. It is a framework based on ten principles relating to human rights, the environment, international labor standards, and the fight against corruption.
In this Global Compact, the UN advocates 17 goals, which vary according to the areas where the company is located and the sectors of activity. These SDGs include decent work, gender equality, quality education, peace, justice, and strong institutions, the use of clean energy, respect for life on land and below water, responsible consumption and production, and sustainable cities and communities. Although the Global Compact now concerns not only companies all stakeholders in civil society, and cities, but also NGOs and trade unions, concrete commitments at the global level are still far from sufficient.
Involvement Is Still Far Too Slow and Reserved
In the annual SDG ranking, France has moved up to 4th place, behind the Scandinavian countries. EU countries on the whole are fairly well ranked as well, but the overall picture is alarming: there is still a huge amount of work to be done across the planet to bring about a lasting change in mentalities and in-depth changes in legislation. In fact, it is crucial, in this undeniable emergency, that partnerships be created between private companies and public institutions.
Global Compact's mandate is to get companies moving, to motivate them to commit to this approach by incorporating its principles into their practices, and to support them in this ecological transition, which could generate millions of jobs. Above all, however, there is a need for global awareness, because for the time being, these SDGs are still only recommendations, and are non-binding. António Guterres, UN Secretary General since January 1, 2017, believes that the countries “are following a bad trajectory”, which must be corrected as soon as possible in the face of the decisive challenges of climate change and the inequalities that exist between States, but also within many countries. He insists that absolutely everyone needs to act.
EurOasis: A Local Initiative
Philippe Kuhn represents EurOasis, a Strasbourg citizen collective that he co-founded and which was born out of a common and growing concern about ecological transition. He introduced the various projects conceived, and for some of them already carried out, by this collective, which aims to rethink everyone's behaviour through more environmentally friendly lifestyle choices and well-reasoned consumption patterns.
EurOasis' projects include creating a micro-crèche, a coworking area, and an alternative school, but also running training courses on the theme of ecological transition, artists' residencies, and creating a dining area featuring solely products from agroecological gardens.
An interesting, dynamic, and inspiring local initiative, which enthused the audience at this conference as well as Pia Imbs who, in her conclusion, underlined the importance of leaders’ willingness to participate in this vast societal project, but also the importance of raising awareness among citizens around the world of the environmental disaster we are witnessing and which must be stopped at all costs as soon as possible.