The Make-or-Break Decade for the SDGs has begun

Despite some successes in development and environmental politics, progress is far from sufficient to achieve real sustainable development. We know that the 2020s are the make-or-break years. In the new 2021 edition of the Global Goals Yearbook we discuss barriers and solutions.

We are experiencing the all-goes-with-everything crisis: climate change, pandemics, zoonoses, species extinction, shrinking resources, a widening gap between rich and poor, digitalization, disruptions in the economy, the rise of populists and autocrats, among others.

In our current issue of the Global Goals Yearbook, we examine the called-for Decade of Action on three levels:

1. Framing the debate

In this section, we trace how the sustainability debate has evolved from an inequality discourse to an equity discourse. Such models of justice need rules and policy prescriptions. We therefore report on the Green New Deals in Europe and the United States and the introduction of metrics, reporting standards, and the expanded concept of materiality. Common to all aspects is the attempt to translate the broad field of sustainability into numbers. After all, numbers are considered facts, they can be checked, and that is how judgments can be made. In the second part, we look at the question of concrete implementation in operational management processes and internal control systems.

2. Zooming in

The pandemic has revealed the vulnerability of the interconnected world: Building up the economy in the form it was before the pandemic is no option. The economic recovery plans offer a true chance for sustainable transformation in the sense of the UN development goals. We have defined the eight transformation areas that we will explore more actively. All best practices will be assigned to these topics. In this edition we will cover the aspects of sustainable purpose, “leave no one behind,” the circular economy, net-zero strategies, and sustainable cities.

3. Looking around

We will only solve global challenges together. This requires a solidary and cooperative world community. The concept of “rule of law” is therefore regarded as a guiding principle in international politics. It finds its concrete expression in multilateralism. In this Yearbook, we shed light on the origins and development of this concept. Although multilateralism has suffered considerably recently – not only, but also because of ex-President Trump. EU Commissioner Joseph Borell therefore explores the question of how to revive multilateralism in a multipolar world. Finally, Stefan Brunnhuber of the Club of Rome looks at the tensions between democracies and autocracies and their ability to find solutions to Agenda 2030.



Global Goals Yearbook 2021: The Make-or-Break Decade has begun
Publishing house: macondo publishing, Muenster 2021: 152 pages
ISBN-13: 978-3-946284-11-6


Read E-Book edition here

Planet under Pressure

The 2020s are the make-or-break decade for Sustainability. But Covid-19 questions almost everything. How can we handle increasingly frequent shocks? What can a resilient society and economy that is in line with planetary boundaries look like? These and many other questions are discussed in the new 2020 edition of the Global Goals Yearbook titled „Planet under Pressure“. The Yearbook supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals and is one of the publications in strong international demand.

The Covid-19 pandemic is keeping the world in suspense in 2020 and beyond. By declaring a “lockdown,” countries around the world have temporarily frozen their social, economic, and cultural lives in order to slow the spread of the virus. When such unexpected events occur, experts speak of “asymmetric shocks.” If such crisis-like external influences are to a certain extent unavoidable, then the logical question is: What about our ability to adapt to such shocks? The ideas of vulnerability and resilience have recently gained a high level of prominence in the current economic and political debates. Specifically “resilience” has become a standard term in the OECD, the EU, and the G20 conference formats.

Purely in terms of the number of mentions, the concept of “resilience” is in the process of supplanting that of “sustainability” due to the frequency with which it is being used in (economic) political discourse. The term also runs the risk of becoming a filler word to give new emphasis to old demands.


Living with the crisis: “The new normal“?


However, the pandemic is not the only crisis in recent times: The last decade has been characterized by a whole series of severe shocks. The intervals between them appear to be getting shorter and shorter: the financial crisis in 2008/2009, the refugee crisis in 2015, Brexit (and, as a result, an EU integration crisis), unbelievable losses of biodiversity, increases in extreme weather events due to climate change, to name but a few.

