The Business of All People
By admin June 29, 2016

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The annual Cannes Lions, founded in 1954, is a widely publicized eight-day global event for the creative communications, advertising and other related fields. It is considered the largest gathering of worldwide advertising professionals, designers, digital innovators and marketers, this year with attendance rounding over 15,000 delegates from 100 countries. Late last week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on these professionals, the master storytellers of our time, to wage “’the biggest-ever campaign for humanity” in supporting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, an ambitious plan of action the UN has taken on that strives to address social, economic and environmental sustainable development. The fifteen-year plan draws out 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including ending poverty in al it forms everywhere, ending hunger, providing inclusive and equitable education, achieving gender equality, conserving and using environmental resources sustainably, addressing climate change and promoting peace.

The Secretary-General called on the six largest communication businesses in the world – Dentsu, Havas, IPG, Omnicom, Publicis, and WPP – to come together to launch Common Ground, an initiative to support the 2030 Agenda.  This new program will begin with a global advertising campaign which will be displayed on places donated by key businesses and thought leadership publications.  Additionally, the six groups agreed to provide a development fund for each of the winning ideas in the Cannes Young Lions Competition for sustainable development growth, which is the first the Young Lions will be given a development fund. Each group will take on a specific area of the SDGs over the coming year.

A joint statement from the CEOs of the six groups capitulates that the Sustainable Development Goals transcends private sector rivalry and that they are the “business of all businesses… and the business of all people”. The UN Under Secretary General for Communications and Public Information Cristina Gallach realizes that the UN cannot be in a relationships with the world without the world’s support, and that gaining that support will come from engaging the major PR and advertising companies that tremendously shape the world’s public opinions and actions. This partnership is a crucial step for the UN in utilizing commercial relationships, occupying media space and enabling and engaging youth in long-term goals that seem distant and abstract. The UN Secretary General hopes that in the short term, the 2030 agenda will be known by 2 billion people and mobilized by 1 million change agent. Moreover, the universality of the Common Ground program will not have country borders reinforcing the ubiquity of the UN’s notions.

The call to the private sector media for aid has implications for sustainable development in general. Sustainable development cannot be accomplished with only public and voluntary institutions. Private sector engagement in several industries will be necessary. The goals of sustainable development do not currently occupy popular media, and therefore do not occupy the minds of the public. The Common Ground initiative aims not only to penetrate a wider range of audience, but also encourage transparency and accountability in major global players. Because we can all agree it’s about time development uses the arm of the media to raise awareness for the issues confronting the 21st century.

To read more:

Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

In Cannes, Ban pitches ad agencies on Global Goals, announces ‘Common Ground’ partnership

How and why the ‘big six’ got behind the UN goals with Common Ground alliance

Ban Ki-moon Brings Together Advertising’s “Big Six” in Cannes

Ad Chiefs Unite to Support U.N. Sustainable Development Program

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