Making change happen: corporate volunteers’ impact in sustainable development

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On 5 December 2014, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York UNV celebrated the power and potential of corporate volunteering to better the world

The United Nations International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development (IVD), observed every 5 December, was established by the United Nations General Assembly through Resolution 40/212 of 17 December 1985. IVD is to commend volunteerism in all its facets and to pay a special tribute to people's participation in making a difference locally, nationally and globally.

To mark IVD 2014 in New York, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme gathered a group of volunteers, corporate volunteering actors, volunteer-involving organizations, and other stakeholders to bring to the attention of the international community the commitment of private sector to positively impact the implementation of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda through corporate volunteering.

Focusing on the recognition and celebration of corporate citizens' participation and engagement in making a difference through corporate volunteering, the event launched IMPACT 2030, a global collaboration between the United Nations (UN) and the private sector created to mobilize corporate volunteers to directly and substantially contribute to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Watch the video of the event  |  Read the IMPACT2030 Declaration

IMPACT 2030:

  • promotes dialogue and facilitate action among leaders through the voluntary efforts of employees;
  • showcases a declaration of commitments and actions of partners across sectors, and celebrate the dedication of employees around the globe to address the social and environmental issues facing the communities in which they live and work;
  • includes a variety of volunteer-involving organizations and other stakeholders (i.e. Member States, UN partners, and Corporate Volunteer Actors);
  • promotes awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals to the business community globally showcasing the critical role that corporate volunteering will play in the achievement of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

Corporate volunteering has great potential to address development challenges, and as such it has been recognized and encouraged by the UN in different occasions. UN General Assembly Resolution 66/67 "welcomes the expanding involvement of the private sector in support of volunteerism, and encourages its further engagement through the expansion of corporate volunteering and employee volunteer activities", and UN General Assembly Resolution 67/138 "encourages Member States to promote, where appropriate, further engagement of the private sector, through the expansion of corporate volunteering and employee volunteer activities, as well as increased coordination between the private and public sectors".

Over 90% of Fortune 500 companies report that they have formal employee volunteering and giving programs. Corporate volunteering can take many forms within an organization including individual employee efforts, as part of organized programs, or in partnership with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other civil society actors.