And it will not be the last crisis: In the aftermath of the lockdown, there are already signs of an impending global food crisis that is due to destroy supply chains, and a debt crisis – right up to national bankruptcy – due to the economic consequences of the pandemic.


How does resilience work in practice?


The answers to these developments will be crucial in determining the strategies for the post–Covid-19 world. From a transformation point of view, the moment when there is less stability is the moment when there is a potential for much deeper and stronger change. Everybody feels that the future is much more open than it used to be. How that moment of instability is used depends on who is putting forward what kind of ideas, who has influence, and who gets more to say and to decide. A very vivid panel discussion with Emily Auckland (UKSSD), Julian Hill-Landolt (WBCSD), Maja Goepel (Scientists for Future), and Pietro Bertazzi (CDP) clearly shows the connection between sustainability, crisis, reconstruction, and pitfalls.

An exclusive interview with EU Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni, who is responsible for economic affairs as well as the SDGs, highlights the link between society, economy, and the environment. We talk about state opportunities, global interdependencies, and the dilemma of sustainability as a community and generational task.

This brings us to the important point that crises not only change systems, but also the people in the system. If acceleration is the problem, then the solution, argues the well-known sociologist Hartmut Rosa, lies in “resonance.” The quality of a human life cannot be measured simply in terms of resources, options, and moments of happiness, Rosa explains in an interview in this Yearbook. Instead, we must consider our resonance with the world.

The other aspect is health: As habitat and biodiversity losses increase globally, the novel coronavirus outbreak may be just the beginning of mass pandemics, says John Vidal. In his article, he warns that we are creating conditions for diseases such as Covid-19 to emerge.


Global Goals Yearbook 2020: Planet under Pressure

Publisher: Elmer Lenzen
Publishing house: macondo publishing, Muenster 2020: 164 pages
ISBN-13: 978-3-946284-09-3

Global Goals Forum: Nachhaltigkeit in Zeiten von Krisen und Konflikten

Ob Brexit, Handelskonflikte, Populismus und Wirtschaftsabschwung – Unversöhnlichkeit und Unvorhersehbarkeit sind Signaturen unserer Zeit. Zugleich brauchen wir dringender denn je nachhaltige Lösungen: sei es in Klimafragen, bei Verteilungsgerechtigkeit oder dem Umbau der Wirtschaft. Unter dem Titel „Agenda 2030: Läuft uns die Zeit davon?“ diskutierten darüber Experten vor 370 Gästen beim Global Goals Forum am 10. Oktober in Berlin.

Etwas mehr als zehn Jahre bleiben noch zur Umsetzung der Agenda 2030 und der globalen Nachhaltigkeitsziele, den SDGs. Aus diesem Anlass hatten die macondo foundation und das Deutsche Global Compact Netzwerk (DGCN) nach Berlin zum Global Goals Forum eingeladen. Das Forum zog eine Bilanz über die Fortschritte und den Handlungsbedarf in der Umsetzung der SDGs vier Jahre nach ihrer Verabschiedung durch die Weltgemeinschaft.

Marlehn Thieme, Vorsitzende des Rates für Nachhaltige Entwicklung, betonte hierbei die Dringlichkeit des Klimaschutzes: „Transformation ohne Ehrgeiz ist nur eine hohle Geste. Wer die schwarze Null langfristig halten will, muss die grüne Null heute wollen und einkalkulieren. Wir brauchen nicht mehr Ausgaben für Nachhaltigkeit, keine höhere Staatsquote – aber einen konsequent an den SDGs ausgerichteten Haushalt.“ Zugleich kritisierte sie die Ergebnisse des UN Klimagipfels im September in New York: „Einen gemeinsamen Fahrplan zur Erreichung des Zieles, die globale Klimaerwärmung auf 1,5°C zu begrenzen gibt es nicht.“

Elmer Lenzen, Geschäftsführer der macondo foundation, hob die Rolle des Multilateralismus hervor: „Multilateralismus heißt: Das Powerplay der großen Mächte wird ersetzt durch Regeln, denen sich alle unterwerfen. Jeder gibt und jeder bekommt.“ Zugleich warnte Lenzen davor, gesellschaftlich notwendige Veränderungen als reines Weiter-So zu denken: „Nostalgie ist auf diesem Weg ein schlechter Ratgeber. Alternde Gesellschaften mögen sich die Zukunft als Vergangenheit 2.0 wünschen.“

Profit and Purpose – An (im)perfect match?

