“No plan B because there is no planet b!”

Ban Ki-moon put it best. “We don’t have a plan B because there is no planet B.” The former chief of the United Nations was talking about mankind’s need to transform the world. Where, though, should the human race begin? We are surrounded by hurting people on a hurting planet. Which priorities should we follow? What goals should we target?

The United Nations gathered its 193 countries to discuss this, along with NGOs, companies, academics and other experts. 2015 had marked the completion of the Millennium Development Goals and the world wanted a further set to serve as lodestars, going forward. After 18 months, they came up with 17 global goals for the world to address by 2030. They call them the Sustainable Development Goals: the SDGs.

Through Crossroads’ Global Hand service, our IT team continued to partner with the UN through further iterations of a website that brings them all together: www.business.un.org

On September 24th, 2015, the day the SDGs were launched, the revised website was launched as well. That marked our tenth year of partnership with the UN on this project.

During the current period, we saw a wide range of corporate engagement through this website’s varying services.


During the year, 36 major corporate commitments were published toward fulfilling the SDGs. Examples include companies from the following sectors:

  • Health Care: Novartis made commitment to cut greenhouse gas use to 50% of 2010 levels.
  • Industrial: Novozymes made commitment to save 100 million tons of CO2 by 2020.
  • Telecommunications: Schneider Electronics made commitment to reduce operational CO2 emissions and factor CO2 minimising into all new large customer projects.
  • Energy: ENEL planned to invest Euro 8.8 billion from 2015-2019 into renewable energy. This will make it the largest renewable energy operator in Africa.
  • Construction: STET made commitment to replace water intensive mineral process with waterless and low emission technologies.
  • Retail: H&M made commitment to purchase energy from renewable sources, expecting that to be 80% of their current usage.


As the world grapples with a refugee challenge of unprecedented size and scope, companies used the website to make pledges in response. During this period 38 significant pledges were published totaling an estimated US$22 million. Following are a few examples.

  • Deutsche Telecom pledged shelter location, provision of Wifi and pre-paid data cards and internship positions for refugees.
  • Bayer pledged to establishing apprenticeship opportunities.
  • Bosch group pledged funding, refugee internships and land for construction of refugee centres.
  • Sinofi pledged funding for partners supporting refugees.
  • Man Group pledged funding for partners helping refugee children.
  • Evonik Industries pledged funding toward vocational training and language proficiency.
  • Tesco pledged funding for refugees through British Red Cross.
  • Several universities and post graduate schools offered scholarships to post graduate refugees.


During this period, 36 corporate projects were posted on the UN site. The postings detail the project’s vision and objectives and, while each stands alone, they also invite other organisatons to partner or collaborate in the fulfilment of their objectives. The estimated expenditure for the year is over US$30 million. There is a massive range of projects and objectives, representing many sectors of society. Here is a sampling.

  • Education for refugee children
  • Monitoring health of coral reefs
  • Midwife care to reduce maternal and neo natal deaths in Asia, Africa and Latin America
  • Reduction of water losses in Brazil’s elimination system
  • Elimination of sleeping sickness
  • Broadening the use of sugar cane based plastics, reducing the need for fossil fuels
  • Elimination of avoidable blindness through provision of affordable, subsidised surgical procedures or medical care
  • Grain garnering partnership to scale up core value chain activities such as warehousing, production, and logistics, so empowering small volume maize farmers

Our team developed a new iteration of business.un.org to incorporate the Sustainable Development Goals. Matthew Gow, Crossroads’ Director of Strategy, managed the project, along with earlier iterations, and represented Crossroads at the UN Global Compact’s 2016 summit.


Poverty and environmental degradation are tragically linked. Several of the SDGs relate directly to environmental sustainability.wind-farm-538576

What do we offer companies at crossroads?

  • Inspiration through our simulation x-periences of need
  • Off sites and team builds on our campus
  • Modest conference facilities for company discussion/training
  • Catering: a ‘dining with the poor’ lunch, if ordered
  • Partnership brokering
  • Volunteer opportunities: skilled or non-skilled based

Email enquiries@crossroads.org.hk to get connected!

Global Hand Chinese translation team receive Online Volunteering Award To mark International Volunteers Day on 4th December, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme announced the winners of the “Online Volunteering Award 2010”, honouring the ‘outstanding’ contributions of volunteers who work entirely over the Internet to contribute to peace and development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Global Hand’s Chinese translation team of four online volunteers was one of the recipients of the Award, for their work translating business.un.org into Chinese. An excerpt, below, from the UNV website, outlines their work. Read the full story or the Online Volunteering press release.

Within three months, a team of four online volunteers translated more than 150 documents of the UN-Business partnership gateway www.business.un.org into Chinese. The portal, developed for the UN by the Hong-Kong-based NGO Global Hand, matches the needs of UN organizations with the resources and capacities of the private sector to address global challenges. The launch of the Chinese version together with the other official UN languages at the 2010 Global Compact Leaders’ Summit in New York was a key step towards the portal’s global outreach.

The Chinese website will enhance the brokerage of partnerships between Chinese companies and the UN in support of critical humanitarian needs and long-term development goals. Through approximately 110 partnership stories translated by the online volunteers, Chinese companies can find inspiration on how they can engage with the UN.

Olivia Cho, who coordinated Global Hand’s collaboration with the volunteers, states that “the online volunteers showed an exceptional level of team work that really astounded us, as well as a high-level of expertise and commitment. They were extremely thorough and brilliant at communicating, always responding promptly to questions and new instructions. We encouraged the team to discuss their challenges and work together on addressing difficult words or phrases. This added an additional layer of consistency across the project, helped the team move forward faster, and enhanced motivation for the whole team”. 

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