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Published by: The_Ripper on Jan 29, 2009
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The 21stCentury NGOIn the Marketfor Change
SustainAbilityThe Global CompactUnited Nations Environment Programme
Executive Summary
Chapter 1
NGOs in the spotlight06
Chapter 2
Paradigm shift10
Chapter 3
The business of NGOs20
Chapter 4
Agenda 21: NGO governance26
Chapter 5
From market intelligence tointelligent markets36
Chapter 6
Bringing change to market46
Chapter 7
Conclusions andrecommendations52
Appendix 1
Centres of Excellence53
Appendix 2
Interviewees andWorkshop Participants55
Appendix 3
The 21st Century NG
is part of an ongoinglearning process for SustainAbility. Theextensive research that went into theproduction of this report has only beenpossible with the active help and support ofa wide variety of organizations andindividuals. Top of this group have been ourproject partners, namely Gavin Power andVivian Smith of the UN Global Compactteam, and Jacqueline Aloisi de Larderel andCornelis van der Lugt from the UnitedNations Environment Programme (UNEP).We are extremely grateful for the financialsupport of our strategic partners, NovoNordisk and VanCity Savings Credit Union,and also warmly thank our other sponsors,DuPont, Holcim and the InternationalFinance Corporation (IFC) for their generoussupport for the project.The four workshops that provided additionalmaterial for the project involved a widerange of actors. Here we would particularlylike to thank Vivian and Gavin for theirsupport in co-hosting the Porto Alegre WorldSocial Forum and New York City workshops,Rita Clifton at Interbrand for co-hosting ourLondon workshop, and Priscilla Boucher ofVanCity and Suzanne Hawkes of Impacs fortheir invaluable help in organizing the finalVancouver workshop.We are deeply indebted to our ProjectAdvisory Group, including Priscilla Boucher(VanCity Credit Savings Union), Jed Emerson(Hewlett Foundation), Barbara Fiorito (OxfamUSA), Vernon Jennings (Novo Nordisk), MiklosMarschall (Transparency International), VirafMehta (Partners in Change) and Simon Zadek(AccountAbility). They commented on earlydrafts of our white paper and then on thefinal report.Finally, we would like to thank Infonic fortheir research support, Catalysis for theirhelp with outreach as well as other membersof the SustainAbility Core Team, including inparticular Jodie Thorpe, Kavita Prakash-Mani,Tell Muenzing, Oliver Dudok van Heel, JudyKuszewski, Yasmin Crowther and Geoff Lyefor their help in organizing workshops,undertaking interviews and reviewingearly drafts.The research and conclusions presented inthis report have not been formally endorsedby the supporting organizations (listedabove) and consequently are the soleresponsibility of SustainAbility. Anyremaining errors of fact or judgement areSustainAbility’s. If you spot any, please letus know.DuPontNovo NordiskHolcimVanCity Savings Credit UnionInternational Finance Corporation
UNEP foreword
The first UN conference on the environmentin Stockholm in 1972 highlighted thatpollution knows no borders. Twenty yearslater at the Rio Earth Summit, the linkbetween environment and development wasmade. The Johannesburg Summit last yearreinforced the concept of sustainabledevelopment, highlighting the need for anew development model in our globalizedworld. It also emphasized the social andenvironmental responsibilities of thecorporate world.UNEP has been working with business andindustry for many years to engage differentsectors in an effort to advance sustainableproduction and consumption. We have beenhosting annual consultative meetings withtrade and industry associations since 1984,involving increasing numbers of NGOs andlabour organizations. These dialogues raisedawareness among associations of newchallenges and equipped them to catalysechange in their own ranks. UNEP helpedbring many key stakeholders to the table,providing a neutral platform for thediscussion of major issues. On manyoccasions, however, questions were raisedfrom various sides about the role andrepresentivity of different partners.In this publication SustainAbility builds onthe tradition developed in our
Engaging Stakeholders 
series of tackling the big issueshead on. So for example: how do NGOs goabout working with business? There is no‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. We are allconfronted with complex societal roles:the diversity of sustainable developmentrequires a diversity of approaches from allactors including NGOs.During sixteen years as head of UNEP DTIE,I have learned that we need to evolve ourshared vision, while keeping our feet on theground. This is why over this time I have soenjoyed the partnership with SustainAbilitywhich I hope has brought new ideas andnew light to the sustainability debate.
Jacqueline Aloisi de Larderel
Assistant Executive Director, UNEPDirector, UNEP DTIE (Division of Technology,Industry and Economics)
SustainAbility foreword
The 21st Century NGO 
represents the firstphase in a new round of our work on theagenda driven by NGOs —and on theemerging strategic, accountability andgovernance agendas for NGOs themselves.The report is partly an updating of workSustainAbility has been doing for more thana decade on evolving relationships betweenbusiness and civil society —and, in particular,between business and NGOs. But it is alsointended as a provocation, as anencouragement to NGOs to challenge theirown thinking, sense of mission and strategies.As we wrote the report, we imaginedourselves talking to NGOs and those whofund them, but we would hope that publicand private sector readers will also finduseful guidance on where the agenda maynow be headed. This is no longer a simplematter of reputational risk for such sectors,but of potential market drivers. As NGOs’expertise and contacts evolve, so theythemselves will come to be seen bythoughtful companies, investors andgovernment agencies as a source, direct orindirect, of market intelligence. The logic:if NGOs shape markets and markets shapecompanies, then companies that understandwhere key NGOs are headed may get the jump on their competitors.The report is based on a wide literaturereview, interviews with nearly 200 key peoplearound the world, and four workshops held inBrazil, Canada, the United Kingdom and theUnited States. In addition to thanking thosewho took part in the interviews (pages 53-54), we are enormously grateful to the UNGlobal Compact Team, the United NationsEnvironment Programme, our sponsors (NovoNordisk, VanCity, DuPont, Holcim and theInternational Finance Corporation), ourNGO partners and the wider project team.Thank you all.
Seb Beloe
Director, Research & Advocacy
John Elkington
Chair, SustainAbilitySeb Beloe John Elkington Katie Fry Hester Sue Newell Georg KellJacqueline Aloiside Larderel
UN Global Compact foreword
The strategic move by many non-governmental organizations to become activeplayers within market systems has profoundimplications for multi-stakeholder initiativesthat seek positive social and economicchange.For some civil society actors, confrontation,which has proved a highly effective meansfor raising awareness of critical issues, isbeing joined by cooperation with otherstakeholders, including business, to producesolutions to pressing global challenges.Much of this shift stems from the realizationthat many of today’s problems requiremulti-stakeholder responses. Moreover, theascendancy of markets demands that societalactors come to grips with today’s marketfundamentals in order to reach their goals.The UN Global Compact is an ambitiousexperiment in multi-stakeholdercollaboration intended to embed globalmarkets with universal principles aroundhuman rights, labour, and the environment.The findings of this report are important tothe Global Compact, which can succeed onlyif business, labour and civil society worktogether. Dozens of international NGOs arenow actively engaged in the Global Compact,in addition to numerous local NGOs —allworking as part of the Compact’s worldwidenetwork of stakeholders.In addition, this report will help informa high-level UN panel that is currentlyexamining the interaction between civilsociety and the UN system as a whole.We would like to applaud SustainAbilityfor once again stretching the boundariesof current thinking and thereby provokingnew debates and discussion. We are certainthat this new report will lead to a betterunderstanding of the critical trends anddynamics that are unfolding within thecivil society movement.
Georg Kell
Executive Head, UN Global CompactThe 21st Century NGO01

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