What are companies for? The rules for companies have changed. The focus is increasingly on their sustainable, social, and ecological impacts. The strategic orientation toward the so-called corporate purpose is decisive for profitable growth in the future.


This currently results in a large number of questions for businesses: How do you find an inspiring and future-oriented corporate purpose, and how can it be aligned in such a way that it brings profitable growth and social responsibility in concert? The new 2019 edition of the Global Goals Yearbook offers answers to these crucial questions thanks to its consistent orientation toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals and a competent editorial board and author pool.


The driver of development is to a large extent competition for the best minds. But it is not only the human resources departments that are pushing the topic. Experts speak instead of “inclusive capitalism” and urge that all stakeholders be taken along, including boards of management, customers, and even fund managers. Responsible businesses have governance structures that monitor and advise on environmental, social, as well as financial issues. When leaders understand and thrive within the broader social and environmental con- texts in which their businesses operate, it signals to employees, investors, and key stakeholders just how important purpose really is.


What is business for? What role does and should business play in society? To what extent should it perform a public purpose alongside its commercial activities? How should the aspirations of humanity, as set out in the Sustainable Development Goals, be reflected in the objectives of business? John Elkington, doyen of the sustainability community, together with Richard Roberts writes: “Being a little more ‘sustainable’ than your peers will do little to insulate a company from external shocks caused by extreme weather or extreme politics. So companies are going to have to step up to become much more active and effective agents of systems change, unless they are content simply to be passengers on a voyage captained by the ghost of Milton Friedman, which appears to be headed toward the mother of all icebergs.”


This realignment is taking place in turbulent times. Planning was yesterday. Today we are constantly exposed to new surprises, and the biggest uncertainty factor is politics. Is an era of instability beginning? Uncertainty is not good. It disturbs our planning. That is a significant problem for the economy, for entire societies, and for each individual. Growing levels of uncertainty mean that our picture of the future is becoming increasingly blurred, which has an impact on economic development. Citizens and businesses are holding back, purchases are being postponed, and investment plans are being cut back.


Climate change will have the greatest impact on those living in poverty, but it also threatens democracy and human rights, according to an UN expert. “Even if current targets are met, tens of millions will be impoverished, leading to wide- spread displacement and hunger,” says the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston. „We risk a ‘climate apartheid’ scenario, where the wealthy pay to escape overheating, hunger, and conflict while the rest of the world is left to suffer.”


Global Goals Yearbook 2019
Münster 2019: macondo publishing, 172 pages
ISBN: 978-3-946284-07-9

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Global Goals Yearbook on Partnership Becomes a Medalist for US Book Award

The latest edition of the Global Goals Yearbook 2018, covering „Partnership for the Goals“, has won the bronze medal at the 12th Axiom Business Book Awards. The yearbook finished third in the category “Business Ethics” behind the new book of Harvard authority Clayton M. Christensen.


Presenting the Global Goals Yearbook 2018, with a Focus on Partnerships for the Goals

The future of the United Nations is more uncertain now than at any time before. Like his predecessors, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has promised to reform the United Nations. The drivers are two major agreements: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Accord. Both stand for a move away from statal, top-down multilateralism and toward a new form of partnership between the public and private sectors as well as civil society. But how can these new partnerships for the Global Goals look like? This is the main topic of the Global Goals Yearbook 2018, published under the auspices of the macondo foundation.
Our world is truly not sustainable at this time. To make the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development a success story, we need an enormous increase in effort. This cannot happen without help from the private sector. But businesses need a reason to contribute as well as attractive partnerships that are based on win-win constellations.

