High-Level Roundtable: Beyond the Bottom Line

How can family business advance the sustainability agenda?
in partnership with the Family Business Network (FBN)
Session Type
Room number
WIF Virtual Platform, room 7
Contact Email
18 October 2021
13:45 - 15:00 Europe/Zurich

To deliver on the SDGs by 2030, an ambitious global effort is required over the next decade to accelerate sustainable solutions to the world’s economic, and also environmental, social and governance (ESG) challenges. Two thirds of businesses worldwide are owned or managed by families, employing 60% of the world’s workforce and contributing over 70% of global GDP. Family businesses are key actors in ensuring a transformative and sustainable future to create a shared prosperity for all, mobilize investment in sustainable development and define success across generations. Increasingly, family-owned enterprises around the globe are embedding sustainability in their business practices.

Family businesses need to be empowered to maximize their potential and seize the untapped opportunities associated with embracing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As a first-of-its-kind partnership between the United Nations and the global family business community, UNCTAD and FBN jointly developed the global initiative Family Business for Sustainable Development (FBSD). Its ambitious package of deliverables aims at mobilizing business families and their firms to embed sustainability into their business strategies, thereby committing to concrete, measurable contributions towards the SDGs.

Key components of the FBSD initiative include, among others, the family business sustainability pledge and the adoption of transparent and comparable core sustainability indicators for family firm reporting and a capacity-building programme.

A high-level panel of speakers will explore how family business can advance the sustainability agenda and provide lead examples of business families that are addressing ESG challenges.

Issues to be addressed

  • What are the key drivers for family firms to adopt the sustainability agenda?
  • Is there a business narrative for adopting sustainability practices in privately held firms?
  • Are the SDGs a fitting blueprint for fostering sustainability among family businesses?


Director, Division on Investment and Enterprise, UNCTAD and Lead, UNCTAD World Investment Forum
Co-Chairman, Forbes Marshall and Chairman of the Family Business Network
Vice President, Cobega, Co-chair FBSD Executive Board and Chair, FBN Polaris Community
Manager, Capital Coalition, Tour du Valat Wetland Research Institute Board Member
CEO, Thermax
Former Chair, Affectio Societatis, Mulliez Family


CEO, The Family Business Network