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Are you one of the 2021 SDG Pioneers?

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) lay out a clear vision for a sustainable future and shape a new era for business. As part of our Making Global Goals Local Business campaign, each year, the UN Global Compact celebrates a group of SDG Pioneers — business leaders who are doing an exceptional job to advance the Global Goals through the implementation of our Ten Principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.

In our search for the 2021 cohort of SDG Pioneers, we encourage professionals working at any level of a UN Global Compact-participating company who are leveraging a principles-based approach to set ambitious, scalable and impactful SDG targets to apply.

SDG Pioneers are paving the way to the future we all want

Are you a business leader advancing sustainable development? Submit your sustainability story to be considered as a 2021 SDG Pioneer! You can also nominate others!

The global round opened on 11 January 2021. The nomination deadline is 15 March 2021.

The 2021 UN Global Compact SDG Pioneers will be announced and celebrated in June 2021 at the Leaders Summit in New York.



Questions? See our Frequently Asked Questions or contact

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Frequently Asked Questions


Who are the SDG Pioneers?

SDG Pioneers are individuals – working at any level in a company – who are doing an exceptional job of making global goals local business. Through their own company or by mobilizing other businesses, they are helping to reach one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while also contributing to business success.

What are the SDGs?

In September 2015, all 193 Member states of the United Nations adopted a plan for achieving a better future for all – laying out a path over the next 15 years to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice and protect our planet. At the heart of the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 related targets that address the most important economic, social, environmental and governance challenges of our time. To learn more about how companies are taking steps to contribute to achieving the SDGs visit the UN Global Compact website.

Who is eligible?

Professionals who are working at any level of a UN Global Compact Participant or Signatory company are eligible to apply or be nominated. To check whether an organization is a UN Global Compact Participant or Signatory company, please search the participant list online
For the 2021 cohort of SDG Pioneers, only companies who were participants of the UN Global Compact on 30 June 2020 and have submitted at least one Communication on Progress (CoP) are eligible to apply.
The UN Global Compact reserves the right to remove the SDG Pioneer recognition if the company and/or individual is later deemed to be a reputational risk to the SDG Pioneer campaign and/or the UN Global Compact initiative.

My company has not yet submitted a COP. Can I still apply?

We encourage you to submit a COP before the application deadline (15 March 2021) in order to be considered. Please find guidance about creating and submitting a COP here. For any additional support, please contact our Support Team at

What if I am affiliated with but not directly employed by a UN Global Compact signatory?

You are only eligible to apply or be nominated if you are employed by the company (or its subsidiary).

My company does not yet participate in the UN Global Compact. Can I still apply?

Only individuals from a UN Global Compact Participant or Signatory company will be eligible to apply or be nominated. If your company is not yet participating in the UN Global Compact please visit the UN Global Compact website to learn more about how to join.

Who can submit a nomination?

You can nominate yourself or a colleague at your company, or someone you know from another UN Global Compact participating company. That individual will then be contacted to ensure their willingness to be considered and the accuracy of the submitted information.

My organization is doing great work. Can it be nominated?

No, the SDG Pioneers campaign highlights the work of individuals, not organizations.

How do I nominate myself / someone who I think is doing great work?

Nominations for the global round open 11 January 2021. Please complete the online submission form, which is available here. To nominate someone, click here.
If the Global Compact Local Network in your country ran a national-level round before the global round, you must have applied directly through that national round first. A full list of Local Networks who ran national-level rounds can be found here. Global Compact Local Networks spanning all continents launched the national-level round on 17 February 2020.

What is the nomination deadline?

The nomination deadline is 15 March 2021.

I have more questions. Who can I contact?

Please reach out to with any additional questions.

Selection Process

How will the SDG Pioneers be selected?

A multi-stakeholder SDG Pioneers selection group will vote on the nominees. This Selection Group is comprised of representatives of the UN Global Compact Board and Expert Network, alongside previous SDG Pioneers and representatives from the Global Compact Network Council, academia and UN agencies.

How and when will I be notified if I am selected?


How will the SDG Pioneers be recognized? What will I receive if selected?

The 2021 cohort of UN Global Compact SDG Pioneers will be announced and celebrated on 15 June 2021 at the Leaders Summit in New York. The SDG Pioneers will receive visibility and be recognized for the outstanding work that they have done to advance the Sustainable Development Goals.

What obligations do SDG Pioneers have if selected?

We hope that all SDG Pioneers will be able to join us virtually in New York for the Leaders Summit on 15 June 2021. There are no other formal obligations, but we hope that SDG Pioneers will continue to support and advocate for the SDGs.

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