We have no alternative but to rethink the role that public–private partnerships can play in this effort. That is why United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres is calling upon UN entities to strengthen and better align their private-sector engagement. In every change there is a new chance.

The Global Goals Yearbook 2018 discusses the many aspects of how private-sector engagement can be improved. Recommendations are, among other things, to revise multilateralism, partnership models, and processes as well as to invest more in trust, a failure culture, as well as metrics and monitoring.

When businesses engage in partnerships for the Goals, this is more than just signing checks. It means inserting the “do good” imperative of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into corporate culture, business cases, innovation cycles, investor relationships, and, of course, the daily management processes and (extra-)financial reporting.

The Yearbook includes arguments from academic and business experts, the World Bank, and the Club of Rome, as well as UN entities, among them UNDP, UNSSC, UNOPS, UN JIU, and UN DESA.

A core question concerns financing partnerships.

Sustainable development requires sustainable financing. UN sources estimate the need for financing the SDGs to be from $4 to 4.5 trillion annually. Current annual investments total about $1.5 trillion. So we are talking about an annual investment gap of $2.5 to $3 trillion. To close this gap, financing from private sources is needed, including from capital markets, institutional investors, and businesses.

With private-sector engagement, not only does a new player enter the arena, but also new rules are being applied: “Financing” is a fundamentally different concept than the traditional idea of “funding.” It connects the “return on investment” concept with the SDGs. The question is: How do we combine social benefits with profit?

Good practices.
Corresponding to the idea of learning from role models, the Global Goals Yearbook 2018 includes 39 good practices of corporate participants that showcase different approaches to the implementation of the SDGs.

Global Goals Yearbook 2018

Münster 2018: macondo publishing, 172 pages
ISBN: 978-3-946284-05-5
Sales Price: 25,00 EUR

About the Global Goals Yearbook:

The Global Goals Yearbook is a publication in support of the SDGs and the advancement of corporate sustainability globally. It offers proactive and in-depth information on key sustainability issues and promotes unique and comprehensive knowledge-exchange and learning in the spirit of the SDGs and the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact. The Global Goals Yearbook helps to advance corporate transparency, promotes the sharing of good business practices, and, perhaps most significantly, gives a strong voice to the regional and global stakeholders that are at the heart of the sustainability agenda.

Yearbook Recognized As UN Flagship Publication

2017 Yearbook Edition “Sustainability in Troubled Times” Recognized As UN Flagship Publication

The 2017 edition of the Global Compact International Yearbook, titled “Sustainability in Troubled Times,” was officially recognized as a UN flagship publication at the conference on “Public–Private Partnerships for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (Geneva, April 10 – 13, 2018). Dr. Elmer Lenzen, Chair of the macondo foundation, which is the patron of the Global Goals Yearbook, emphasized in his acceptance speech the significant role that the partnerships between the United Nations and the private sector must play to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda.


Nachhaltigkeit in unsicheren Zeiten: Global Compact International Yearbook 2017

Wir leben in Zeiten der Unsicherheit und globaler (Un)Ordnung. „Das Verständnis von globalen Trends ist essenziell. Wir leben in Zeiten der vielfachen und sich gegenseitig verstärkenden Veränderungen“, so UN-Generalsekretär Antonio Guterres. „Durch diese geopolitischen, demografischen, klimatischen, technischen, sozialen und ökonomischen Kräfte steigen sowohl die Bedrohungen als auch die Möglichkeiten ins Unermessliche.“ Nachhaltigkeit in unsicheren Zeiten steht daher im Mittelpunkt des Global Compact International Yearbook 2017.

