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Before joining the UN Foundation, Elizabeth Cousens served as U.S. Ambassador to the UN Economic and Social Council and Alternate Representative to the UN General Assembly (2012-14). She previously served as Principal Policy Advisor and Counselor to the Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations, Susan Rice (2009-12). In this capacity, she was lead U.S. negotiator on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, including representing the United States in the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals. During her stint as ambassador, she led U.S. diplomacy at the UN on human rights, humanitarian, social and environmental issues; served on the boards of UN agencies, funds, and programmes, and was the U.S. representative to the UN Peacebuilding Commission. She was also sherpa to Ambassador Rice for the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Global Sustainability. Cousens’ has lived around the world, serving with UN political missions in Nepal and the Middle East and working as an analyst in conflict zones, including Bosnia and Haiti. Her prior experience includes Director of Strategy for the HD Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue which promotes and conducts mediation of armed conflict; Vice President of the International Peace Institute, where she led initiatives on global crisis 5management and UN reform; and Director of the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum, a research group that provides country and regional expertise to the UN on conflict and crisis situations. Dr. Cousens has a D.Phil. in International Relations from the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar, and a B.A. in history and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Puget Sound. She has written widely on conflict management, peace processes, state-building, and the United Nations.”
Josien is a macro economist with a background in finance, first as a banker and later as a portfolio manager and business developer in asset management. She has become acutely aware of the importance of correct, long-term and sustainable asset allocation and the data challenges of this transformation process. She believes sustainability benchmarking has the potential to address these issues, because it brings participants together around a shared goal in a pre-competitive space. She is convinced that transparent benchmarking of companies on their policies, intentions and achievements will help the business community, the financial sector and the world at large to realize the SDG agenda and create a sustainable future.
Kirstine is the Group General Counsel and Company Secretary for Aviva plc and heads the Office of the Chairman. She was appointed to the Group Executive in May 2012. Kirstine established the legal and company secretarial function as a global team and is responsible for the provision of legal services to the Group, legal risk management, and compliance with UK listing requirements. She also supports the Chairman and the Board in the discharge of their responsibilities. Kirstine is a lawyer and held a number of legal roles within Aviva’s legacy companies before leading the property division of General Accident and the group legal function of CGU for eight years. She was formerly deputy group company secretary and legal counsel of Aviva plc and she currently sits as a director on the board of Aviva Insurance Limited. Professional qualifications and memberships: Kirstine holds a bachelor of laws degree from the University of Glasgow and is qualified as a solicitor in England and Wales, as well as in Scotland. She is also a graduate of the general manager programme at INSEAD. Kirstine is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Opera House and a non-executive Board Member of HM Land Registry. She served as a member of the Dormant Assets Commission and has been appointed by the government as the Insurance and Pensions Champion.
Wim Leereveld was Founder of the Access to Medicine Foundation and created the Access to Medicine Index. In the knowledge that two billion people in poor countries have no access to affordable medicines, Wim decided to develop a ranking that would clearly show what the major pharmaceutical companies were doing on their access to medicine policies and practices with one ultimate goal: to reach the poor. The Access to Medicine Index stimulates positive change by publicly encouraging pharmaceutical companies for their efforts and rewarding them for improvements. “Together with pharmaceutical companies, investors, governments, NGOs and other stakeholders we can combine the goals of science and business to create a new vision for improving access to medicine, redefining the role and reach of the pharmaceutical industry to save millions of lives each year.” After having started the Access to Seeds Index and the Responsible Mining Index Wim was chair of Index Initiative, building the World Benchmarking Alliance. Wim also is an Ambassador of World Child Cancer-NL and Board Member of the Philips Foundation.
Aviva is one of the world’s largest insurance and asset management companies, its history tracing back more than 300 years. It has operations in 16 markets around the world, but through its investment portfolio, Aviva’s reach extends to a broader and larger group of consumers. The company is a LEAD member of the Global Compact; a founding member of both the UN Principles of Responsible Investment and the UN Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative. It is also a frontrunner in responsible investments, using its influence to support more sustainable business and ultimately a more sustainable economy and society. Aviva is an active contributor and user of different corporate sustainability benchmarks, including a founding member of the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark. Aviva’s CEO Mark Wilson is a member of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission (BSDC) and is personally committed to driving forward the sustainable development agenda and the creation of the WBA.
The Business & Sustainable Development Commission (BSDC) aims to make a powerful business case for achieving a sustainable, inclusive economy. Its flagship report Better Business, Better World, launched in January 2017, maps the economic prize for companies that align with the SDGs, and shows how to achieve them. The report includes the creation of SDGs benchmarks as one of the key recommendations. The Business Commission aims to make a powerful business case for achieving a sustainable and inclusive economy, if the UN Sustainable Development Goals are achieved. In its flagship report, Better Business, Better World, the Commission describes how business can contribute to delivering these goals. Chaired by Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, the Commission include 37 leaders from business, finance, civil society, labour, and international organisations from around the world.p>
Index Initiative is a centre of expertise in benchmarking corporate performance against stakeholder expectations. It seeks to propel the use of benchmarks to engage and bring purpose and clarity on the role of companies in contributing to the SDGs closest to their core business. A non-profit based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Index Initiative’s research and benchmarks are free and accessible to all. Index Initiative will conduct the global consultation on the World Benchmarking Alliance.
The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by philanthropic, corporate, government, and individual donors.