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The GCNSA has facilitated a private sector review of action to deliver the 2030 agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, as a contribution to the National Report tothe United Nations High Level Political Forum on the 17th July 2019.



Watch: Invitation to South African Businesses

An introduction to SDG’s voluntary national review and an invitation to participate.
Please spread the word to businesses about this opportunity to collaborate on a sustainable future.

Download the VNR 2019 Participation Briefing PDF

Mandate For Private Sector Participation

The Global Compact Network South Africa (GCNSA) is working with the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) to support the Presidency in the communication of how effectively South Africa Inc. is delivering the Sustainable Development Goals that underpin the 2030 Agenda for transformational change. This report is due to be delivered to the United Nations in New York in July 2019. The scope of the report includes the public sector, civil society and the private sector, with the Global Compact Network of South Africa being the partner responsible for reporting on the private sector.

The DPME, on behalf of the Presidency is asking four key questions:

  • How are businesses performing?
  • How is the Private Sector collaborating, and what is the impact?
  • How is business disclosing and communicating performance?
  • How aligned is the private sector on Sustainable Development Goal Priorities?

This is an opportunity to build a platform that unifies businesses, creating a foundation that builds solidarity, unifying private sector action with the National Development Plan, other public sector plans, as well as civil society and community initiatives.

Why Participate?

The United Nations Voluntary National Review process is a national process that will compact business, government and civil society to deliver the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the National Development Plan and Africa’s Agenda for 2063.

Transformational Impact

Unite business and government to find and strengthen initiatives that solve the key challenges facing South Africa. Collaborate on prioritised positive impact.

Show Our Growth Potential

Demonstrate a positive growth trajectory for South Africa to global stakeholders including UN members states, forums and investor platforms.

Define Opportunities

Identify and collaborate on creating a marketplace for the prioritisation of opportunities to innovate in a way that unifies private and public sector players.

Quotes from our Champions

SDG Mobilisation Plan

Time is limited. During February we will be registering participants for the process. Our current focus is to create awareness about the initiative and to ensure solid representation of the South African private sector.

Call to Action

All organisations interested are encouraged to sign up early and create awareness.

Telling Our Story

Participants work with the facilitation team on the VNR collaboration platform to input priorities and insights.

Define Opportunity

Participants collaborate on the agenda to understand synergies and to plan future action and partnerships.

Move Forward

South African VNR to the United Nations in July, followed by key mobilisation events for the South African Agenda.

Insights from Participants

Participating businesses will start the process by giving insights to the process that will shape the engagement agenda. Reporting will take place in March 2019. The information we are gathering is strategic, high level and designed to give a comparative view of priorities, challenges and opportunities. Tell your story.

More Information

Please find useful links to further information about the 2030 Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals and the UN Voluntary National Review process below. Members of the United Nations Global Compact are able to access the UNGC Academy for deeper insights.

Blueprint for Business Leadership on the SDGs →
About the 17 Sustainable Development Goals →
How to Embed the SDG's: A Toolkit →
About Voluntary National Reviews →
About the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact →
About the UN 2030 Agenda →
The UNGC Academy? →

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some of the questions that prospective participants are asking. If you have any further questions then please do let us know.

The UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative with 13,000 corporate participants and other stakeholders across 170 countries with two objectives: “Mainstream the ten principles in business activities around the world” and “Catalyse actions in support of broader UN goals, such as the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”. You can find out more at the website:

The Global Compact Network South Africa is a member based corporate sustainability platform that brings companies together with labour organisations, academic institutions, cities, non-governmental organisations and UN agencies. The GCNSA works collectively with members to advance the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the UNGC Ten Principles on human rights, labour protection, environmental protection and anti-corruption. You can find out more at our website:

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was launched by a UN Summit in New York on 25-27 September 2015 and is aimed at ending poverty in all its forms. The UN 2030 Agenda envisages “a world of universal respect for human rights and human dignity, the rule of law, justice, equality and non-discrimination”. You can find out more at the website:

Achieving all 169 targets would signal accomplishing all 17 goals. The SDGs cover social and economic development issues including poverty, hunger, health, education, global warming, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, urbanization, environment and social justice. You can find out more at the website:

The Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact. Corporate sustainability starts with a company’s value system and a principles-based approach to doing business. This means operating in ways that, at a minimum, meet fundamental responsibilities in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. You can find out more at the website:

The DPME approved that the GCN SA would be the private sector faciltitator of the VNR process in December 2019. In January 2019, the inaugural VNR Champions Round Table was convened to mobilise and process. This round table was attended by the following organisations: ABB Group, ABSA, Anglo American, AngloGold Ashanti, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), JSE, Narrative Labs, the National Business Initiative (NBI), Old Mutual, SAPPI, Sasol, Scatec Solar, Shared Value Africa Initiative, UN Human Rights Commission, and the UNFPA. Since then, further organisations have committed to participation. For information about the GCN SA membership, please visit our website:  

Please contact Dr Achieng Ojwang, Executive Director of the GCN SA for further information about the VNR:

the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development encourages member states to conduct regular and inclusive reviews of progress, which are country-led and country-driven. These national reviews serve as a basis for the regular reviews at the UN Economic and Social Council. Reviews are voluntary, state-led, undertaken by both developed and developing countries, and involve multiple stakeholders. It will be the first time that South Africa has undertaken a Voluntary National Review.

There is a participation cost of R50,000 in order to fund the cost of reporting and the production of individual and consolidated outputs. The fee also includes the cost of events and webinars. Bigger organisations are offering to sponsor smaller businesses that form part of their ecosystem, to ensure well rounded participation of companies of different sizes. Additionally, further avenues of funding are being investigated. There are options for organisations to contribute subject matter expertise, tools and other services.

Participation in the reporting process will give your organisation access to the VNR collaboration platform and process which will deliver an individual report, as well as input to the consolidated VNR report. CEO and leader quotations will be utilised in awareness communications about the South African transformation work associated with the 2030 Agenda. Additionally, each participant will input to and receive a 3-minute UN Global Compact branded case study about the positive impact it is making. These will be hosted on the GCN SA website and can be shared on social media and company websites. The fee also includes 3 key events during the process, and access to webinars and virtual forums that arise as a part of the 2030 Agenda. Most importantly, participation is the opportunity to collaborate with key private and public sector stakeholders on priorities for the South African National Development Plan and other initiatives designed to transform and innovate South Africa. These agendas are critical to showcasing South Africa as a country with a prioritised plan for overcoming the challenges of today to ensure growth and a better future.

South Africa is unique in a global context because of its commitment to broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE). Stakeholders in the domestic and international community are largely unaware of the work being done in the private sector to accelerate transformation due to poor reporting and compliance. The VNR process is designed to tell a story, rather than report on numbers, and is an opportunity to demonstrate how larger organisations are investing in suppliers, economic development and socio-economic initiatives. Champion participants have indicated that there is a strong case for making the positive contributions of South African business more transparent. By including companies from your business ecosystem, further richer case studies can be exposed, demonstrating the dynamics of transformation, providing role model examples for positive change.

There are many organisations that have capabilities, processes and tools that can accelerate sustainable development in other businesses, making transformation and sustainability easier for new adopters. Additionally, there are many organisations that offer services in the sustainability space. The VNR is an opportunity to highlight and share existing capabilities and service offerings, creating a marketplace. If your organisation would like to contribute that would enrich the process, please let us know.

The baselined reporting process was designed based on the vision of the DPME for a best practice reporting methodology that is inclusive of all sectors and stakeholders. Best practice global reports were analysed into a prototype methodology which is currently under testing with Champion participants who are piloting the process to ensure it is practical, effective and in line with the objectives and aim of the VNR initiative.