Im Vorwort wirft Elmer Lenzen, Herausgeber des Global Compact International Yearbook, einen kritischen Blick auf die Beziehung zwischen Demokratie und Globalisierung. Jahrzehntelang galt das Zusammenspiel dieser Faktoren als Erfolgsformel, jetzt durchleben beide Bereiche eine kritische Phase. UN Global Compact Gründungsdirektor Georg Kell und Princeton-Professor Larry Diamond, beides hoch angesehene Experten auf diesem Gebiet, beschreiben einige Gründe für dieses Phänomen in einem ausführlichen Interview. Eine der Erklärungen ist, dass die heutige Welt in immer kleinere Teile zersplittert. Wie kann Nachhaltigkeit in solchen Zeiten funktionieren? Es könne gelingen, wenn wir die Vorzüge der Zukunft nutzen um uns auf die Bedürfnisse der Gegenwart zu fokussieren, ohne dabei die Möglichkeiten der Zukunft einzuschränken, argumentiert Richard Roberts in einem Gastbeitrag. In kritischen Zeiten das richtige zu tun ist aber auch immer eine Frage der Einstellung. Der Unternehmer Richard Branson und die Schauspieler Colin Firth und Marion Cotillard zeigen jeweils auf ihre eigene Weise, dass Nachhaltigkeit immer auch Authentizität bedeutet.

Weitere Themen der neuen Jahrbuchausgabe sind:

Nach dem Klimaabkommen von Paris: Was nun?

Das Klimaabkommen von Paris war einer der größten diplomatischen Errungenschaften der Vereinten Nationen in den vergangenen Jahren. Es steht für die Vision des Multilateralismus und die Fähigkeit der globalen Gemeinschaft, sich ambitionierte Ziele zu setzen. Die Richtung, die die neue Trump-Administration einschlägt, ist daher irritierend, vor allem weil es keinen Ausweg aus der Situation gibt. Das derzeitige Momentum muss aufrecht erhalten werden, mahnt deshalb der CDP-Vorsitzende Paul Simpson in seinem Beitrag. Viele neue Trends bei der Finanzierung des Klimawandels unterstützen diese These. Die fossile Industrie verliert demnach an Boden, weil die erneuerbaren Energien längst wettbewerbsfähig g geworden sind und aufschließen. Dass Unternehmen davon profitieren können, zeigt unter anderem die neue Science Based Targets Initiative des Global Compact.

Das Plastik-Versprechen
Die weltweite Verschmutzung durch Plastik erdrückt unseren Planeten: Bis zu 12,7 Millionen Tonnen Plastik landen jedes Jahr in den Weltmeeren und bedrohen wertvolle Ökosysteme und gefährden die menschliche Gesundheit. Aber so muss es nicht bleiben: Immer mehr Firmen versprechen, ihren Plastikkonsum zu reduzieren.

Die Sustainable Development Goals in Japan

Ein wichtiger Aspekt der Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ist es, dass niemand zurückgelassen wird. Die Kooperation von Regierungen und dem privaten Sektor über die Grenzen der Nationalstaaten ist hierfür unerlässlich. Durch seine Führungsrolle auf dem Gebiet der technologische Innovation – eine der wichtigsten Antriebskräfte der SDGs – hat Japan das Potenzial auch beim Erreichen dieses gemeinsamen Zieles voran zu gehen. Mithilfe eines Berichts des japanischen Wirtschaftsministers, sowie des Columbia-University-Professors Jeffrey D. Sachs und einer gemiensame Studie von IGES und Global Compact Netzwerkes Japan versucht dieses Jahrbuch erstmalig, einen Überblick über die wichtigsten Akteure innerhalb Japans zu schaffen und wirft einen Blick auf die länderübergreifenden Zusammenarbeit, die notwendig ist um den Staat in diese Rolle hineinwachsen zu lassen.

37 Best Practice Beispiele

Um das gegenseitige Lernen zu fördern beinhaltet das Global Compact International Yearbook 37 bewährte Praktiken von Teilnehmern, die auf unterschiedliche Art und Weise an die Umsetzung der zehn Global Compact Prinzipien und der Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) herangehen.


The Global Compact International Yearbook 2017

Münster/New York 2017: 172 pages, paperback
macondo publishing/UN Publications
Subscription: 30.00 USD
ISBN 13: 978-3-946284-03-1
ISSN-Print: 2365-3396
ISSN-Internet: 2365-340x

Silber-Medaille für das Global Compact International Yearbook 2016

Das Global Compact International Yearbook 2016 hat bei der diesjährigen Verleihung des prestigeträchtigen zehnten Axiom Business Book Awards die Silber-Medaille gewonnen. Die gemeinsame Publikation von macondo publishing und United Nations Publications belegte den zweiten Platz in der Kategorie „Philantrophie/ Nonprofit/ Nachhaltigkeit“. Den ersten Platz belegte Greenleaf Publishing.


Global Compact International Yearbook 2016 published

The idea of sustainability is based on the certitude that we have planetary boundaries. The WWF vividly illustrates this with “Earth Overshoot Day.” It describes the day of the year on which human demands on natural resources exceed the capacity of the earth to reproduce these resources.

„We need new ways of living that will end the suffering, discrimination and lack of opportunity that define the lives of billions of people around the world, and that drive instability and conflict,“ says Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary General in his note in the new „Global Compact International Yearbook“, edition 2016.

What does this mean for corporate sustainability? Business must fit into planetary boundaries. This probably will not work with traditional business models. That is why we need new, fresh ideas. We need change, even when it happens in a rough, disruptive way, and the earlier the better. When you talk about the Sustainable Development Goals, you have to talk about sustainable innovation. The SDGs are the agenda, innovation is the pathway.

The focus theme of the Global Compact International Yearbook 2016 therefore is sustainable innovation, dividing the topic into the chapters disruption, decarbonization, talents and future markets. This categorization corresponds to this years SDG approach of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Other issues of the yearbook are:


Be the change that you wish to see in the world, Mahatma Ghandi said. In a time of profound political, environmental, and social upheavals, examples are more important than ever. In our category “Changemaker,” we introduce women and men who are making credible contributions to sustainable development. Most of us desire change, but there is only a small group of people who are acting to make that change happen. That makes them exceptional. And we are proud to introduce them through interviews and individual profiles.

With interviews and portraits of

•    Angelina Jolie
•    Alejandro Aravena
•    Navi Radjou
•    Robert Redford
•    Sigourney Weaver
•    Peter Singer
•    Mina Guli
•    Kevin McCloud

Cities of the future

To navigate the big challenges of the next decades, cities must be innovative, flexible, livable, and sustainable. By 2050, seven out of ten people on earth will live in cities. Urban living will be the norm, but life for many of these roughly 6 billion people will be everything else but normal. Water, waste, and transportation problems; the lack of housing, jobs, and security; and access to education, participation, and information will be just some of the challenges.

Future cities will not automatically be romantic, smart, zero-emissions sites. It is rather hard work to make cities places worth living in. on the path, many questions have to be answered: Where will our food come from? How can we overcome gridlock? How can we motivate locals for sustainable lifestyles? Can we create sharing cities? What do green buildings and green neighborhoods look like? Answers to these and other questions are given in our section “City of the Future.”

Good Practices

Corresponding to the idea of mutual learning, the Global Compact International Yearbook includes 29 good practices of corporate participants that showcase different approaches to the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in accordance to the Ten Principles of the Global Compact. The Global Compact International Yearbook is a product of the macondo publishing and United Nation Publications in cooperation with the Global Compact Offices and networks around the world.


Münster/New York 2016: 164 pages, paperback
macondo publishing/UN Publications
Subscription: 30.00 USD (reg.) 15.00 USD (red.)
ISBN 13: 978-3-946284-01-7
ISSN-Print: 2365-3396
ISSN-Internet: 2365-340x

Free e-book edition

About the United Nations Global Compact International Yearbook

The Global Compact International Yearbook is a product of macondo publishing in support of the UN Global Compact and the advancement of corporate sustainability globally. The aim of the Yearbook is to create a global overview of the achievements of the UN Global Compact. As an independent publication, it offers proactive and in-depth information on key sustainability issues to stakeholders, and promotes unique and comprehensive knowledge-exchange and learning in the spirit of the Global Compact Principles. The publication helps to advance transparency, promotes the sharing of good practices, and provides a strong voice to the regional and global actors who are at the heart of the initiative.‐